Rides 1/6: snow

It snowed. I biked. Here's what went down:

Not me. I didn't fall. Once my bike did slide out from under me. It was at the top of Capitol Hill, right after the security bollards before riding down the driveway on the Senate side. I took the turn too cavalierly and I found myself standing there with my bike turn on its side resting on the ice covered track beneath me. At that point, a helpful bystander did what all helpful bystanders do. He said 'it's worse at the bottom of the hill.' Thank you, sir. When I got to the bottom of the hill, after a very, very slow descent, I found it not to be appreciably worse. Shows what that guy knows.

Here's Pennsylvania Avenue:

Not so bad

There were other bicyclists:

Folding bike: bold choice

The snow didn't stop accumulating and by M Street, it was much worse:

There were very few drivers out. Rightfully, I think. It certainly gave me a greater piece of mind. When it comes to ice and snow, I prefer to only have to worry about my losing control of my bike and falling down and to not have to worry about scads of drivers losing control of their cars and slip sliding into me did provide some considerable mental relief.

By the other end of M, it was worse still. Here's the entrance to Georgetown:

To this point, there were always bike tire tracks in front of me. Unflappable.

Things got worse on M Street. That's where I started noticing drivers incapable of making it up small hills after stopping. I started riding up Wisco, but realized that the street was going to be clogged with car traffic and since my goal of snow riding is STAY AWAY FROM AS MANY CARS AS POSSIBLE BECAUSE OUT OF CONTROL CARS ARE WAY MORE LIKELY HARM YOU WORSE THAN JUST FALLING DOWN, I turned down P (?) Street and worked my way through residential Georgetown on 33rd and Volta and 35th. Here's one of those streets:

No more bike tracks
There was probably a few inches of snow. The bike fishtailed some, but the grip was still pretty good and I made it up through Glover Park without much issue. I got stuck behind a Honda Accord, whose driver was unable to inch it forward uphill after having stopped at a red light on Tunlaw. She decided to throw it in reverse to try to get loose from the snow and with her back windshield covered in snow that she didn't brush off before leaving home and me, invisible through said covered windshield, now behind her reversing car, I soon found myself scampering to get the hell out of the way. I moved around her car and set off again up the hill without any real issue. Bikes >cars, I guess.

On New Mexico Avenue, another stuck car. And then a series of stuck cars. And since there was no room for me to get by on the bike and since I didn't want to get back any other stuck drivers and also because STAY AWAY FROM CARS IN ICE AND SNOW, I moved my bike to the sidewalk and decided to walk it the last quarter mile up the hill. I wanted to explain to the other people on the sidewalk that I totally could've ridden up the hill, that my bike was a far better choice than a car, but because I had no dedicated infrastructure, there was no room for me, but that seems like it maybe would've been extraneous and doth protesting too much. But it's also true! I could've ridden up the hill. It would've been fine. But:

Stuck. Never stop at red lights.
So I made it to work. Here's the bike:

When I bought and outfitted the Ogre over the summer, I was trying to set up a bike that could pretty much handle the entirety of vicissitudes of year-round, all-weather bike commuting. And the Ogre delivered. Yes, it's a preposterous bike for 98% of bike commutes. But for the other 2% it's exactly the bike I'd want.

A word on winter: we don't really have a tough one in DC. It's worse than some places, but it's not horrifically cold and snowy all that often, so my hats off to bike commuters who face these kinds of conditions when they are less novelty and more of an everyday reality. Maybe your roads would be better and maybe your drivers would be better, but riding through the mush and ice and snow is a bear regardless and if you're doing it consistently, you're all right with me.

By the ride home, it was mostly better. The DDOT bike team did the yeoman's work of clearing, as best they could, the cycletracks. Smart of DDOT to hire all those yeoman.

I left before dark. I'm sure it refoze. And I suspect darkness didn't help very much with safety for people who rode home later in the evening.  No rides today. I'll be back at it tomorrow, I think.


  1. That's my roommate on the folder! I recommended it over her super-skinny-tires road bike.

  2. Your roommate is awesome! I love that bike. And yeah, way better choice than the road bike.

  3. That's me on the folder! Say hi next time -- us crazies that bike in snow need to stick together :)

  4. @Jona- you're awesome! I was totally going to say something (like 'nice bike!') but then the guy on the mountain bike rode up and then the light changed. Either way, I'll keep an eye out for you and next time I'll definitely say hi!