Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Competitive blizzard blogging

This is a "spécial dédicace" to Filigree from Lovely Bicycle, who put my whining about three flecks of snow to shame. And rightly so. Until this morning, Edinburgh had been spared the heavy snows that afflicted the rest of the country.

 It fell quietly in the night, dropping on rooftops and gardens, covering cars and roads, transforming the city into a cleaner, more quiet, prettier version of itself. What is it about snow that can melt the dark and hardened heart of even the most bitter of cynics? I woke up and watched as kids rushed excitedly down the street, the dog walkers slipping around on the pavement. A middle aged couple were throwing snowballs at each other. A man carried a big box of Quality Streets to some unknown destination.

It seldom snows heavily in Edinburgh, so I couldn't miss out on this opportunity to try riding in the snow. I took the bike down the stairs, and made my way gingerly outside. I passed my old neighbour who advised me, with bulgy eyes, to beware... BEWARE!

I headed for a small side street that would lead me down to Leith Links. The first few seconds of the ride were exhilarating. I was cycling! In the snow! Weeeee!

Then I fell. I got back up, and fell again. I slid around to the end of the treacherous street, going very, very slowly, getting bemused glances from the drivers trying to clear their parked cars of snow. Clearly my thin, sleek road tyres are no good for these conditions.

Get the flash player here:

I made it on foot to the empty park. Some random observations:
1. I am not the only weirdo in the Links. Other cyclists had gone through before me. Their  tracks extended away from me tantalizingly, but I could not follow.
2. Cycling on fresh snow was much more stable, but my wheels and brakes quickly filled up with snow, stopping me in my tracks.
3. My new coat performed wonderfully. Just the right length, an A-line to fit lots of jumpers under, and wide sleeves for ease of movement.
4. The blue dynamo lamp looked great against all that white. The still uncut cable ties that replaced the previous poor masking tape job - not so much.
5. Don't fancy cycling? Urban skiing is always an option. Not sure what he did when he got to the other side of the park though.
6. Snowballs make good "presents" for those too hungover on Christmas cheer to venture out into snowy parks for fun and games.

That was probably the last bike ride of the year. Tomorrow I'm off to Lancaster (apparently, the "cycling capital of the North West" *snigger*), then heading off to Paris where there will hopefully be some messing around on the Vélib and its slightly less glamorous suburban cousin, the Velcom, as well as some fondling of my sister's old Peugeot.

Happy holidays, fellow bike pervs.


  1. You DISGUST me. You people are not normal. Worst of all, I find myself inadvertently reaching out to stroke that shiny bell.

    That is all.

    Outraged of Brussels.

  2. Oh hey, with all the holiday insanity I hadn't noticed this until now!

    Thank you for the spécial dédicace - But I feel like a fake! Truth be told, I complain constantly and have not really been riding much since it began snowing here. I still "commute" and run errands almost daily, but don't go on longer rides - because frankly the cold wind makes me wish I were dead as I attempt to ride against it.

    The real winner of Competitive Winter Blogging? That's Dottie from Let's Go Ride a Bike. She is hard core.

    Now, your snowy bike pictures - They are beautiful. And now I know what you look like. Kind of, sort of, in a hazy way. I like your blue headlight - and the person XC skiing in the background. I need to go skiing badly.

    Well, enough crazy rambling for now. Enjoy Winter!

  3. I've enjoyed reading your posts, and not just because I'm a fellow bicyclephile, so I've tagged you in a meme. Basically you offer 10 things about yourself, then tag 7 others. Happy new year!

  4. I've just discovered your blog courtesy of Filigree's blog - really enjoying reading it! My husband lived in Edinburgh years ago. I visited there a couple of years ago and fell in love with the place. Mind you it was summer. And it didn't rain. But yes, a hilly place - I live in a hilly place in Australia so can happily relate to your hills and cycling up them. However, we don't have the snow in common. Are you mad to ride in the snow on skinny tyres? Maybe. But the photos are just fab!

  5. May I recommend studded tires? Nokia works well for me. And Sweden knows a bit or two about snow.


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