Ice, Ice, Baby

There is a short list of things that will keep me off my bike:

  1. Sickness
  2. Family conflicts
  3. Mechanical problems (rare since I own 3 bikes)
  4. Tornado warnings (I’ve actually ridden through several without knowing)
  5. Lightning (ditto)
  6. Snow
  7. Ice

So far this year, I’ve missed commuting for numbers 1, 2, and 6. Today, I encountered 7. 

It was plenty cold when I left home. I had broken out my holey sweater and my booties to keep me comfortable. I was dressed perfectly. No discomfort whatsoever.

The holey sweater has lots of holes but they are hard to see.  It’s at least 10 years old and made of soft wool.

I wasn’t the least bit surprised when I encountered my first wooden bridge on the Mount Vernon Trail. This is a long boardwalk across a section of Dyke Marsh on the Potomac River.  You can clearly see the frost on the boards. This is pretty easy to ride on as long as I lay off my brakes and ride in a straight line.  There are several more wooden bridges that were in the same condition. I took my time and made it across them unscathed.  One bridge had several skid marks and a few gouges from pedals.  It has curves and swales in it. It eats bikes with skinny tires for breakfast.

Little Nellie and the icy boardwalk at Dyke Marsh

About 13 miles into my ride, a bike commuter coming toward me hollered, “Ice!”.  A hundred yards further on I saw what she was talking about. Water had drained from a grassy slope and frozen across about fifty yards of the trail.  Riding over this stuff would be bad news because the trail is tilted a bit toward the river. So I stopped and walked.  Good move. I warned a few bike commuters as they approached. One guy dismounted and said, “New World Tourist?” I said, “Yes” and noticed that he was on one too, except his was shiny red and clean. Little Nellie was jealous.

Bike riders who encountered this icy stretch of trail ride around it on the grass.  This has already started to create quite a mess. Soon mud will be added to the icy mix.  Too bad the Park Service doesn’t sand and salt the trail as it does the Parkway just up the hill to the right. Little Nellie gets no respect, no respect at all. 

Another Bike Friday commuter admires Little Nellie.

Winter. Soon the trail will be covered in ice and snow and I’ll be riding in my basement. So it goes.   

One thought on “Ice, Ice, Baby

  1. Yea, riding on the grass is a good option – you get more traction. I've encountered some ice on a hill soon into my commute. It's weird, 'cuz it looks like it comes out of the road (for unknown reasons) and goes over to the curb. This forces me to ride right in the middle of the street, to pass these two spots. Fortunately, it's a wide street, and not many cars, so they can go around me. 🙂

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