Wednesday, January 7, 2009

When is it not worth it?

I would definitely stop riding if I had to ride this thing.

The venerable Bikesnob NYC once queried about what would make a cyclist stop riding. He mostly wrote about what sorts of absurd bikes or outfits would stop you from riding. There are some doozies in there, but he doesn't write about the biggest riding-preventer out there: the weather.

Here is some bad Canadian weather.

It's really, really gross today. It iced all night and now it's raining. As I passed the Institute of Living, a place for reflection, I wondered what the hell I was doing. It was wet and gross and I was riding to work. I like my job ok, but it's still a job. And there was I, plodding along on the sidewalk in ice and slush looking like a fool. Why I was I putting myself through this? This begs the question: when is it too gross to ride a bike and when is a destination not worth a gross bike ride?


Karma said...

I've thought about this a lot lately as I promised to ride rain, snow, sleet, or hail this winter. So far I've only had to take the bus home from work once with my bike safely tucked into the front bike rack. Im hoping to pick up fenders and commuter studs for the winter beater to alleviate some of the traction issues so im hoping not to have to avoid deep snow. Ill be honest as I looked outside today I was again thinking of hopping on the bus (better than driving at least).

How was it out there?

I would say that it becomes beyond worth to ride when it poses a serious danger to yourself or other persons. This is not the 'dont ride youll get hurt' warnings you may get from your grandmother, but rather what you, the rider seriously considers risky. I think most of us have diverged from personal comfort when it comes to commuting in favor of the numerous other rewards and benefits.

Brendan said...

The safety thing is tough. A few Fridays ago, the last one of December, I was riding home from some house music. It had just started raining, so I figured it was above freezing. Apparently, the road was colder than the air, because when I went to avoid a puddle on Hamilton under the overpass it was all icy and I fell on my face and dented my frame.

However, the weather wasn't really that gross and I had been riding my bike all day.

Karma said...

Yeah im heading out to work in a bit. Although it just looks wet now tonight might be a bit of an ice concern. Will be riding the beater which has more of an upright ride which for some reason I feel is safer than the road bike position.

Which frame did you dent? The trucker? Got to love the resilience of steel.

Brendan said...

Yeah, the trucker. It's a pretty nasty looking dent but (knock on wood), no structural issues.

chillwill said...

hope the bike is fine. how was flipside anyways!?

i just caught in a downpour biking home from the big grocery store on the other side of town, sans jacket, and got soaked to the bone i also discovered the streets here are slicker when wet than in hartford, but with a front basket full of groceries, i couldn't have too much skidding home on the fixie!

my worst fear when pedaling in the second to last snow storm wasn't dumping the bike, but getting run-over by a car after or during the crash as the plows leave little room for bikes and the streets get far too narrow.

Brendan said...

Best flipside that I've been to. Barca is an awesome venue. It was more my kind of house this time, too.

Karma said...

I got chased down by a plow on Ridgewood on my way to work today. Last thing I wanted was a plow to pass me and dump all the water and slush it was pushing all over me. I was hoping the guy was going to plod along as I rode but he genuinely tried to pass me and I had to pedal like hell to keep in front.

As with Will's comment that was the scariest part of riding in the snow and ice the last couple weeks, not the riding but dealing with drivers and the lack of a shoulder. Good times.

Brendan said...

though these present conditions leave most drivers filled with less rage.