I woke to the crunching sounds of feet on snow; my early-bird neighbors apparently made an unusual choice to leave their cars parked in favor of foot or bus. Welcome to Seattle where an inch of snow provokes panic. I must have been a bit nervous about the weather myself — crunching pedestrian parades wouldn’t normally drag a morning hater like myself out of a sound sleep a full 40 minutes early.
I’ll admit, I considered the bus option. I even checked the schedule, but just like last year Metro let me down. Instead of actually providing snow route schedules or updates, they ask riders for patience. Patience? How hard is to for drivers to report they are switching to their snow schedule then having someone flick toggle a check box in a CMS or better yet, to program the snow routes into their bus tracker app. This, of course, is merely an empty rant. Metro’s issues are not mine. No, I am a captive of last night’s dumb-ass vow:
“Tomorrow I ride”
I mean, what the hell was I thinking and why did I feel the need to record it here?
So, I take a closer look outside. Lots of chopped up ice and re-frozen snow. But, the sun is out, it’s looking like a bluebird day, and optimistically I (uncharacteristically) figure the melt out will commence about the time I eat, shower, gear up and roll.
I was wrong.
First clue? The garage door is frozen shut. Second clue? Rime ice has coated the gate latch. I wail on it a few times before it releases to set me on my slippery way. I hold my pace to about 6 mph as I descend to the Burke-Gilman. Surely, once I get off the road (that these automotive beasts must have somehow wrecked with their studded tires, SUVs and hot exhaust), the trail will be OK
I was wrong.
If anything it’s worse than the road. Frozen. Thawed. Rutted. Chunky. Icy. Approaching and passing the UW I have the trail to myself — maybe a smattering of walkers and one rider. As I make my way toward Gas Works the pedestrian traffic increases significantly. Trail hogging walkers take another dimension when a quick maneuver will dump you on your ass.
I see more cyclists, but oddly they are walking. Passing Dunn Lumber I realize why: This part of the trail — the most windblown and painful last night — had shed most of the crunchy, re-frozen snow and now sagged under scary black ice.
Still, wheels, at least long-wheelbase Xtracycle wheels, seem better than feet. My only real close call comes at 34th and Stone Way where I make the prudent choice to leave the trail and cross on foot at the light.
On 34th I continue North to the Fremont Bridge. Things are looking up. The going here is easy, and once I make up my mind to take the lane, I find it trivial to keep up with traffic. Southbound is a different story. Lines of autos, piloted by warm but nervous drivers, creep along.
I am not one of them .
Treacherous conditions forgotten, I take a moment to drink in the beautiful day. The city glistens. Tugs ply the flat water. Even a very long bridge opening doesn’t dampen my spirits; instead, I sneak a photo.
The ride home is a non-story. Cool, quick and packed full of post-work decompressive goodness.
Tomorrow, I ride.