The mornings are getting darker when the alarm clock goes beep-beep-beep. So much so that it’s taking me longer to open the curtains and blinds because I really don’t need the construction workers across the street seeing me before I’m at my best. I had no idea there was snow on the ground until NosyNeigbhour opened the curtains after his shower.

I hadn’t planned to walk to work, so I decided to cycle. I’ve never cycled to work in the snow. I’ve been on the bike with snowflakes falling, but never with any accumulation. And what would the drivers be like with the first snowfall on a work day?

I put on my winter hiking boots, my gortex pants, my face mask and my headband. I went into the garage, checked Clara’s tires and brakes. All was working so down the snow-covered driveway I went. Thankfully a salt truck had made one pass on our street.

At the bottom of the street a car exited the parking garage, looked me in the eye and cut me off. It was a sign of things to come.

I went down Carleton, heading to Scott. I figured it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to try to cross at Ross to cut through Tunneys. Carleton had not been salted. As I approached the lights at Scott I looked at the oncoming traffic that was starting to accumulate and realized that the light was about to change.

I was about 50m away and thought that it was my lucky day. But no, the Francis Fuel truck with its left turn signal on barrels through the intersection and veers into my path. The road was covered with packed snow. I slammed on my brakes and slid for about 10 feet, fishtailing the whole way. The truck stopped in front of a house on the wrong side of the road. I stopped safely before the intersection but missed the light, the one that takes 10 minutes to turn.

I got off the bike, walked over to the post and pushed the button. Then I glared at the truck waiting for him to get out. He waited a few minutes. I think he was scared. When he opened the door, I yelled, “Asshole!”

When the light finally changed, I crossed over to the Scott Street pathway and then cut through Tunney’s.  I rode along the snow-covered pathway towards the river, with one set of tire tracks for me to follow. As I went under the Parkway, another cyclist, all bundled up, pedalled towards me.

Once I joined the path, I passed a jogger and saw a few pedestrians. The snow was sparkling in the morning sun. Having never actually cycled in snow, I tested out trying to tracks or following the packed down trail that was starting to form. I wanted to stop to take a picture but I was already running late, and I didn’t want to get going too fast in case I needed to stop.

This morning no spandex-clad racing bikes passed me! I did see the older woman on her bike just after the railroad bridge. And she was wearing a hat today! The crisp white snow under me had calmed my nerves after the almost run-in with the Francis Fuel truck. It was making me think about skiing in St. Anton. So as we passed each other, much more slowly this morning, I shouted out, “MORNING!” and she smiled and said, “You too!”

Realizing that the Chaudiere bridge may be dangerously slick, I cut through Victoria Island and onto the sidewalk on Portage. I know, I shouldn’t but it was definitely safer. Oh, except for the part when I zigged to get to the path on the island.

There is never traffic on that road, and I’d checked my side mirror about 10 seconds before I’d veered. All of a sudden there was a pick up truck there. I think I may have scared him. But likely, he knew I was going to do it.

The Portage Bridge was salted. And I was careful to go slowly past the pedestrians, who were hugging the railing side of the bridge trying not to get too much salty spray on themselves. When I arrived at work, Clara was only the second bike to be locked up.

I’m guessing that most of the snow will have melted by the time I leave for home.

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