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Overcoming my winter biking fears

Posted Jan 18 2012 10:39pm
One of my New Years resolutions this year is to toughen during the winter months and learn to bike through snow and ice.  When I say toughen up, please understand that I've set the bar incredibly low on this one.  We didn't have an especially impressive snowfall on Monday, maybe about three inches, and most of what was on the road, had melted.  Generally though, if even the slightest bit of snow and ice are present on the road, bike lane or multiuse path, I hitch a ride in the car with my husband, also an inclimate weather wimp.  We're both trying to work on this one.
Winter weather riding doesn't mean I have to dress for a blizzard. The pants are lined and I wore thin wook socks.
At the moment, I can't afford the studded tires that I've been promising myself for the last couple of years so I'm relying on the confidence that for me usually comes with being well dressed,
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along common sense riding behavior and bike accessories.

Planet Bike blinkie light for visibility.
LaserLiteLane for extra visibility.
When traveling over road that looks like this. . .

Would it be appropiate to ask the homeowners on either side of this short stretch to shovel the street?
the idea is to keep pedaling at a steady pace and avoid breaking.

Easy to pedal during the mid-day melt but quite challenging during my morning and early evening ride.
The bike lanes was mostly covered with jagged, rocky chunks of frozen snow so  I had to pedal in the main part of the road, as far to the right as safely possible, checking my rear view mirror from time to time.  I also made sure both my rear blinky lights were turned on to maximize my visibility.

Only an eight minute ride to m workplace, I made without incident.  I noticed along the way that other  morning commuting cyclist who I typically see on my morning ride in was nowhere to be seen.  He rides a mountain bike, always speeding past me with a wave and friend "Hello".  I wonder if he  was on a different schedule this morning or, like me, feels intimidated by the ice and snow.  If so, just how much does it take for him to throw in the towel and grab his car keys?  I've seen him biking to and from work for several months now and he looks like a pretty serious sports cyclist so I'd be curious as to whether or not he is even slightly a fair weather rider.  Something tells me that crazy bicycle lady with a camera will be making an appearance sometime soon to get the answer to this question.

Mocha update. . .
I regret to report that Bob and I lost Mocha early Tuesday morning.  Mocha refused to nurse Daisy ; I suspected a developmental delay in his sucking reflex.  He lost weight and body temperature,  and developed an eye infection.  Under the care of the veterinarians and staff at Westside Veterinary Clinic he showed steady improvedment in all areas, and we learned to bottle and tube feed him, take his temperature and respond to his crying effectively. 

Mocha, day one.
He was a little fighter, and by Monday morning Bob and I were sure that Mocha had turned the corner for good and that within nine weeks we'd be sendings a happy, healthy puppy to his new family.  Unfortunately, sometime Monday he developed an infection in his GI track.  Our vet said that although she could revive him with fluids the prognosis was not good and he would be in considerable pain.  Bob and I could not let him suffer.

Day eight with Daisy and me after a successful tube feeding.
Bob admitted to me later that when he first saw Mocha's image on the sonogram he was filled with hope.  Despite the vet's warning that pups from first litters and very young mother's had a poor survival rate, for Bob, Mocha symbolized a determination to overcome disappointment, setbacks and obstacles - something very important to us at this time. 

Bob with Mocha, who liked being swaddled in a chenille sock.
Bob was certain that he and I could help Daisy care for her baby so that he would thrive, whatever the odds.  Bob said he worried that somehow he had let Mocha down but remembered that in his final moments, Mocha started to open his eyes for the first time.  He hoped that Mocha saw that we were there for him.  I, on the other hand, and certain that through our scent and touch that Mocha was aware of our presence and felt safe.
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