Biking Through Blizzards in the Coldest Place on Earth

13 01 2014

As hard as winter has come on this year, this past week has really taken the cake (except I started writing this post last month and got sidetracked). The work week began with blizzard warnings and ended with windchill warnings as the coldest temperatures in the world were registered in this province. In E-Ville, though, life doesn’t stop for the weather, and bicycle is still the best way to get around.

With the snow coming down and drifting on Monday night, I had to ride cross town. As I’ve always said, riding through fresh snow isn’t a problem, it’s when the cars start packing it down and churning it into oatmeal that things start getting dicey. Still better than waiting in the cold for a delayed bus.

A little trail maintenance is a nice touch, though.

And while the approaches to the High Level Bridge were drifted over and close to impossible to navigate, the upwind side of the bridge deck stayed clear.

With days of warnings of the storm, the streets were empty, the desolation more striking than the bitter wind.

It’s all enough to make a girl stud a green tire for her fixte.

For the record, I haven’t used my front brake since I installed the studded tire up front, though I have had a couple of hilarious slow motion falls into snowbanks while getting my riding boots caught in the pedal straps.
My long awaited bottom bracket and large track cog came in time to witness more than double the average snowfall through the the first months of winter. Unfortunately, it appears that Shimano doesn’t test their grease in E-Ville conditions as the bottom bracket starts getting extremely stiff below -15C. I’ve compensated by bringing the bike indoors whenever possible. We got long runner mats for the living and dining rooms to deal with all the slop melting off the bikes. 

Blizzards, too, must pass, usually not without some subsequent arctic air.

I celebrated the cold snap with vegan Froyo for me and my sweetie. When it’s this cold, it’s very easy to transport without it spilling or melting.

Life is sweet. Cold and sweet.



3 responses

14 01 2014

You got our cold weather. πŸ˜›

We’ve had warm weather (as in above +0C on many days) for the last few weeks. Last week the winds changed direction and we got -15C last weekend and next few days will go -25C and below. Excellent weather for bringing in frozen from the shops and freezing stuff out in the balcony. I’ve got some bread out at the moment, I hope I remember to put them into the freezer before it gets warmer. πŸ™‚

Half-packed snow is the worst! I hate it. The packed layer keeps cracking under the wheel, throwing me off balance. And the car wheels do not compress the snow evenly so there’s narrow strips are more packed than others so it is almost like riding on tram tracks:-(

Snow plows for the win! πŸ˜€

29 12 2015

Hi. I’m Glenn. I am putting together a pecha kucha presentation on winter cycling and light and would love to use the pic of the bike leaning up against the HLB railing. Is that cool with you? Always love looking through this blog. – kub

30 12 2015

Sure. HLB pics pre-coloured lights certainly aren’t as flashy as they are now.

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