Winter’s Last Gasps?

22 03 2011

Over the past week, the temperature has finally started to warm up and some of the snow has even started to melt. I can’t help but be jealous of many of the other bike bloggers in the northern hemisphere who are already enjoying clear roads and spring weather, as it’s going to take a long time for all this snow to melt here.

Sunset over an eight foot high pile of snow.

At the EBC Bike Art Auction two weeks ago, I took home a door prize (thanks Karly & MEC!), a Portland Design Works cup holder to put on my handlebars. I’m not a coffee drinker, so I wasn’t sure how much I’d use it, but I really appreciated having easy access to a hot drink during a cold ride. It warmed me up better than chemical hand warmers! My cup wasn’t 100% watertight though, and would occasionally send out splashes of liquids that would freeze into little balls of tea-cicle on my bars and coat. Come summer, this could also be a solution for transporting my favorite summer beverage, squishees!

The last week of minus 20 temperatures was mitigated by having hot tea handy. Note the string on the tea bag has frozen in anti-gravity position while I was in motion.

The temperature finally began to rise just in time for the Frozen Weenie Ride, organized by raving bike fiend. We met up in Mill Creek Ravine by bike and by foot, gorged on fruit & sausage (roasted on bicycle spokes, and you better believe there was vegan sausage) & hot chocolate, frolicked in the snow and gathered round fires.

Meagan lounging on one of the lawn chairs that Keith brought in on his long bike.

There's still enough snow around to make kickstands redundant. In the foreground, Keith's long bike.

In a fit of late winter cabin fever and slow-day-at-the-bike-shop-itis, I created a toboggan out of 10 old bicycle inner tubes and a corrugated plastic sign that I had eagerly been waiting to test out. I wove inflated tubes together to create a padded but grippy surface to sit on, then used cut up ones for handles and to secure the inflated tubes to the plastic base. I brought it to the picnic thinking that if I couldn’t find a place to slide, at least I’d have a comfortable place to sit.

Behold the Tube-oggan, strapped to the back of my bike.

There was a couple of chutes near the picnic site that I had a screaming good time riding that puppy down, and even though there were crashes, the 3 feet of soft snow everywhere kept the damage to a minimum. The tube-oggan performed beyond expectations on it maiden voyage, fast, light weight, predictable, well padded, and best of all, none of the tubes leaked or exploded.

In the background, the steep path that became our luge chute, in the foreground, the game is step off the path and sink into snow up to your crotch.

After sliding to the point of near injury, we warmed up around the fire as night fell.

Keith, Tracy & Brett gather round the fire.

Bah, spring! Who needs it when winter is this awesome? The bike paths were packed with clean, white snow that was a breeze to ride through, but as the freeze-thaw cycles of spring progress, that lovely white snow will turn into black ice, and even though it’s almost over, the worst riding conditions of the winter still await.

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10 responses

22 03 2011
bikewriter

“Tube-oggan” – very clever!

25 03 2011
evillerider

Thanks, but it wasn’t clever enough for anyone who I didn’t spell it out to get the joke.

πŸ˜‰

22 03 2011
MsDing

Love the Tube-oggan! Brillant! Looks like it was a great time. Sorry you still have so much snow left and now face the un-lovely thaw/melt cycle. It is ugly and dangerous. I don’t want to gloat too much about the fact that our snow is gone here in Chicago, because we could easily have another foot on the ground before May 1st. If so, it will be messy and ugly.

25 03 2011
evillerider

Thanks! It’s not unusual for it to still be so winter-like here and I’m just trying to make the best of it. πŸ™‚ Though the near freezing temperatures seemed springlike after so much -20, and when you consider +20 is summer weather, it’s like we’re halfway to summer.

22 03 2011
Corey

Looks like you guys had a good time down in Mill Creek! What a Canadian thing to do.

I like the Ghandi quote on your mug, always an inspiration πŸ™‚

25 03 2011
evillerider

I’m still getting the campfire smell out of my clothes, but it was worth it! πŸ™‚

22 03 2011
Timoohz

Was it cold enough for the EST effect work on the tubeggan, too? πŸ™‚ I’ve heard of car, truck and tractor inner tubes used as a sled, but bike tubes was something new. Usually I keep them on the bike until they’re broke, then I cut them up to be used as binders or to close plastic bags for freezing or a slingshot or something.

25 03 2011
evillerider

I think the EST effect could apply to the tube-oggan. Reduced temperature leads to lower inflation pressure, which leads to a lower chance of getting bounced off of it into a snowbank, therefore keeping you warmer by not covering you head to toe in snow. πŸ™‚

I never heard of doing this before either, but there’s never any shortage of old tubes at the local bike co-op, and I heard coroplast slid well. The sled used 10 tubes – 7 that held air and 3 busted ones to make handles and secure the inflated tubes to the plastic.

26 03 2011
tuckamoredew

The Tube-oggan is bizarre and awesome.

I didn’t know about those cup holders. Now I really want one. Years ago I had a spectacular wipe out in an empty parking lot trying to cycle with a travel mug in one hand. It must have been very amusing for the morning commuters at Stadium Station. With a cup holder though….

23 03 2012
cool cv

i like the concept and use of the tube oggan, and like to share the idea of tire tube used as a large rubber band to secure something large on to its place, especially when you want to move the stuff from one place to another

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