Windy and Icy Adventure Ride

Boy, did I have an adventure this morning! The day began like any other. I checked the forecast before heading to the office and read “25 F, sustained winds of 26 mph.” Hmmm. Wind is not something I like to play with, but I really wanted to ride my bike. I clicked for more details: “wind direction north-northeast.” Great! I was heading south to downtown, so the wind would push me merrily along. What about the return trip? Below it said “wind down to 10 mph by late afternoon.” Decision made! Oma and I set off happily…

…and made it about 2 miles. As you can see, the wind was mean and a bit more northeast than north. And there was another factor I failed to take into account: ice. Yesterday we had a small, wet snow – no big deal. On the lakefront, however, the wet snow froze, joined by crashing waves which froze.

My studded tires kept me upright, but after the trail began to resemble an ice-rink and I felt a tiny slip in my front tire, I dismounted. I’m not a fan of falling. Assessing my situation, I realized that every tiny thing was covered with ice and decided to turn around, garage Oma and take the L train. At this point, I met a very interesting person and we chatted for a bit. I’ll have to make that its own post.

I’m glad I tried to bike to work. I had lots of fun and started out my day with an adventure. Although sometimes I have to admit cycling is not practical, I’ll always try before giving up :)

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19 thoughts on “Windy and Icy Adventure Ride

  1. My God! That looks beautiful and fierce. Those waves!

    So from a practical standpoint, what happens with regard to work when you have to turn back? Were you late, and is your work flexible in terms of that? Or do you leave super early in case this happens?

  2. philippe says:

    I heart this post.
    Brilliant photography.

  3. sara says:

    The ice tree is amazing.

    Felt a bit guilty today riding with my youngest son to the other side of town b/c the wind was pretty fierce (not sure quite the same as you saw in Chicago). He was equipped with his lined helmet & googles but I wished he was wearing snow pants b/c I knew his legs were freezing. We were already halfway when I realized just how bad the cold wind was so decided to press on. Got there in one piece but I did wonder if someone was going to call me out for child endangerment or something…

  4. Great pix, particularly of the vertical jets of water. I bet the sound was very interesting, too. Was the lake ice cracking and crunching?

  5. Emma J says:

    Wow, you are a hardy soul! Here PDX & environs we’re worrying because it’s so much warmer than normal that all the bulbs are sprouting out too soon. Lots of wet rides, but nothing like this. Guess we don’t know what trouble is, do we?

  6. Steve A says:

    I’m surprised about a turnaround after actually starting out. OTOH, there’s an awful lot of ice in those photos.

    How common is such an occurrence? I’ll bet it’s rare. Myself, I’ve only once actually started out on the bike only to turn around and commute via other means. I do keep a close eye on the weather report nowadays, which helps considerably.

  7. In New England the weather report means next to nothing, so I’ve stopped relying on it. It’s fascinating to know that there are places where the forecast is actually accurate!

  8. Dottie says:

    @Lovely Bicycle! and Steve A – I very rarely have to turn back. This was maybe the second or third time. In the past I have ridden to the nearest L train station and locked my bike, instead of going all the way home. Since today was a Saturday, I was going in for only a few hours to get some work done. So being late was not an issue. My work hours are somewhat flexible, anyway. There is no clocking in or out, for example, and I always work longer than my official schedule, anyway.

    Cycling issues are not so different from any commuting issues. My boss came in hours later than usual yesterday, for example, because her car would not start. Such is life.

  9. meligrosa says:

    haaa – wow that tree picture with the ice is wickedddddddd
    one of the things we dont get to see around california much at all
    cheers xoxo.m

  10. Cherilyn says:

    Amazing photos! I especially love the ice-coated tree. You make winter biking look so gorgeous.

    Slippery biking for me too today, but not the harsh winds.

  11. Wild Bill says:

    Nice pictures. I’m glad you got the ice-tree. I wanted to take a picture of that when I rode by it yesterday, but I had no camera on me.

    You needn’t have given up, you just have to ride on the grass around the “real” icy patches. I fell twice and picked up some lessons: 1. Ice is slippery (no, really, it is) and 2. Clear ice is hard to see at night with only a 1W LED headlight.

  12. Melissa Hope S says:

    I am always amazed at how big the waves of Lake Michigan can get.

  13. Miss Sarah says:

    I love the one picture of the ice tree! I like the effort too. Sometimes I just won’t know if it’s doable unless I get out there:)

  14. Steve says:

    You inspire me! This morning rose cold (33F) for north Florida, but sunny, and thinking about you riding in Chicago, I gladly put on my corduroys and woolies, and off I went to work on my bicycle. No ice, no blustery lake winds, no potential frostbite, just the usual crush of cagers wondering why some nutcase would ride to work on what they think is a cold morning. (I like you often ride alone and wonder why there aren’t more bicycle commuters.) But I got to wear my beautiful new wool jumper (pullover shirt for men), wrap a nice Scottish scarf over my throat, button up my pure wool car coat, pull on the black leather gloves, and enjoy the quiet neighborhood roads, the blooming camellias, the crisp, dry air, and knowing that the Guinness I’ll drink tonight at the Irish trad session will be paid for upfront healthwise!

  15. Step-Through says:

    WOW – love that shot of the tree outlined in ice!

  16. Dottie says:

    @sara – Aw, what does not kill them, makes them stronger :) I’m sure child protection would love to hear a parent say that! ha. Seriously, though, those experiences build character.

  17. Dottie says:

    @meligrosa – I will trade you one ice tree for one cappuccino with a fancy design in the foam :)

  18. Dottie says:

    @Steve – Hey, Steve, awesome story! Sounds waaaay better than driving to work. I love to hear about the dapper chapness going on down in Florida. Glad to hear from another member of the “Ride to Drink Guinness, Drink Guinness to Ride” camp :)

  19. Dottie says:

    @Wild Bill – Dude, falling twice is exactly what I was trying to avoid! You are much more adventurous than I.

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