Who knew there was a palm tree in Portland?
Since it looks like the winter is yet to release its grip on the world, the snow day post may be appropriate somewhere. Flights have already been canceled for anyone heading out to the East Coast, no idea what this means during the week of the National Bike Summit in Washington D.C. The bike industry, or those that haven't already landed there are going to have to try out their best Frank Underwood impersonations next year.
Portland doesn't usually get snow. About six years ago is the last time that it shut this city down. I barely missed that one. This year I was not so lucky, or I was lucky depending on how you look at it. We joke that the City of Portland sends its snow plow out at the merest hint of snow, but the truth of the matter is that we upgraded because of that disaster six years ago. Now we have two. (Editor note: the PDX.gov site states that we have 55 vehicles "equipped to deal with snow." Whatever that means.) Anyway you slice it, the city was completely shut for almost four days last month. Even the movie theaters canceled shows (isn't this what you want to do when you have a snow day?)
Anyway, for the cyclists of Portland, this meant one thing — Snow Day! Plus, the added bonus of a severely decreased number of vehicles on the road. Sure, there were the four wheel drive vehicles, the ones that insisted on driving a million miles an hour down Burnside. Then there were the subaru's and what have you's. But, the majority of the cars and trucks of this city were off the streets - and without them being plowed - especially the neighborhood streets - we were left to our own devices.
We know that the good people that follow The Athletic Community are in places other than Portland. Places that are either sunny (we want to be there with you) or a little better equipped to handle the snow. That second group of people have no patience for us when we have to deal with it out here - nor should they.
So, we did the only thing that we knew how - we jammed all our special deliveries into our backpacks - strapped the big box to Japan onto the outside of my Mission Workshop Arkiv (damn I love this bag) and headed out into what looked like a blizzard. Initially the CX bike was the way to go - but as the weekend progressed - and the snow deepened - the Single Speed Mountain bike proved more than useful. Plus, on trails - the snow was a bit too deep to navigate with a cross bike.
Surprise! Wilcox knows how to shred the snow too.
Tips for using your bike in the snow:
1. Flat Pedals are your friend. I know that they don't look as cool on your race machine - no matter what it is - but trust me - you will be dryer and warmer cruising around in your winter boots on flat pedals.
2. Let some air out. You do not need 100psi to ride on slippery snow. Plus, if you have fatty tires you can go down to 30 or something fun. Even with the cross bike.
3. "lean back, now lean back, now lean back." Fat Joe knew what he was talking about. Let your front wheel guide you and just keep pedaling. (even lil bow wow is throwing it up.)
4. Watch out for icy ruts. Those things want to send you into oncoming traffic. Just pick up your front wheel gently over the top of them.
5. Disc brakes. You didn't want them for racing. But who knew how useful they would be for riding to work?
6. Have fun. This shit is the best! Especially with friends.
I knew these crazy snow boots would come in handy.