Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Snow Day!

We had all sorts of bicycle errands planned for today: grocery shopping, a park trip, and a run to the library.  When I woke up, though, I saw a light dusting of this outside.

Snow!  In Eugene!

While I believe that cycling in the snow can be fun, practical, and safe (check out Dottie from Let's Go Ride a Bike, and Julian on Totcycle), I didn't have the confidence to set out on my bike today.

The reason I chose to walk rather than bike today is that the ride quality of my current family bike setup leaves something to be desired.  Frankly, in slippery conditions with a full load (meaning kids + groceries or other bulky cargo) it's like riding a bag of squirrels.  I LOVE riding my bike -- don't get me wrong.  And with a few inexpensive improvements (namely rear panniers to replace the high-center-of-gravity milk crate and a cargo bike kickstand for stability when loading and unloading), this bike could get me where I want to go with greater agility and grace.  Well, greater agility anyhow.  This bike is lots of fun, but it's more circus pastiche than elegant vehicle.

Actually, do you know who loves this bike? Teenage boys.  Every single time I go out for a ride with my son's bike on our tandem coupler, at least one teenage boy notices and appreciates our bike.  Using slang that makes me feel very, very old.  ("Sick bike!")
Anyhow, I'm looking forward to upgrading to a bike designed to carry lots of kids and cargo soon.  My Workcycles Fr8 should be arriving in March.  March!  How terribly long for such an impatient me to wait!

In the meantime, Grandma M very kindly combined our shopping with hers and dropped off all the groceries we will need for our holiday feast tomorrow.  Thank you, Grandma M!  Austin took the morning off from work to play with Little in the snow.  The last time it snowed here, Little was only a few months old, so the experience of seeing familiar streets and gardens covered in snow felt very new to him.

Bigger had spent the night at Grandma M's after our bus ride, so he was snowed in (if less than an inch of snow and ice can be described that way!) in Creswell.  He had a grand time taking care of the chickens, horses, and other animals down there.  Here he is checking out some snow on a cold frame and helping to clean out the chicken coop.

Back in Eugene, we walked through the snow to get ingredients for Austin's eggnog waffles, and then later through the slush to drop off the weekly egg order for Little and Bigger's teachers and pick up our CSA from Open Oak Farm.  (They still have spaces available, if you are reading this locally...)  By the time we returned from picking up our CSA, it was dark outside, and quite chilly.  Perhaps it was in the twenties?  We were pretty warm in our regular cold weather uniforms, with an extra layer of wool sweaters or long underwear thrown in, and gore-tex mittens for Bigger and I.  Little made do with a mismatched set of mittens we dug up from last year's winter clothes.  We tied them to a length of yarn that we had threaded through his sleeves so that he wouldn't lose them, which worked well.

There were lots and lots of cyclist out on the Amazon bike path.  They were going perhaps a little slower than usual, but otherwise, things seemed fairly normal, even with lots of ice patches on the path.  Alas, my camera was feeling irritable and would not capture any of the bikes, only their tracks in the snow.

If it snows again this winter, I'd be curious to try cycling in it.  And I've had a few too many frustrating experiences with stability on my current family bike to ignore the upgrades I know I need any longer.  Does anyone out there have thoughts on how I could make my bike less wobbly when loaded up with cargo?


  1. I'm excited to see a Workcycles Fr8 rolling around Eugene! That should be a great sturdy bike for all sorts of conditions.

    Like the blog a lot! Excited to keep up, get tips, give tips, and share the love.

  2. Thanks for your words of encouragement, Shane! It feels pretty amazing for the first comment on my blog to be from a founder of Kidical Mass. I hope you'll continue reading!