Post-Blizzard Bike Ride Details

Yesterday I posted pictures I took while playing in the blizzard and I mentioned my bike ride the day after the storm. Here is a detailed account of that ride and a look at the blizzard’s not-so-pretty aftermath.

After pulling Oma out of the garage and into the alley, I began doubting my decision to ride my bike one day after 20 inches of snow poured down on Chicago.

The condition of the first street I came upon did not increase my self-confidence.

However, I had a plan to take arterial streets that I usually avoid due to scary car traffic. I knew they would be plowed and a bit calmer than usual, and I was right.

Once I reached my destination, I just had to find a parking spot…

This bike called dibs way earlier. I’d say he earned it.

Luckily I found a bike rack that was not totally consumed by snow.

Once on foot, I realized that bicycling in the road was much easier than walking down un-shoveled sidewalks.

Well, except for streets like this one. The side streets still had a ridiculous amount of snow.

Want some?

Overall, the ride was a pretty low-key adventure. My intimate familiarity with the area, bicycling confidence and studded tires helped the situation. For sure, I was happy to return home at sunset, safe and sound and feeling a little bad ass.

Today I biked 10 miles roundtrip to work, plus a couple of miles during lunch, plus a few more miles tonight to see the Decemberists play a live show (so good!). The rides were more stressful and obstacle-course-like than usual, especially when some [censored] honked at me, but enjoyable nevertheless.

Now what’s that news story about a groundhog seeing his shadow?

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26 thoughts on “Post-Blizzard Bike Ride Details

  1. A very good day indeed.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Let's Go Ride a Bike, Barb Chamberlain. Barb Chamberlain said: By @letsgorideabike: Post-Blizzard Bike Ride Details […]

  3. Miss sarah says:

    Now picture no. 2 is more like it! Ah, so relieved I am not alone:) I agree that being on routes you know are also key, unless you’re not in any kind of rush.


  4. Maureen says:

    There’s something so interesting about pictures of bikes alongside the snow, isn’t there? Glad you are still managing to safely get around!

  5. Randy Olson says:

    If you could ride in the cold and snow, I knew that I could ride here when it was 30 degrees. Thanks for your encouragement for riding in all weather and conditions. Also for helping me find joy in the ride.

    I do not have to worry about snow drifts here – just sand drifts. The irrigation canals are great to ride on away from traffic. We have miles and miles of them here.

    Randy in Yuma, Az

  6. Carolyn I. says:

    Wow, when we got the snow like you did, it was the same thing, only the main roads were good enough to ride on, there was too much snow on the side streets and the sidewalks to do much biking there.

    Studs are definitely a good idea. I am a bit tight moneywise right now, so I don’t have any. I biked on frozen icy roads yesterday morning and I fell off my bike! Luckily, I seemed ok and I quickly pulled myself and the bike off the road before a car came…there was one down the road. I sure have a sore butt though!

  7. Sara says:

    Agree, not too terrible out there as long as you are on main streets. It’s hard not to curse under my breath all the cars that are parked in the bike lanes due to the piles of snow where they should be parked. However, if I have to take the lane the cars are being quite cooperative and I’m thankful for that.

    Glad you are getting around ok!

  8. Steve A says:

    SPEAKING of traffic, I hope you’ll note how heavy the traffic was in that second photo. When the snow takes over, bicycles will RULE!

  9. Thom says:

    I just think it’s so cool that you ride in the Chicago winter and laugh into its face.
    If R.Crumb drew a bicycle, it would look just like Oma. Maybe he has! Beautiful!

  10. Jason says:

    Hi Dottie, I was wondering about two things: one, is there a particular reason you have one of your Bibia rubber bungies looped over your rear fender? And two: how did you get the loop of that saddle cable onto the rails of your Brooks? Did you take apart the rails/springs and put a pre-built cable on, or did you loop a cable around it and then crimp the cable together on your own? Oma”s lookin’ tough as nails ;)

    Desert WorkCycles Oma Owner,
    Jason R.

  11. Patience says:

    Hi there! Wonderful photos!!! I am a new reader and I am looking to buy a WorkCycles bike but can’t find your version on their site….I think there is an adequate alternative, tho…it’s the only women’s bicycle I’ve found (besides the Betty Foy) that is made for a tall lady like me! I will be in Philly as of June and don’t know how to get one here…can you order thru your local bike shop? Thanks and happy reading!

  12. yay dottie! that is pretty badass, don’t know how you guys do it but major props. us cali kids are so spoiled with all this sunshine and warm weather.

  13. SinoSoul says:

    Having ridden in snowy Ann Arbor & live 3 years in Chicago, I, while loving your pictures, think this is such a bad BAD idea.

    While running IRC (non-studded) snow tires at UMich, once I was hit by a car that skidded on hard-packed ice, and another time hit a car after unable to stop. Granted, there were no fancy drum brakes on my $300 Mt.Shasta but still…

    There are no mentioning of the harrowing windchill in Chicago, just romantic reports (accompanying demagogic pictures of post snow “pretty” Chicago) of riding in 32 degrees feeling warmer than usual. No man, riding in freezing temps is icy, especially on the LSD bike path where the wind gusts. Even standing at the Roosevelt stop during the colder days, in long johns, wrapped by the proverbial fake North Face down jacket, under CTA’s pathetic heat lamps, makes one’s mind frigid.

    Beautiful thoughts here for sure, but… no thanks.

    – from LA

    • Dottie says:

      Ha, I admire your truthfulness. But you know what? You’re being a jerk about it and I’m not cool with that.

      “Romantic reports” and “demagogic pretty pictures?” Let me guess, too feminine? Perhaps this is not the blog for you. There are plenty others out there for your reading pleasure.

      If you had bothered to look beyond the fact that this is a blog written by women with pretty and romantic stuff, you would have seen that I write endlessly about safety and real-life road conditions. All of the DANGER topics you mentioned have been discussed here in depth.

      See also, describing how I biked in -4 F temperatures simply by being prepared here, deciding whether biking during an arctic air influx was safe here, putting on my studded tires here, explaining when I decide to take public transportation for safety reasons here, explaining why I use studded tires in the winter for safety here, discussing how sometimes drivers are illogically rude here, a whole detailed guide on how to bike in the winter here, walking instead of biking after a snow storm here, showing decidedly unromantic photos of snowy roads here, and taking public transportation when the wind chill is too extreme here.

      The point of this blog is to encourage people to ride bikes by providing tips to do so safely and showing that if one is properly prepared, bicycling is fun. You are welcome to start a blog to discuss how biking in the winter is stupid, but please don’t shit all over what we’re trying to accomplish here.

    • Thom says:

      ……………….um, I think you’re missing something here. Man-up, SinosSoul.

  14. Jason says:

    @sinosoul I think you’re a reactionist looking to criticize someone elses decision making. She mentioned her familiarity with the neighborhood, her use of low traffic arterial streets, her riding confidence, her bike with studded tires and she mentions the ride was low key. And she didn’t mention riding the LSD trail in freezing temperatures. You did. Despite your “whoa is me,”, your Mt Shasta’s V brakes (if prudent enough to keep them properly adjusted), are just as good as her fancy drum brakes. Down fill jackets made by North Face are just a good as any other manufacturer when you’re standing at a bus stop. Perhaps you’d be more comfortable in a NASA spacesuit with full hockey gear underneath? Good thing you moved to

  15. Sara says:

    Well said Dottie!

    SinoSoul – This blog was one of the first I happened on when I decided to become a more serious bicycle rider. What I found was endless amounts of useful information not only on looking pretty and having fun while biking, but also plenty of information on bicycle safety as well. As a female, I am very grateful for what Trisha and Dottie have provided. Please take your negative energy elsewhere!

  16. Dottie, don’t let the scare-babies keep you off the road(even if the road is hard to see under all that snow). Use caution, but don’t hibernate for the rest of the Winter. Experience is helpful in tough going, but how are you going to get experience if you don’t give it a try. Try going around the block. See how different it is to ride through ruts, and how corners are tricky. There is a lot to Winter biking, but there’s a lot of info about it.

    You’re doing everybody a favor bike detailing how you’re doing it. Now, it’s up to everybody else to figure out how they’re going to do it. Or they can just hunker down for a long Winter.

    Plus, I see that your default heavy-winter bike is the Dutchie. I like that!

  17. […] passing and anti-harassment laws; Wyoming rapidly follows suit. Riding in the aftermath of the great blizzard. The Manhattan DA bends himself into knots to find a reason to let the driver in a fatal dooring […]

  18. […] was less than a mile away, and the streets were in no condition for biking (for those of us without studded tires), so we laced up our boots and began the trek.  Unfortunately, the most direct route took us down […]

  19. Glenn says:

    Thank you. I enjoyed your Blog. It makes me appreciative of my vacation in southern California.

  20. Sinosoulneedstoshutup says:

    His whole point is to shit on other people and cultures. He really gets off on that.

  21. Bruce says:

    Agree with Spiderleggreen (I never thought I would ever type that!). So what are your tires, Nokinan W106? How are your hub powered lights, bright enough to see through frosty windshields? Do you add battery taillights?

    Wonderful photos and narration. You’re good with words, have you considered becoming a lawyer? :)
    I need a special saddle for my smart rear-end!

  22. … [Trackback]…

    […] Informations on that Topic: […]…

  23. […] second, third and fourth winters all seem like a blur now (except I distinctly remember bicycling the day after the great 2011 blizzard!), but it’s all documented in the LGRAB […]

  24. […] My studded tires getting me through a post-blizzard ride […]

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