Eyes Wide Shut

falling snow

Hello and welcome to the blog that gets results, as clearly my recent rant has had the Met Office scurrying down to their server room to administer the three-fingered salute to their supercomputer: today’s forecast was spot on, with the snow starting more or less to schedule as we got up this morning, breaking for some sunny intervals and then getting back to business just before lunch. Unfortunately, I have become so used to totally ignoring the forecast, that meant I didn’t take advantage of the said sunny intervals to go and get the paper (and besides the other half was putting my ice tyres back on my bike. Mental note to self: stop being so feeble about your bike maintenance) so I set off just as the snow was getting going again. Not that cycling in snow is really a problem – even without the ice tyres, fresh snow isn’t too bad and of all the forms of precipitation we get around here it’s actually the most pleasant to ride in, although I could have done without it blowing directly into my eyeballs (at one point I was freewheeling down a hill with my eyes screwed shut* thinking ‘this probably isn’t a brilliant idea’).

In fact the only real worry about cycling in the snow is that I get the distinct impression that the few drivers I do encounter think I’m a dangerous lunatic, especially if they’ve seen me cycling along with my eyes shut. Normally on our narrow roads, drivers coming up from behind will hesitate for a few seconds and then (if I haven’t pulled out to take the lane if there’s a bend coming up or some potholes) pass me reasonably promptly. Today I ended up having to pull over to let a couple of them by. Which is better than them just squeezing past me, obviously, but as I’m a nice person it also means I have to cycle a lot faster than I like, while they wait behind me going, ‘Oh my god there’s a nutter out here on a PUSHBIKE! They’re going to fall over! It’s all icy and snowy! What will I do?’, especially as these are mostly my neighbours. Perhaps every set of Marathon Winters should come with a sign for the back of the bike going ‘Panic not, drivers: this bike has magical spiky tyres and can probably stop more safely than you can! Don’t make the poor cyclist hurry up the hill but pass with care! Thank you for your concern.’

snowy hills

Once the drivers had passed, and the snow had stopped and the sun had resumed its sunny intervals, it was all rather lovely.

snowy road

If you’d like to join the ranks of dangerous two-wheeled lunatics (and frankly, who wouldn’t?), our American friends have this fine site where you can pledge to ride to work, whatever the weather, on a day in February. On Friday the 13th to be exact. What could possibly go wrong?

Oh and for those wondering, both Growly Dog AND her sister had a go at me today.

*I do open them at frequent intervals, I’m not completely intrepid


6 Responses to Eyes Wide Shut

  1. Bob says:

    One thing I do vividly recall from riding in the winter in the Netherlands was the definite sting of a snow flake as it smashes into ones eyeball. I started wearing those winter type “sun” glasses. There’s a name for them. I forget. That worked. Highly recommended. They’re kind of yellowish, and work like a filter on a camera lens, adding contrast to the rather bleak road up ahead.

  2. […] if the title of this post is really fair – it certainly doesn’t apply to places with real weather like Scotland. But there’s something in it. On Wednesday I was invited out to a drink in a pub I would have […]

  3. Andy in Germany says:

    I ended up wearing safety goggles like I’d use in the carpentry shop I work at. They make a massive difference when I’m riding downhill.

    I get the “You must be mad to ride in thie weather” comment as well, but snow seems to be the only thing that puctures drivers’ belief in their ability to drive safely at any speed they like, so I find it safer than afterwards when the black stuff reappears and they all hit the gas again…

  4. MG says:

    I am a proud subscriber to this “blog that gets results,” and have been thoroughly enjoying your posts these days! Despite the other half’s opinion that you are not as funny as you were in 2005, I still think you hold your own pretty well on that front.

  5. disgruntled says:

    Bob – yeah, they look fluffy but those snowflakes are surprisingly hard!
    Andy – I’m imagining you in Biggles-style flying goggles now…
    MG – ah but you should have read me in 2005…

  6. Keith Walters says:

    I’ve signed up for the Friday 13th ride to work so watch out for the new snowfall.

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