The weather’s been pretty nice for January in Minnesota — except on weekends.
It seems that most of the time since the second or third week in December either the weather has been too cold and/or windy to ride outside or something to do with Christmas, New Year or my birthday (I turned 60 on New Year’s Eve) has made it impossible to ride.
Not that I’m complaining. Christmas with the family was fun.
And I did get a 60-inch, flat-screen TV for my birthday. Nuff said about that.
Weather over the past weekend was about as cold as it’s been all winter. And we can look forward to even colder weather this coming weekend and into the beginning of next week.
About the only exception to the recent bad weekend weather trend happened the first weekend of January. That Saturday we took advantage of calm, sunny day by going to Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center to try snow shoeing. I’d never done that before and — except for a few tumbles — I enjoyed it and got a good workout.
On Sunday that weekend, it was time to take our daughter, Gabby, back to the Twin Cities because she went back to work Monday. Gabby and Sofia, my wife, shopped and, after hunting all over Plymouth, I found an Indian restaurant in the very mall where I left the women.
Any trip that includes an Indian buffet is great as far as I’m concerned.
But driving to the Cities gorging on Indian food is just another reason I need to get some riding in.
Since that weekend buffet, weather has been good enough to ride outside six or seven times.
Wednesday looked pretty promising … on Tuesday.
According to the National Weather Service, the high temperature would be around 34 degrees and, although there would be light snow, it would fall “mainly after 1 p.m.”
Well it did reach 34 — at about 6 a.m. And the snow was a little early.
I was about two miles from home at about 11:15 a.m. when I took off my untinted sports glasses because moisture from the snow that had been falling for the past half hour had fogged them.
Because the temperature was below freezing, the snow actually helped in one respect: It improved traction on icy portions of the road.
Overall though, I enjoyed biking as it snowed. It still wasn’t too cold — at least not after I added a thermal undershirt before turning around and heading back home into the wind.
And the addition of blowing snow changed the terrain and the sky around the unpaved roads I’ve been riding regularly for months.
The studded tires I bought (and finally broke in) have worked well so far. I wouldn’t try to stop on a dime on ice if I was rolling along at 20 mph even when my tires are covering with little carbide knobs.
But when traveling at a reasonable speed and gradually increasing the pressure on the brakes (which I can do because my winter bike has disk brakes) those tires seem to do a good job of grabbing whatever’s beneath them.
Overall, while this winter may not have been as mild as last year, it’s not without it enjoyable cycling opportunities.