Slush Fund

Spring will get here eventually, complete with bike tours and seasonal allergies and all the rest of it, but in the meantime we’ve got lots of winter still to get through, and this weekend delivered a big chunk of it:

I’ve got nothing to prove at this stage in my life, so ordinarily I’d be happy to watch the snow fall from my newly-installed living room hot tub:

However, I’ve had restless legs recently owing to reduced riding time, so like a schmuck I ventured out mid-storm on Saturday, and was amazed to find the bike lanes had been receiving regular plow attention:

Other paths and thoroughfares were hit and miss, and I kept airing down in an attempt to maintain traction:

I’m not sure where I wound up, but I imagine I was well into the single digits.

The best roads were the ones that had been plowed but spared heavy motor vehicle traffic and salt application:

They couldn’t have groomed them more perfectly for fattish bikes like mine if they tried.

Alas, in a busy city the idyll cannot last, and it’s never long before all that pristine snow is rendered a diarrhea-like sludge–not that it keeps people off their bikes. For example, I was at the neighborhood sledding spot later that day when someone rolled up on a Citi Bike, which they promptly dropped like a wad of used toilet tissue:

I can only assume it’s now sitting under a pile of plowed snow, where it will remain until April.

Cold temperatures also meant the snow wasn’t going anywhere soon, and so yesterday I headed out in search of diarrhea-free pastures. Rideable trails were scarce:

As were park paths that hadn’t received the full margarita glass treatment:

Salt is the new gravel, or something:

And while the Putnam trail was perfect:

It was useless as soon as you hit the city line, unless you happened to be on skis:

All of this is now unified as the Empire State Trail, which goes all the way to Canada or something, but I guess whether or not it’s cleared or not depends on the whims of whichever municipality it happens to be passing through at a given moment, so for now this 750-mile trail is only usable for about a mile and a half.

Speaking of infrastructure quirks, here’s an Amazon truck stuck under the elevated subway tracks:

This sort of thing happens constantly around here, and this is what happens to bus service when it does:

I’ve long said they should ban private motor vehicle traffic beneath elevated train lines, but nobody listens to me.

Anyway, until the next rain/freeze cycle renders the trails passable again I’m relegated to the messy streets, and with my fender bike still awaiting new wheels I’m in Midlife Crisis mode:

I’m even using toe clips and straps, since I’ve been taking a break from clipless:

Fixed-gears do make good winter city bikes in that there are fewer parts for the salty slush to devour, and you don’t have to rely too much on brakes, which grind everything into oblivion this time of year. (Yeah, yeah, disc brakes, whatever.) In these times of generous frame clearance, wide gearing options, and every tread pattern you could possibly imagine, there’s a perverse pleasure on tip-toeing your way around the city on a bike with skinny tires and little margin for ever. Or maybe I’m just a contrarian.

Or maybe both.

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