Riding in the snow is one thing. It takes some balls and studs on your tyres, as well as nerves of steel to deal with that sudden sliding sensation as your back wheel slides out from under you with no warning. I suppose when you get to a point where you feel you have conquered the snow and ice and all associated perils, you have to ask yourself “Where do we go from here?”
Apparently we turn the lights out and go snow riding at night. At least this is the answer according to my intrepid friends, Andy & Paul. Not satisfied with the brightly lit pitfalls that hide beneath the crisp layer of icy snow in broad daylight, they have decided to tweak the nose of terror and roll the dice with the Grim Reaper himself in an environment best suited to the nocturnal ramblings of the suburban racoon.
I’m not knocking this new practice of theirs. Actually I even considered attaching some tie wraps to my wheels to act as temporary ‘studs’ to improve the grip on the ice so that I could join them. I was eventually dissuaded from attempting this when I recalled the experience recently documented by my blogging friend Bruce, currently residing in Japan and working out ways to snow ride using the best technology that the Far East has to offer. In that day’s entry (you can read the complete article here and it is well worth it) he says of his experience with the tie wraps “The first thing that happened as I left our apartments was I applied the front brake and promptly stripped all the cable ties.” I saw no reason why any attempt made by me would end any differently, so I wheeled the bike back into my office.
One of the major attractions of cycling to me is the fact that you’re outside and sharing in nature. Sounds twee when I read it back to myself but there is no other way of saying it really. The fact is it’ll sound trite any way I put it. You’ve all heard me complain about the trials of indoor training during the winter, namely the constant threat of boredom as you pedal within the confines of one room. You don’t get to see the great and fresh wintery outdoors when you’re spinning at 110 rpm on the trainer, but then you don’t have to worry about landing on your arse after losing a negotiation with a hidden patch of black ice either. I am perfectly capable of doing that without the snow and ice (fell dramatically last September whilst overtaking a couple of slow plodders taking up my space on the bike path. I am sure their initial terror and alarm as I screamed my way past them turned into a broad grin as I went crashing to the ground not ten yards in front of them. Who’s the cool guy now? Prat!).
So for now, Paul, Andy and Bruce, I continue to follow your adventures from my arm chair in front of the fire here. Perhaps I shall join you as soon as Bruce works out the best way to prevent the brakes from stripping the tie wraps off the wheel at the first application of pressure. I could try and work it out myself, but this fire is just so cosy and warm, and it’s making me sleepy….zzzz.