Tales from the Commute

SnowSnow Ride

One day in November last year it was predicted to snow during the day so I drove into work (mistake number 1). I left early but still stayed as late as I could (mistake number 2) and due to the hill at work and the backup of traffic I headed toward the I-405 (mistake 3) as opposed to my usual back route  home. Sitting at a light for multiple sequences I abandoned my place toward the freeway and took a harrow and very slow route up the valley walls and down a steep, icy road (mistake 4). All in all it took  me about Three and Half hours to do the fuve miles from work to home. I vowed that the next time I’d ride in as I could walk home faster then that if I deemed it unsafe.

This brings us to January tenth of this year which again was predicted to snow heavily in the afternoon. Recalling my vow I rode in as usual and the morning ride was uneventful, cloudy,  cold, a normal January day. At work I was thinking the weather people had struck out yet again when after lunch the white stuff began falling and falling hard. It was sticking almost right off and by the time I even noticed the snow it had built up a little accumulation. I kept working, with the occasional checks on the weather which kept coming down and hard. The call went out at work to go home and go now. I wasn’t worried, I was going to be cycling/walking. But I did want to get out while there was some light so a bit before five I headed out.

walked my Atlantis down the steep hill behind the office to the road below which was backed up to the light and the shoulders full of abandoned cars. Coming to the intersection of 124th and Willows there was backups in both directions and an accident in the intersection.  The shoulders were buried in snow and cars were freely driving, sliding and parking on them. I didn’t consider these safe for walking much less sliding around on the bicycle. So I walked up the train tracks on the side.

The tracks were pretty well covered with snow and at least this section of this line doesn’t have huge gaps between the ties. So a pretty easy walk all things considered. 124th is just to the right beyond some trees and was well back up and dangerous. A slippery parking lot where the drivers are always going to pull onto the shoulder instead of hitting the car ahead. A bit less then a mile up the tracks they cross 116th which I turn onto and finally mount the bicycle. Its got a good couple inches of snow but my 378mm Panaracers handle this with ease. I once again am vindicated in my instance on using pedals that are flat on one side and SPDs on the other as I do my entire ride home unclipped. I slowly make my way up to where the street crossing the Sammamish River Trail and turn onto the trail.

Getting to the trail was the only risky part of this trip in my mind and walking up the tracks and taking the much underused 116th really paid off. The trail was mostly empty with only the occasional pedestria and a couple of other cyclists. One of these was walking his bicycle and the other motored past me at a damn high clip considering the conditions. The trail was pretty well coated with just a few bicycle tracks and footprints in it. As I approached Woodinville the snow got much deeper, over three inches and cycling became even more of a chore. I exited the trail at Woodin Creek park and walked over to my apartment, my snow adventure coming to a close.

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