Trail Ramblings: What A Difference A Day Makes.
Sunday we got our preview of what’s coming in a month or so. Many put away their bikes when they see the white stuff, but others can’t wait to get out their fat bikes and hit the trails. The trails were too wet for it though, you have to wait for the ground to freeze, or at least not be muddy. I had some business to do, so I went out on my old beater mountain bike as soon as the snow let up. It was nice that ice ruts (my nemesis) hadn’t formed yet and there wasn’t any black ice.
Downed limbs were plentiful, though, and I got plenty of snow shaken off onto me by trees. Chainsaws were out early to clear the Mopac, though I worry that the nice new fence the fraternity put up around 34th and Mopac will be a nice new snowfence, causing the snow to pile up on the trail next to it.
What follows the first freeze now is an abundance of fallen leaves. I’ve laid my bike down taking corners too fast on fallen leaves. Also, you can’t tell what’s under them, so be aware.
The riding will be great the rest of this week. There may be a little black ice Tuesday morning, but beyond that, beautiful temperatures await so avoid the temptation to overdress in the mornings. I didn’t put my Bar mitts (pogies) on my commuter bike since temperatures would be going back up and taking them off and putting them on is a bother, maybe because I’m usually trying to do it with freezing hands. I know many people who like to keep their bikes in their (heated) living quarters, but it’s harder on bikes to be warming up, then freezing again every day. It’s best to just let them stay cold. The consequence for me though is that I don’t service them as much as I would in warm surroundings.
Last winter I ordered some lobster claws since I didn’t have anything warm enough to wear on my cold hands in China. They have worked for me from the mid-high 20’s to low 40’s. Below that Bar mitts are a must for me. Apparently I have horse-hide for skin on my face, because the cold doesn’t bother my face until down in the 20’s. I see riders with masks on in the 50’s, so I know some feel the need. We’re all different, so use what works best for you.
In other trail news, the Murdock trail paving project is slowly moving forward, with one block finished east of 56th St. as of last week, and the others getting prepared.