The morning temperatures this week have varied from 0 degrees to 10 degrees, plus some snow has been falling. For a good idea of how bitterly cold Chicago is, check out this photo below of a warehouse fire in the city.
Photo by Jose M. Osorio
Yeah, that’s cold!
I spent part of the week riding public transportation and part of the week bicycling. Although I have biked in sub-zero weather before, the convenience of the L train lures me to the easy option when I’m feeling lazy. Which is often. A couple friends have been bicycling on days I took the L, so I give my hardcore title up to them. :-)
These photos are in an alley. The streets are much clearer, so biking in snow and ice has not really been an issue.
When I ride my bike on super cold days, there are some key pieces I rely on, as I’ve mentioned before.
Wool leggings over my tights to allow me to wear skirts and dresses.
After mentioning that I have not put my studded tires on Oma yet, I missed them this weekend. Some mild precipitation on Friday night caused patches of black ice to form all around the city.
I had to walk Oma over black ice several times while getting around on Saturday – biking to Logan Square to try on vintage outfits from Holly’s Lucite Box for the upcoming Bike Winter Fashion Show (found a gorgeous blue velvet dress), back to Lakeview for Heritage Bicycles’ grand opening party (crowded!), and to Wicker Park with a bikey group to see circus-punk marching band Mucca Pazza (pure fun). On Sunday, I decided simply to take the L to the Loop to see Mamet’s Race at Goodman Theatre (excellent).
Not simply a wet road, but a sheet of thin black ice
Based on this experience, I decided to put the studded tires on Oma, but today’s forecasted high of 44 F has me delaying the studs again. But I’m extra cautious while biking, especially at night.
I’ll leave you with a Mucca Pazza song to brighten your Monday morning.
My new bike is perfectly lovely so far! Yesterday I took her to work and back and also for a lunchtime joy ride. I’ll write more about those rides later. For now I’m still mulling over her name. I briefly considered Chanel based on her rich and sophisticated look, but that would be a bit silly.
Maybe she is more of a crunchy granola hippie type, with her fun and rustic Fat Frank tires. What name would that be: Hope? Sunshine?
No, that’s really not her personality. She’s sweet and sophisticated. I think she may be a Chantilly.
Chantilly is my top choice, but I’m not ready to make anything official. I know there are quite a few Rustine fans, but that makes me think of my mom’s big, butch dog, Rusty.
Whatever her name, she certainly gets looks and compliments from all around, including from two midwestern tourists asking directions to H&M, two fur-coated women laden with shopping bags as they left the Chanel boutique (“and look at that bell!”), and a guy in lycra on a nice steel road bike, who said his wife would love it.
Sadly, Chantilly (?) will be staying home today. Snow is falling with several inches expected and the roads look treacherous. I could take Oma with her winter tires, but after a very stressful ride home in the falling snow on Friday, which included being buzzed, nearly right-hooked, honked at, and a car sliding next to me, I’m reminded why I hate riding in the the falling snow. Sure, fresh snowflakes are pretty, but the logistics of riding in the city don’t work out for me. So I am off for the L train. Once the snow stops and the plows have time to clear the roads, I’ll be back out there.
Update 1/13 – Coco it is! Thanks for the suggestion, neighbortease. I may hang on to Chantilly and say she’s Coco for short. I’ll have to wait and see what comes naturally.
Biking news out of Nashville is going to be slow for the next day or two, due to Snowpocalypse 2010. Friday morning, snow started falling and continued for the rest of the day, ending with an accumulation of (gasp!) about four inches (I can hear Dot laughing all the way from Chicago).
My office was closed on Friday, as were all the schools, and many businesses were shut over the weekend.
Before you hardier New England and Midwestern souls start laughing too loudly, I should explain that this sort of weather strikes us, oh, only every 10 years or so, so the city has no proper snow plows. This means that streets stay icy/slushy/snowy for days following a snowfall–especially side streets, which are what I take to work. And of course, none of my bikes are set up to cope with this amount of slush, snow or ice.
It’s supposed to be sunny tomorrow, with a high of 4o, so fingers crossed some of this snow will be melted away and I can be back on two wheels come Tuesday or Wednesday! I’ve missed my bikes.
My car stayed at home this weekend too
Luckily, my neighborhood is walkable. I spent most of the weekend tromping around, trying out the new Thai restaurant that’s just blocks away and having a beer at my local pub — at least, when I wasn’t at home drinking hot chocolate, working on a long-neglected craft project or two, or catching up on “Gossip Girl.”
Anyone else dealing with unexpected wintry weather?
On Friday, after riding city streets all week, the beauty and safety of the Lakefront Trail won me over. Light snow fluttered in the morning, but changed to freezing rain by the evening. Again the temperature was 30-something and my new thrifted wool cardigan kept me warm enough.