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I knew this morning’s ride was going to be cold, but the ground is clear, and I hate taking the bus, so I bundled up to cycle Clara to work. One of these days I’ll have to snap a photo of her.

The wind was at my back this morning and originally I was set to go without my facemask on. But I realized I’d left my front light on the bike on Tuesday and it was no longer working. Back inside to drop it off because there’s no point in cycling with extra weight, right? Then I fished out the back up front light, which was still working.

I tested the brakes as I pedalled down the driveway. IT’s a good thing they were working because a car was coming down the street. I pulled out after it passed, only to have it cut me off by first swerving left, then without signalling turning right into a driveway. GRRRRRR.

Down the hill, across the street and through Tunney’s Pasture, I was glad to have added my facemask before leaving. The path was clear of ice, only green goose poop remnants could be seen. Read the rest of this entry »

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I had a few surprises today. First working day of December and I was able to ride Clara to work. Before I finally give up on the work thing, I may be able to surpass my previous record of cycling until December 6. The way I see it, Clara and I may part ways after this year anyways, so why not push it?

Despite freezing rain over the weekend, the overnight temperatures kept everything from freezing. I was able to follow the river pathway with no hazards except for the usual mounds of goose poop that were extra slick this morning.

I decided to break the law again this morning and take the sidewalk on the west side of the Portage Bridge. A bus was coming up behind me as I cycled along Booth towards the Chaudiere Crossing. And I just wasn’t in the mood for a conversation with a bus.  

I may even ditch the merino wool/possum fur sweater under my jacket for the ride home. It felt so odd not wearing my bandana or face mask in December.

The second surprise was the snowflakes falling on the blog. I’d been looking on line because they didn’t appear on December 1. I was clicking around on the blog behind the scenes, but couldn’t see the menu items other bloggers were saying to turn on. Was I going to have to break down and buy the “professional” version?

I think not! Today at work (and I use that term loosely given that there’s only 10 working days to go) I was checking my stats. And all of a sudden, little snowflakes started to fall at the top of the page. I thought about watching the whole screen fill up. Because that’s how boring it is now. But the best part is not having to pay for a version I’m not ready to pay for yet.

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? Read the rest of this entry »

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

There is still no rain (or snow) in the forecast, so I’m still cycling in. Every morning I check Clara’s tires before I attach the pannier bag in the garage. Once she’s loaded up, I stick my head out the side door and say goodbye to Wellington, who is tied up for his before breakfast breath of fresh air.

Then I mount my trusty steed Clara and push off down the driveway, testing the brakes before I get to the sidewalk, where the driveway slopes down to the road. I’m always amazed that the brakes still work and the tires still hold air. I keep thinking that Clara will let me down before the snow falls. I think she’s just like Clara Hughes, a fighter. And she’s determined to go down to the basement on a high. Read the rest of this entry »

November is usually cold, wet and dark. So far it’s been cold most days, with the exception of our record-breaking Monday, and extremely bright. It’s been great for cycling to work because I only have to worry about cold and not rain.

In my last post, I wrote a note to myself to find my fleece skate warmers. Well, I found one, but not the other. This morning I contemplated using one fleece shoe cover and one gortex to see which one kept my feet warm. But I didn’t want to look like a total dork arriving at work so I instead arrived with very cold feet. Read the rest of this entry »

Riding Clara the Clunker to work this morning was cold. It started with my butt hitting the seat as I got to the end of the driveway. I knew it would be cold as I tested the brakes going down the hill. It almost felt like Clara’s hips were as stiff as mine when the cat sleeps on my legs in the evening.

The weather has been wonky the past few days. On Monday (a holiday for me) it was in the low 20s and we broke a record. Then yesterday it was back to cold temperatures, with a mini snow squall around 10:30. But the forecast for the week looks pretty good, so Clara is going to continue to be my main mode of transport to work. Read the rest of this entry »

Yesterday I traded in the clunker for a good pair of walking shoes. But just for the day. Walking to work once a week helps me see the neighbourhood at a slower pace. But I have to admit that when I’m accompanied by my “walking pool” buddy, we usually end up chatting the whole way and I rarely see anything because it’s so early in the morning. Read the rest of this entry »

The clocks have fallen back, the leaves are mostly gone, and the temperatures have taken a plunge. But I will not let that deter me from my cycling commute.

Image courtesy of Google Images

I knew it was going to be colder this week so I rummaged in the basement to find all my winter gear. Cycling headband, check; ski gloves, check; neck tube; check. These were added to my gortex pants and old gortex lightly lined jacket (note to self: need to respray it especially the arms!). I also had to find a proper headlight and batteries and check to make sure it works.

My ride isn’t very long so I try to layer on top of my work clothes, especially when it’s dry. I figure it saves on changing time when I get to work.

It was much brighter leaving this morning, and not nearly as blinding heading east into the sun. Last Friday I could barely see with the sun poking over the downtown. I expect to experience that on my way home.

Courtesy Google Images

As I cycled through my neighbourhood heading towards the river, I saw rooftops and car windshields covered with frost. I knew the wind would be mostly at my back, except for the stretch where I head north skirting around the War Museum.

The wooden bridge just before the museum wasn’t iced up as I’d expected it to be. Maybe by tomorrow it would be. But after I crossed the bridge, I could feel winter biting at my toes. Yes, tomorrow it’s going to have to be winter boots or my cycling booties over my shoes.

Upon my arrival at work, I unvelcroed my reflective straps from my legs, took of my helmet and turned off its blinking light, removed my headband and neck tube. I picked up my free newspaper and climbed up the two flights of stairs to the security checkpoint. By the time I’d finished my elevator ride, I was starting to overheat. Except for my feet.

I am determined to cycle until the snow covers the path or freezing rain arrives. And then I will walk.

 

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Flood waters rush in to the HOboken PATH station through an elevator shaft (Port Authority NY&NJ)

As Hurricane Sandy pummeled the northeast coast of the U.S., flooding much of lower Manhattan, media were calling it the Frankenstorm. Sandy is 1000 km wide and was due to collide with cold air and a storm coming from the west. Facebook friends were posting links to emergency preparedness. Friends of Facebook friends were checking to make sure their friends were ready. And me? I was hoping for a day off work. Read the rest of this entry »

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