Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Most difficult commute

-- or --
The Swobo Baxter only "kind of enjoys" this stuff.

Yesterday, I took the bus that drops me off at The Maul. Kind of a misake: Quivira was trashed. There was one and a half usable lanes, and cars were still treating it like two whole ones, even with me on the road. That meant I was getting buzzed. A LOT. And even taking what remained of the outside lane, people were still cutting too close for my comfort if it was dry out, much less with snow still adorning the roadway. I wasn't going to risk that again. The sidewalks were unusable, as well. Quivira's a no-go.

So I was betting on 87th street to at least have sidewalks that'd been smoothed over and trampled down by people. The sidewalks on 87th are generally ridable after a good snow-storm. The street itself was NOT going to be ridden on with the fresh snow we got today. Vehicular Psychlists and you Followers of Forrester: just shut up right freaking now, unless you tried riding 87th Street over I-35 today. Usually, I agree with you guys on the VC thing. Not today.

Having set my mind on 85th/87th, I decided to take the Antioch bus to get closer to home today. It was running a bit behind schedule, so I took some pics.

The reflective sidewalls still get me every time. I love that feature.

The bus ended up getting me to my usual stop at 85th about an hour behind schedule. That's okay. I have lights. 85th was fine. Snowpacked, but okay. So was Goddard. Then, I got to 87th. Packed with cars honking at one another, my decision to stay off the road itself was quickly reinforced. That's when the Baxter decided to not move. And who could blame it. The snow was knee deep in places, hip-deep in others, and right there at the BP Gas Station, it was almost enough to bury half the wheel.

So, I hiked. It was 2 miles of walking through all kinds of snow, plow boulders, and crap. All while hauling my backpack and pushing a bike through the stuff. When I got to the 87th street and I-35 overpass, I took a quick break. Just to catch my breath. Okay, maybe it was just a photo-op. But I laid there for a minute or two anyways, allowing my heart rate to settle down a bit.

When I got to the bank parking lot at 87th and Quivira, I was finally home free, on plowed residential thoroughfares and parking lots.

All told, my commute home took three hours, but a good chunk of that 3 hours was spent waiting for and riding on the bus. The last 3 miles (one on the bike, two on foot) took a little under an hour.

This was by far the most tedious commute to date, but I was mostly dressed for the occasion, and I got a good workout from the whole ordeal.

It is interesting that in 2 miles spent hiking through the snow along 87th street, there was not one single passerby who paid me any attention at all. No honks. No "are you alright?" No anything. Not that I needed or wanted any help (I could've summoned help easily had I felt life or limb to be in danger) but I really thought that mankind was just a bit more decent than that.


commuterDude said...

nice work! but, I agree... crowbar and I talked about this back in November, like commuting gets easier when the weather turns: people take heart, kinda the "poor bast..rd" effect, and more room is given, offers for rides,help come. This year, it doesn't seem to be the case. I, took, was forced onto main roads on Monday, and it wasn't pleasant. There is apathy among drivers... but I get the impression that there is anger or something else creeping in, also. be safe....

Anonymous said...

I passed by a guy riding a bike about 5 miles outside of town the other night. It was 19 degrees and dark out. Glad he had that blinkie light on. After I passed him I thought... should I have asked if he needed a ride? But I figured that someone out on a bike at that time wanted to be.


Noah said...

Had that guy been pushing a bike through 2 feet of snow or so, you'd have probably at least checked, though, right? haha.

John in Calgary said...

Hi Noah. Your last picture is interesting. With all that snow pack, did the Swobo rear brake keep working? Same question for the rear hub shifter because the cable running on the down tube would get heavy snow build up in these conditions. I've lost rear brake and shifter function in past snow slogs.

Noah said...

I didn't try shifting. it was in first (internal gear hub, remember) and yes, both brakes worked fine, but I rode less than half a mile after that last photo.

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