Snow Fail

Here’s the short version: Snow on ground. Side roads untreated. Rode my bike anyway. One mile later. Crash. Ow. Ride home. Fail

The full version goes like this:

Over night we had a lovely snowfall. There was about an inch of very fluffy snow that barely covered the lawn. It was so beautiful outside that I just had to bike to work. I chose Little Nellie for this adventure because a long wheel base recumbent with its lightly weighted front wheel is an invitation to a crash in slick conditions like this. And I didn’t want to muck up The Mule’s new drivetrain.

I also decided to switch to my lobster gloves. These are like mittens with two finger spaces instead of one. This allows better control of the brakes and such. Unfortunately, they are a little on the small side and, as I discovered not 2 minutes into the ride, they are worthless in cold temps. I think they would work better if I had a bigger size so that the air could circulate around my fingertips. As it is, they are a waste of fabric.

Snow and Panniers

I rode out of the neighborhood on the fluffy stuff. There were not many car tracks so I managed to ride without trouble. The main road was well treated and I had no difficulty at all riding on it. I took a left onto untreated Karl Road and made the turn without problem. It occurred to me that it might be best to stay on treated roads, but most of my commute is on side streets and trails anyway. No guts, no glory. Onward.

I made it up the short hill without slipping and took a right on Shenandoah, another untreated side street. I rode up a second rise without incident. So far so good. At Fairfax Drive I decided to take a left. A car ahead of me turned left and seemed to be taking a long time negotiating the turn. Dude, hurry up. The bottom half of my glasses were fogged up so I couldn’t see that the compacted snow at the intersection which has a stop sign was iced over. I felt my front wheel slide and looked down and watched as it lost contact in slow motion on the glazed snow. Down I went. I hit and slid, dissipating the impact. My helmet actually made contact with the ground. This is the first time I have ever hit my head in a bike crash. No worries though, just a flesh wound.

If my brain was damaged, it sure wasn’t affecting my thinking. Screw this!!! I headed back home VERY CAREFULLY. At the top of the slight downhill to the T intersection at Karl Road I watched a car make a left onto Shenandoah. The car was probably going less than 10 miles per hour but it slid across Shenandoah and hit the curb with a CRACK. Bummer dude. Good thing Fairfax County delayed the opening of school because that car hit the curb at a school bus stop. Good thing I was going super slow because that crack could have been my femur. Ick.

The rest of the ride home was without incident. My bike commute was a whopping 1 3/4ths miles, but I lived to ride another day.

As I write this some 12 hours later, my upper body still feels a bit achy from the impact. The outside of my left knee along the iliotibial band is sore and stiff.  Vitamin I to the rescue.

During the drive home I noticed that the Mount Vernon Trail still has some stretches with snow. I am driving to work tomorrow. The Millenium Falcon is far better suited to deal with this than my left knee and head.

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6 thoughts on “Snow Fail

  1. I’m always surprised at the lack slipping sensation on a bicycle. For me, there is usually VERY little warning before a slide on ice. One second, all is well. The next – I am horizontal on the ground and in pain.

  2. A hot bath or shower will.help those achy muscles… Glad you didn’t hurt yourself badly on your attempted ride. Glad you turned around. I would have done the same. 🙂

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