Biking The Day After the Snowpocalypse

Snow-covered homes in Chicago

Well if you read my post from Tuesday this week, you’ll know that while I had intended to ride to the office for a 1/2 day of work before the blizzard kicked up in the afternoon,  I wimped out.   I cannot claim to be as tough as this cyclist spotted by Mr. Ding while he was waiting for a bus early Tuesday evening as the blizzard kicked up its heels.

Blizzard Cyclist in Chicago

Blizzard Cyclist in Chicago

Yesterday (Wednesday)  I worked for the most part. When your job normally splits between office and home office,  snow days don’t have a lot of meaning.  I stayed off the streets though, and let the snow plows do their work.  Mr Ding walked to work – no snow day for him either.  In the morning, as the storm was winding down, the residential streets looked like this.

Chicago residential street Wednesday morning

Today, this same street looked very different.

Chicago residential street Thursday afternoon

With all the sunshine and some glimpses of pavement,  I knew it was time for Oma and I to head out of the house. I didn’t have too far to ride, and there was still not a ton of traffic since Chicago public schools had another snow day. So, I thought I’d be able to manage any lack of road and ‘take the lane’ on any main street narrowed by all the snow if needed. Which I did.

Some side streets were still snow-packed. Since it was colder today than on Tuesday morning when I slide around, and packed more deeply with snow, the snow-riding didn’t seem so bad this time.  Granted I stayed on very low-traffic streets like this one where I could slip and slide down the middle of the street. I will say that it’s very true that these studded tires keep you steadier on ice and totally slow down any and all movement in snow. Sure I was fishtailing like crazy, but it was in such slow motion that I had plenty of time to recover or just put my foot down.

snowy side street

If I didn’t want to do the Dutch bike version of 4-wheelin’ I also had the opportunity to do some single-track riding Omafiets style.

Single Track - Omafiets style

Where was I riding on this snowy day? Well,  I had a hair appointment in Wicker Park – at Fringe. Hey – if my hair stylist was going to make it into work, who was I to cancel an appointment? The owner of the salon even let me bring Oma inside, which was a good thing since any available bike parking was buried under the mounds of snow on the sidewalk. They are a very bike-friendly salon.

Oma hangs out with the owner of Fringe Salon

Oma hangs out with the owner of Fringe Salon

A lone cross-walk in Wicker Park

A cross-walk along Milwaukee Avenue in Wicker Park.  It looked this way up and down the street, with signs, bike racks and newspaper machines buried under the snow.

As I rode around Wicker Park, I saw the sad fate of bikes that had been left behind to become buried in the snow.

snow bikes

But, as you can see in the snow bike picture above, and this one below, there was actually a two-block stretch of Damen Avenue that had a clear bike lane!! I was pleasantly surprised.

Clear bike lane on Damen Avenue

Most main streets with bike lanes were cleared just enough for one car in each direction.  In this picture of Augusta Boulevard below, the big piles of snow to the left of these cars is where the bike lane would be.  Needless to say I took the lane as I rode down Augusta.

Bike lane on Augusta Boulevard

I wasn’t out riding during rush hour, and I didn’t fight miles of cars AND deep snow at the same time, but I did get out and ride a little.  I know there were more than a few folks riding home Tuesday night as the blizzard raged, and riding again on Wednesday,  sharing the streets with the cross-country skiers. Was that you?

Oma in the snow

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