Carpooling in a Snow Storm

Six inches of snow fell on Chicago yesterday afternoon and evening.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I had no intention of cycling in that mess.  My plan was to take the L train, but a co-worker mentioned that she and a friend carpool along a route that passes by my L stop.  She offered to pick me up anytime and I gladly accepted the offer.  The car is already on the road anyway.

In the morning, I walked a block to the L station and a couple of minutes later she pulled up.  I sank into the heated passenger seat – yup, heated - and enjoyed friendly conversation during a calm drive downtown.   (I wonder, is there a way to make my Brooks saddle heated?  ‘Cause that would be amazing!)

The car ride was no faster than my bike ride along the same route, about 25 minutes.  (This is the busy route I recently recorded.)  There’s a lot of backed up traffic, so I’m able to keep up with cars most of the way.  Funny, they used to see me on my bike a lot in the mornings, when I took that route daily.

Snow started falling fast and furious around 1:30 pm and my office decided to close early at 3 pm.  I knew that taking the L home would be an easy 25 minutes, much faster than a car in a snow storm, but deserting my co-worker wouldn’t have been very nice.  :)   The car ride home in the snow took one hour, but I didn’t mind at all.  In fact, I enjoyed the opportunity to get to know her better.  In my heated seat.

There is no way I would have biked in the snow given the road conditions.  If I were in Copenhagen with protected bike lanes maintained by snow plows, sure, but that was obviously not the case.  (You wouldn’t know, but there’s a snow-covered bike lane in the photo above.)

I saw a couple of intrepid cyclists during the ride and I was stressed out just watching them.  I saw a couple others walking their bikes, like this mom and child below.  I assume they set out on the bakfiets hours earlier, before the snow got out of control.

Does anyone else carpool sometimes?  Seems it was all the rage in the ’90s, but I never hear anything about it now.  I enjoyed the experience and in the future when I need to take the L train, I may text my co-worker first to see if she’s carpooling that day.  I hate standing up on the L, plus it costs $2.25 each way.  And did I mention heated seats?  ;)

Did anyone bike home in the snow??  If so, my hat is off to you.

 

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29 thoughts on “Carpooling in a Snow Storm

  1. Brian Glover says:

    Actually, this doesn’t look too difficult:

  2. Brian Glover says:

    Actually, this doesn’t look too difficult:

  3. Anonymous says:

    Technically, I don’t think you’re carpooling if you aren’t contributing a car to the pool. ;) I think you’re going to have to work out an appreciatory cupcake payment system, or something.

    My favorite form of carpooling/bumming is slugging, which is sort of a hybrid of carpooling and hitchhiking. Commuters stand around suburban Park and Rides and motorists pick up a car full of complete strangers so they can drive into the city using HOV lanes. I think it used to be kind of illegal in Northern Virginia/DC where it started, but now the authorities try their best to accommodate the practice.

  4. dukiebiddle says:

    Technically, I don’t think you’re carpooling if you aren’t contributing a car to the pool. ;) I think you’re going to have to work out an appreciatory cupcake payment system, or something.

    My favorite form of carpooling/bumming is slugging, which is sort of a hybrid of carpooling and hitchhiking. Commuters stand around suburban Park and Rides and motorists pick up a car full of complete strangers so they can drive into the city using HOV lanes. I think it used to be kind of illegal in Northern Virginia/DC where it started, but now the authorities try their best to accommodate the practice.

  5. Ash L says:

    I rode yesterday at 10 and again at 2 and it was still pretty doable on the bakfiets. Rico’s normal commute time is 30 minutes. He left the office yesterday at 3 like you but the ride took him 1 hour and 45 minutes but he’s one of those whack jobs that loved every minute of it.

  6. Ash L says:

    I rode yesterday at 10 and again at 2 and it was still pretty doable on the bakfiets. Rico’s normal commute time is 30 minutes. He left the office yesterday at 3 like you but the ride took him 1 hour and 45 minutes but he’s one of those whack jobs that loved every minute of it.

  7. Stacy Bisker says:

    We love to ride-share when ever we can. My children currently get a ride to/from school daily in exchange for some babysitting I am doing for the teacher. My husband shares rides with colleagues for out of town meetings. We feel it builds community. We may not always be able to return the ride but we try to do something with gratitude, usually dinner.

  8. Mtkupp says:

    Hmm, I wonder if you could squeeze a couple heat packs under the Brooks?

  9. Beth says:

    Driving downtown stresses me out, so I never do it – though I’d accept a ride if it were offered. ESPECIALLY if the seats were heated. I always considered that the most absurd luxury until I sat my fanny in one on a cold day. Oh my dear sweet lord, what a glorious thing is a heated seat. It’s the most wonderful indulgence, like hot cocoa with whipped cream (but for your butt).

    ~Beth

  10. Steve A says:

    Hmm, might you have enjoyed those heated seats? Tell us what you REALLY think!

    • Mamavee says:

      I Lurve B’s heated seats in his car. Every time I am in his car in the winter or even slight chilly fall or spring, I turn them on. My only issue is sometimes it feels like you peed. But since I am fairly confident that isn’t the case I get over that feeling fast and snuggle into the warmth. ( also heavy coats can block the feeling. Which is why I like it better in fall and spring. A chilly rainy day-mmmmm yeah.

  11. Luke says:

    I biked to and from work in a snowstorm on Friday!

    I am in Eastern Canada though, so it probably wasn’t the same storm :)

  12. I was surprised that a Chicago office closed early for snow. That must have been some snow.

    As regards ‘pooling, I have done the USA “slugging” that dukiebiddle mentioned, and it was fantastic. Free ride, and some of the drivers who pick up slugs daily even had “house rules” signs on the backs of the front seats. I recall the rule in all caps was “no talking”, which suited me just fine.

    Here in this part of the UK (North Yorkshire), there are some organized pools to Leeds and such, but I haven’t encountered any sort of ride-sharing match setups that I encountered elsewhere. Most people here use a car in the manner of a motorized wheelchair, i.e., drive everywhere, even for very short trips. That’s a shame, especially considering the very high costs of driving here.

    Bob

  13. Mamavee says:

    I car pool often. ( or share rides) I also figure that the car is on the road anyway and it does allow for me to chat and talk and bond. I do have to work at making sure that I sometimes give the ride though… I don’t want people to feel put out. My main interest is one less car on the road… one less car to park…

  14. cycler says:

    We got about 5″ on Saturday and it fell all day, such that the plows couldn’t keep up, so I ended up running the normal errands I would run by bike in the Scientist’s car, which has said heated seats. They are quite nice, and I enjoy them immensely when we “carpool” (I sometimes hitch a ride to his office which is near a T stop). Running errands is much better by bike though- easier to park, with riding in between to soothe the annoyances of groceries- drycleaning- hardware store sort of errands.

  15. Little House says:

    I’m such a baby, and very spoiled living in Southern California. Tomorrow the forecast is calling for rain, so I’m going to drive. I know, I know, I’m a wimp!

  16. GravelDoc says:

    My son and I drove up to Chicago from southwest Missouri this past Thursday so we now know, first hand, what you’re talking about. Friday night we attended a delightful rendition of “Pirates of Penzance” at the Chopin Theatre. While walking from the L to the theatre, we saw at least a few cyclists plowing through the snow in that traffic. The streets had not yet seen a snow plow. I know what you mean, Dottie. It made me somewhat tense, too. I was also fascinated as most of them seemed to be doing quite well, overall. We stopped by Saturday late afternoon and visited with Jon at J.C. Lind Bike Co. Really a nice guy and obviously quite passionate about transportation bikes. He gave us the grand tour and made me wish for such a place in my neck of the woods; though we did discuss shipping bikes. :) Got back home this evening to the mid-50’s and the distant sound of thunder heralding a winter thunder storm. You never know what kind of weather we’ll get around here!

  17. Cyclinmissy says:

    When a co-worker and I used to live 30 miles from our office, we carpooled to work. We’d take turns driving to share the gas costs. It was great!

  18. Cyclinmissy says:

    When a co-worker and I used to live 30 miles from our office, we carpooled to work. We’d take turns driving to share the gas costs. It was great!

  19. Lauren says:

    I used to carpool back when I had a coworker who passed my house to get to the office… it was awesome and I miss it. I would totally carpool now but I don’t know anyone who works a schedule even remotely similar to mine that is also in the same starting/ending locations.

    Also, I know I’m probably going to get stoned for saying this – but I’m jealous of your snow! It’s so warm here and it’s driving me crazy! I just want to wear my coat for like a week. One week, that’s all I ask!

  20. Holly says:

    “(I wonder, is there a way to make my Brooks saddle heated? ’Cause that would be amazing!)”
    I wonder the same thing all the time.

    I drove around for my 10 mile dog walker job on Friday and it pretty much sucked. I don’t think I ever exceeded 7 mph in the car. I was delighted when my last client told me to skip them since it would have taken me an eternity to drive 3 miles. When I got home, I figured I’d watch the snow from the window and relax at home. But! It was Friday, so when someone asked me to join in on a snow ride, I thought, “Why not?!” And that was so much fun! Fortunately, the arterial street we used to get to the meeting spot had recently been plowed. Typical of Chicago, most of the side streets weren’t cleared which was a little daunting, but really fun nonetheless. I think riding in that would have been terrible for me had it not been for the camaraderie (and the beers.)

    • LGRAB says:

      What if you stuck one of those heating pad things (the ones activated when you open the packet) under the saddle? Maybe if you then stuck a wad of tin foil or a seat cover under it to press it against the bottom of the seat, the heat would radiate up? Probably wouldn’t last the whole ride, but you never know.

      You could also try microwaving one of those neck warmers and wedging it under your seat. That might work pretty well, actually. If it ever gets cold here in Nashville (not complaining!) I might try it.

      ~T

  21. Lauren says:

    I used to carpool back when I had a coworker who passed my house to get to the office… it was awesome and I miss it. I would totally carpool now but I don’t know anyone who works a schedule even remotely similar to mine that is also in the same starting/ending locations.

    Also, I know I’m probably going to get stoned for saying this – but I’m jealous of your snow! It’s so warm here and it’s driving me crazy! I just want to wear my coat for like a week. One week, that’s all I ask!

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