Puddle Vision

21 03 2012

Day after day, the same commute, the same ride, the same potholes to dodge, the same creative maneuvers through badly planned infrastructure, the only things changing are the wind direction & temperature. The mild winter should have left me more opportunities to explore and play on my bike between home and work, but thanks to a perfect storm of illness, appetite killing medications (which I’m thankfully off now), and quitting my pop habit (which is a really good thing, but I’ve missed those extra 500 calories a day), my body has been left short on fuel and exhausted, and I’ve lost weight (and I did not need to lose weight). In fact, for the first time in my life, my BMI is in the “underweight” category (my doctor told me that I shouldn’t expect any sympathy for this problem). This has also meant that my commute has become extremely rote, always the same, shortest route, treading closer to feebleness than enjoyment.

Sunset, brighter in the puddle world, as the first fingers of ice crystals begin to envelope the water.

For a short time in spring, the puddles of melting snow offer a glimpse into a different world, similar to this one, but the sun is brighter, the sky is clearer, there’s magic in the air and the outlook is always up.

Only in a reflection can you see the magic in the air.

And so my commute came to life again, and staring into the puddles & watching the constantly re-framed reflections allowed me to see my familiar surroundings from a different perspective. Sometimes, a different point of view makes all the difference in getting out of rut.

I could look back at this past winter as a lost opportunity for all sorts of winter adventures. For Edmonton, it was a cyclist’s dream, the mildest winter in memory, warmer and for more days than this born & raised prairie girl would dare to hope for. Yet, I probably would have done the same cycling if it was constantly -20.

Let it be known, that for a few short days in March, there was just barely enough snow on the ground for a "Canadian kickstand."

But it isn’t just weather that makes the winter, and instead of looking back I’m focusing on the future with a reacquired sparkle in my eye, and full fat coconut milk on my cereal.

 

 





A Brief Meltdown

6 02 2011

Whenever we get a brief reprieve from winter, people around here get all happy, pretending it’s spring, enjoying the outdoors, wearing shorts when it’s just a few degrees above zero, and so on, and the entire city lets off a collective sigh of relief.

Puddle vision with dark clouds approaching.

The clouds in these photos are the cold front moving in, marking the end of the warm spell. As much as I enjoyed it, I would prefer if it hadn’t heated up enough for the snow to melt, as now all the puddles have frozen into miniature skating rinks. Even with two studded tires, mini skating rinks make me very nervous.

Sunset on the last sweater-as-outerwear day for a while. After the sun sets this far north, before darkness sets in, there is a long blue dusk.

Hopefully there’s only a couple more months of winter left. Because I grew up here, groundhog day never made sense to me because, c’mon, six more weeks of winter IS an early spring. But I can see the light (four minutes more per day, to be precise)! And it may be close to -20 again, but it won’t last forever.

You can tell it was really cold when I took this picture because the furnaces of every building downtown are working at full blast.

In the meantime, ride on!





Things I’ll Miss about Winter Cycling

4 03 2010

Even though this winter in Edmonton started late and seems to be letting up early (though mark my words, winter isn’t done with us yet), everybody I talk to has had enough of the old man. And while I’m also fed up with wearing 6 layers of clothes every time I walk out the door, I’d rather skip the messy streets that freeze anew every night, the melting snow that reveals an entire season worth of garbage and dog shit and the mass exodus of domesticated humans loitering confusedly as they become re-accustomed to sun, exercise and fresh air.

So, here’s some stuff I’ll miss about winter:

  • The sound of packed snow creaking under studded tires.
  • Riding across the High Level Bridge at full speed with hardly anyone in the way.
  • People thinking I’m hardcore and bad ass just because I ride.
  • Not getting stuck behind slow cyclists (because in winter, everybody who’s riding is in a hurry to get out of the cold and everybody’s in great shape from powering through the snow).
  • Extreme bicycle parking.

Extreme bicycle parking.

  • Not having to dodge the “Soldiers of Fitness” on the bike paths.
  • Less dogs in the parks and the bike paths, and the ones that are there tend to be better tempered because they have more responsible owners who don’t just exercise them when the weather’s good.
  • Days that are too cold for puddles or slush.
  • Drivers all have their windows up so I can’t hear their crappy music or listen to them swear at me.
  • No road rash thanks to layers upon layers of clothes acting as padding and soft snow to cushion falls.
  • Puddle photography (thanks to Dottie at Let’s Go Ride a Bike for inspiration on this one).

Reflecting on a change of season...

Now, it’s time to dust off my lovely cruiser, which has been sitting idle all winter, to take her for a spin.