Thursday, November 18, 2010

Winter complaints pt. II

I sit by the window in the workplace cubicle farm, so I often get to witness the epitome of futility and a monumental grievance that is the typical way the public bicycling infrastructure is maintained in Helsinki, Finland in wintertime. First, a small vehicle plows the snow off the light traffic pathway. A moment later, two large vehicles plow the snow off the two lanes of the road, hurling it on the light traffic pathway, thus making the pathway unrideable by bicycle again.

If they're able organize the two large vehicles to clear up the road in co-operation, why can't they make the small vehicle follow the two large vehicles, so that the light traffic pathway would also be cleared? It boggles the mind.

So today I commuted back home on mostly unplowed routes, and I'm proud to announce that I'm no longer inexperienced in the esteemed area of bicycling that is falling over on your side with your feet still attached to the clipless pedals. I did that twice today. There is a type of wet snow, I'm pretty sure Eskimos have a word for it, in which the bicycle tends to suddenly swerve sideways. Especially if some areas of the snowy surface are softer than others. As I experienced, there isn't much time to detach the feet from the pedals when that happens. The previous winter I rode with flat pedals and I didn't fall over once. I guess I'll have to switch back to flat pedals again for the winter.

Surprisingly, falling over on your side with your feet attached to the pedals wasn't that painful. I suppose that it helped that the roads weren't plowed. At least there was lots of comfortable, soft snow to land upon. Actually, it was kind of fun. I definitely can see the humour in that, although at the time, I did curse a lot.

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