I haven’t driven a car to work since April of this year. Since then, rain or shine, I’ve been between two options for commuting to work: walk to downtown and take the free-of-charge rapid transit bus to the University; or ride my bicycle on the bike path, which goes along the river for the 3.5 miles from my house to my office. But today I woke up to snow.
So what to do? Of course, let’s take the bicycle. The snow is an obvious challenge, I would not pass the opportunity to ride my bicycle to work in these conditions, where everything will be more interesting, from the ride itself to the landscapes along the way.
And the bicycle was easier to navigate in the snow than motorcycles are, by a great margin. A few slides here and there, but overall good traction. As long as I kept it going and avoided sudden moves, the bike was really steady, tracked very straight, nothing like the narrow tires carving their way in the snow.
It was great out there and I was alone for the most part, making it an even better experience. What a contrast from just a couple of days ago when I was in Brazil, in the warmth of the beginning of the south hemisphere’s summer. I got back here and was complaining of the below freezing temperatures upon my arrival. And to make matters worse I had found two frozen spigots outside the house. I’m glad those Styrofoam faucet boxes really work, I bought two yesterday night, installed them at about 7pm, and this morning both spigots were unfrozen.
Anyway, here I am, in the snow and enjoying it. I don’t mind the cold when there is snow with it.
In Eugene it only snows once or twice a year. So I was enjoying this unique opportunity to see the river, the trees, the bike path all framed by fresh snow. I even videoed a small section of the ride on my way to work. Instead of the sounds of a motorcycle’s motor and power slides you get the huffing and puffing of an almost out of shape bicycle rider after a two week vacation in the tropics. So I added music to the video.
The snow never relented as the day progressed. I was looking out of the window in my office and wondering… Eventually the University sent an alert informing us it is suspended non-essential services. Meanwhile the snow had been piling up higher on the ground. How difficult would my way back home be?
It was more challenging than the way in. It took me some 45 minutes to do something I usually do in 10-15 minutes. But I found some people walking on the trail with their cameras, enjoying a day off (most public schools were closed, other offices probably closed as well). And ALL of them smiled at me, something you don’t see on a regular day, where everyone is on their own world. And some people mentioned something about my courage for riding in these conditions. Yes, it was a treacherous ride on the way back home. But that made it special.
The huffing and puffing got faster, and I was spinning in low gear. I had to stop and walk on the few climbs when the bike lost traction. But for the most time, it was just good enough, and traction was less than in the morning but I could definitely move forward, although slower.
I made it. In the end, it was quite the adventure! And quite a workout.
I’ve heard of several accidents in town, hopefully no one got hurt. And I hope in the end, everyone simply added an interesting chapter to their lives.
My next post will be about United, the airlines with the friendly skies, another intermission to my regular posts. Then I go back to my regular motorcycle programming, where I have one more post to write to complete the Steens Mountain trip. And I have another motorcycle post with a multi-day ride with the Tiger Triumph before my summer riding season ended. Stay tuned.