Sunday, January 2, 2011

'ice to meet you, 2011

December was a dreary month this year. It didn't feel like it rained any more than usual, but with the sun also staying away it felt like the endless grey ceiling kept its grip on our skies and moods.

Four days ago, it let go.

Since then, we've been enjoying blue sky, that burning orange glow of the horizontal light at sunset, and unbroken subzero temperatures. And by "enjoying", I mean that the whole city seems have yelled: "Quick, get outside before it goes away!" and spilled out onto the streets to soak up as much of the oh-so-short daylight that we can absorb without freezing our wimpy west-coast fingers off.

Both yesterday and today I ended up riding to meet friends, going for a walk, stopping to eat somewhere where it's cozy and warm, then riding home again.

It's cold and dry without snow, so my current concern is ice. I shouldn't really say "concern", as I'm not worried about it and it's not preventing me from riding, but the fact is that it's "on my radar". I'm riding slowly, paying attention to the surface of the road, and watching for dark spots. They are out there. Sometimes I ride around them, sometimes can smoothly (and slowly, in a straight line, and without brakes) ride over them, and once had no choice but to stop, get off, walk across, and get back on. (Ironically, it was one of the side connectors leading on the Hornby bike lane. The rest of the bike way had been well salted, but not this stretch. The other side-effect of being blocked in on both sides -- while separated from cars -- is that there's nowhere to go should you need to go around something that stretches across the whole width of both lanes.)

Frost is quite frequent in shady areas, like here in the shadow of the barrier on the Burrard Bridge, beside parked cars, and on the north sides of buildings. I've been riding over it with due caution, neither trying to avoid or ignore it.

Unfortunately, I pulled my camera out of my bag today only to realize that I'd taken out the memory card yesterday and forgot to put it back in! So despite the extraordinary weather today, I was not able to record the COUNTLESS cyclists out and about. They were all over the seawall and nearly taking over Granville Island, people of all stripes on bicycles of all kinds. We are Vancouverites: when the sun shines, we take to our bicycles, regardless of the season or temperature. I was so proud.

...and speaking of being proud, I was most proud of my friend Melanie, who rode her vintage cruiser (upright and heavyish, so nice and stable!) for the first time ever in winter.

(I would have taken a picture, but... you know. Oops. Won't do that again.)

Just like the rain, the cold weather that once felt threatening for riding in is now feeling comfortable and feasible in a variety of situations. It really is about acclimatizing yourself to new experiences gradually. Winter 2011 may just have begun, but it's a season that I think I'm actually looking forward to. Happy New Year!

1 comment:

  1. A Happy New Year to you too Mandy.
    I love that first photo - a great shot.