We got snow! Not a lot, just a little over 4 inches/ 10 cms. Of course it didn’t fall all at once but in little bits every day so the roads this week have been a perpetual mess.

I knew it would snow eventually so last weekend I got my winter bike tuned up and felt incredibly accomplished when I put a brand new chain on it all by myself and didn’t screw up the gearing! 

Now I need to put on new front brake pads. The ones I have work, but they screech when I brake. Loud. The kind of loud that makes people stare at you. They are so loud I am considering renaming the bike Banshee. I name all my bikes, and the winter bike was my very first commuter bike from years ago and I named it Ninja. Now I call it Snow Ninja, Sninja for short. But Banshee has so much more going for it that maybe…

black bicycle with green lights around rear wheel and blues lights around front wheel
Snow Ninja or Banshee?

Monday morning I was so certain that it wasn’t going to snow and the forecasters were doing their usual hype, I rode my regular bike to work (this bike’s name is Willa). So of course it snowed! My ride home was slow and careful. And Tuesday I chugged out on Sninja with the studded tires. The bike weighs a ton and the studs have more drag and because I also have to dress in more layers my commute suddenly got longer and more tiring. But my winter bike has lights that continually change color on both wheels that help make it not quite so bad. And I get lots of drivers and pedestrians tell me they love the lights.

For the most part I don’t see the lights but last winter during the polar vortex when the windchill was -20F/-29C, I stopped at a traffic light near my house in the early morning dark. I was the only one on the road in all directions and decided to ride through the red. When I got through the intersection I noticed red and blue lights flashing off the snow and thought, fuck me, a cop is really going to pull me over? What if I don’t stop? And then I realized the blue and red was coming from my wheels! Oh how I laughed at myself. 

We didn’t get that cold this week but Friday morning the windchill did dive to 4F/-15C. 

James has been bike commuting every day since May when we sold our car. I was worried how he’d do in summer with his MS fatigue that is exacerbated by heat, but he did just fine. The deep cold usually sends his fatigue into overdrive too, but so far, he’s been doing ok. Since he has never done winter bike commuting before, there is a lot of figuring out and tinkering with the layers. What is warm and works for me isn’t necessarily the same for him. He’s getting it worked out though. I am enjoying being able to share the winter biking experience—the joys and sorrows—with my sweetie.

four chickens scratching in straw

Since the time changed the poor chickens don’t get to come out and roam the garden after I get home from work because it is dark already. Today though has been just below freezing and gloriously sunny. But they don’t like walking on snow. They traverse the snowy garden path to get to the deck and then sit against the window, or they sit under the deck where there is not snow, anything to not be in the run.

They were under the deck today when I went out to put down straw in the run. Having them not in the run while I was doing this made it much easier. But of course, when they realized I was out there “doing something,” they all had to come and see what. By then I had finished spreading it out and they joyfully ran into the run and began scratching in it, flinging it all over the place. I should have just left it all in one big pile and let them have the fun of spreading it out! 

The first garden seed catalog arrived in the mail Friday. I have already gone through it imagining my garden is bigger than it is. Oh, I want to grow this and this and this, and oh wow, that looks interesting, and that too, and… Heh. If something said “tolerates heat” I marked it. Given how hot summers are getting, growing more heat tolerant varieties seems like a good idea. There are two other seed catalogs I am expecting to devour. Then I will need to inventory the seeds I saved and decide what I actually have the room to grow. But until then, I get to imagine I have the acreage, time, and energy to grow it all!

turtle garden ornament blanketed in snow

This Thursday is Thanksgiving and James and I will be having our usual celebratory vegan enchiladas and pumpkin pie. I was really worried in October because the co-op didn’t have any pie pumpkins. But some finally appeared in the winter squash bin. Phew! Holidays are always about the food, especially dessert. I hope everyone celebrating has a beautiful day. I am grateful for you all and the things you do, large and small, to make the world a better.

  • Book: Grievers by adrienne maree brown. When I began it I thought it was a standalone, but it is the first of what will be three parts. An illness is killing Black people in Detroit, only Black people, and only in Detroit. The book is a good but slow burn, and because there will be two more, nothing is actually resolved at the end.
  • Article: An Open Letter to Bill Gates on Food, Farming, and Africa. I think Gates means well, but his tech-evangelist rich white man savior complex is only hurting people and perpetuating colonialism, capitalism, and all the attendant problems that go along with it.
  • Movie: Weird: The Al Yankovic Story. I have always loved Weird Al, and this movie is as splendidly absurd as you would expect. And Daniel Radcliffe as Al is perfection.

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6 thoughts on “Biking Through the Snow…

  1. I love that you thought you were getting pulled over. I recently met a guy at my college who grew up Mennonite. Like, he described it as a cult sect, and he had an accent from the Pennsylvania Dutch and everything. He moved from the south to Colorado and legit got a ticket while riding a bike for running a red light.

    I used to work at a college where a fellow professor biked to work every day, regardless of the weather (rain, snow, heat, etc.). He was always such a bedraggled-looking man. How do you avoid that? Or does it have nothing to do with the bicycling?

  2. The Snow Ninja Banshee? Banee Sninja? Stay safe out there on the snowy roads! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with lots of dreams of endless gardens with no voracious squirrels or bugs, and chickens happily running around in the sunshine.

  3. I think YOU are the Snow Ninja, heh heh!

    I like Banshee!

    I hope you and James have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I’m making peanut butter pie, mashed potatoes, and corn pudding. I have a lot to be thankful for!

  4. Woohoo! I have (mostly) happy memories of biking in the snow in Finland… and some unhappy ones! Sounds like you’re doing it right. I love those lights! So glad James is figuring out how to make all-weather biking work for him, too! Since we have had a string of freezing nights, the garden is totally done, so now my chickens get to come out and scratch around. They are thrilled! Thankfully I work from home so I can let them out for an hour or two in the afternoon — I try to do it within an hour or two of dark so they naturally start drifting back to the coop by themselves — makes rounding them up much easier. Hope your enchiladas and pie are wonderful!

  5. Yes, you are awesome! And just about the chain thing… though that’s one thing I have never yet mastered. But biking to work in Minneapolis winter… that by itself is awesome!

    Thanks for the tip on Weird. I must see this.

    Happy Thanksgiving! If you watch that parade thing (& if they ever show crowd shots anymore) I’ll be waving.

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