February 16, 2009

Show 'em who's boss.

 Well, it's still NOT BAD, lemme tell ya - for a February.  But, it seems the heady days of upper-60's in February is over for a while.  Friday, I left work wondering how the ride home would pan out.  It was still warmish, mid-40's - not bad.  But the forecasters were really confused.  We floated from rain, to no-rain, to wintry mix, to dry, to rain again all within the course of the workday.  I've learned not to pay much attention.  
Temperatures, they've got nailed.  Springtime thunderstorms, they' got that down.  But winter here... yeesh, let's just say I wouldn't want their jobs this time of year.  

I pop into the restroom to change into my superhero outfit, and it's dry outside.  
After changing, I emerge...hmmm, darker outside.... 
I step out into sleet.  

BIG sleet.  

Holy.... oooo-kay.... I can deal with this, right? 
Reminds me of the March 2008 permanent... as I mount up in the safety of the parking garage and head east out of the complex... right into the wind-driven balls of frozen pain.  Ah.... memories.  
Stinging memories...

The onslaught continues for nearly two miles, and then things begin to clear again... 
Yikes, an isolated pocket of thunder-sleet!  After that, the commute home is un-eventful - wet roads and clearing skies.  Just another strange February day!

My observations from a couple posts ago still stand, unfortunately -- I wanted to chalk it up to being in a semi-poor mood, but honestly, even in the sleet with my two taillights on solid, and my Road ID Firefly blinking on the back of my Camelbak backpack, I felt pretty safe --- but still, the drivers (some of them) were just not sure what to do with me.  It makes me wonder if I had it right with the rack and pannier set-up - looking more like someone that's headed somewhere - as opposed to someone just out for a ride.  
A couple things I have noticed since shifting back to the backpack mode:  headwinds are not NEARLY a problem anymore.  With all of the portage behind my body, I get no more resistance than if I was riding unladen.  But, if that changes the way I appear to drivers on these ever-more-dangerous roads, is it worth it?  Granted, I'd have to fix my current panniers, or get new ones -- but that's not a deal breaker.  
Other problems arise when I realize the bike I have been commuting on lately doesn't have the eyelets necessary to install the rack the way I'd like it.  I hate clamps... braze-ons RULE.... but, again, not a deal breaker.  Oddly enough, the Camelbak solution isn't all that bad - it makes getting on and off the bus a lot easier, but that's not a deal breaker either, as I haven't ridden the bus that much this season.  
Further, having the pack on my back has not been a hassle, nor has it caused any discomfort.  So, it's a decision I'll have to make with a little more consideration.  I must admit, I like the way the bike handles FAR better without the rack and bags on there, though... and for my overall comfort and enjoyment, that can be a deal breaker.  My commute is just long enough for me to think that way. 
We'll see.   The nice thing is --- options are GOOD.  I like to play around, so I may do JUST that.  

Another good week on the bike coming up, in what is shaping up to be my most productive February on the bike in years!  And, on Monday the 23rd, the beginning of the second R-12 run... It's gonna be a good year! 

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