I love winter, but until it arrives I am happy to continue cycling Clara to work. And only 17 more days to go!

The weather has been unusually dry, and starting yesterday unusually warm. The combination of warm air over cold water and ground led to thick heavy fog this morning. When I tied up the cat in the backyard for his morning outdoor time, I wondered whether I would need my gortex pants over my dresspants. The dampness chilled me in the 20 seconds I was outside. But my hands hadn’t gotten cold and the Internet was telling me that the light winds were from south.

While the cat played outside getting his paws all muddy, I had my morning cups of coffee and made my lunch. Today’s fuel consists of leftover barbecue chicken, sliced up and served on a One Bun with a slice of Provolone cheese, a dollop of olive hummus, sliced tomatoes and baby spinach. With today’s warm temperatures, there won’t be any grilling in the toaster oven at lunch. Instead of a fruit salad, I washed some blueberries and raspberries and filled up the rest of the container with Greek yogurt. That stuff is magical. I use it in muffins, cheesecake, soup, and anything that calls for sour cream. A few clementines, an apple and a banana, along with a bag of baby carrots and my lunch was complete.

Next up was the breakfast to eat upon my arrival at work. If you’re Canadian, you know what a timbit is. Dunkin Donuts calls them munchkins I think. I used to love them. So much that we named our last cat Timbit. But then Tim Hortons changed their operating procedures and all timbits arrived at the franchise frozen. I gave them up then and sought a replacement.

I found the healthy alternative when I figured out a no-fat, no-sugar muffin recipe and bought a mini-muffin tray. I actually have two now because one batch fills two trays. On the weekend, and sometimes during the week, I make batches of muffins and freeze them. Then I plop up to five in a Ziploc bag to have for breakfast at work. This week’s flavours are cranberry-orange, banana-pecan, and maple-oatmeal.

I brought the cat in and didn’t feel the same chill. So I decided to forgo the gortex pants. With a high of 11 degrees C today, I know they won’t be needed by the end of the day. And I left the neck tube at home too. The skiglove shells were traded in for the liners but the headband made it to my head just in case my ears got cold. I also put on a light merino wool sweater on top of my blouse, again, just in case my core got cold.

The fog was still soupy and I worried about being seen. My dress pants are protected by reflected straps. Yes, just like the 40-year-old virgin. It’s not a fashion statement when I ride to work. I care more about how my cycling skirt matches my cycling top when we head to the Ashton pub in the summer. But really, with 17 working days left, who cares?

NosyNeighbour was away on business, and I was tempted to “borrow” the flashing red light from his helmet. But I was pretty sure we still had some old ones kicking around in the basement. After rummaging around the crawl space, I found one. But it needed AAA batteries. I was pretty sure I’d found some rechargeable ones in the computer room and even charged them. I removed the old batteries, one of which had leaked, and put in the rechargeable ones. Result! It was blinking. I added to my pannier bag and double checked the light on my helmet. Yup, it was still working too. The fog outside was intriguing and I decided to be proactive about snapping a quick pic on my way to work. I put my phone in my pocket instead of in my purse in pannier bag.

With the pannier bag loaded up, I said my good byes to Wellington, double checked that I hadn’t left any windows open, and locked up. I opened the side door to the garage then looked back to see if Wellington was at the window. He wasn’t and I wondered whether he was wiping his muddy paws all over the white duvet on our bed.

Clara was waiting for me in the dark garage. Her tires were still firm. I strapped on the pannier bag, attached the headlight and turned it on, then reversed her out of the garage. After mounting her, I traveled a few feet down the driveway and tested the brakes. Those worked too.

The fog was still thick and I could barely see down the street. I was glad I had extra lights on me. More than half of my ride is along the river. Getting to the river is usually uneventful, except where I cross Scott to go through Tunney’s Pasture. The last leg of my journey is across the Chaudiere Bridge, which can be a challenge with buses. But if I get onto it when the light by the museum first turns green for cyclists, I can usually make it across the first half of the bridge before traffic catches up.

I cycled along the river pathway with thick fog beside me on the water. It made me think of the Deep Purple song “Smoke on the Water” and helped me get a rhythm going to get to work a bit faster.

I crossed over the road leading to Lemieux Island and headed towards the dip down under the railroad bridge. Through the thick fog, the bridge appeared and I felt as though I’d been transported to another world. It was a black and white world, with no wind and not a soul around. I couldn’t see or hear the cars that I was sure were driving along the parkway. See for yourself:

Smoke on the water … under the bridge
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