Music to be sung to the tune of “Hark the herald Angels sing.”

Late be the snow but its arrival
makes me ask “Oh where’s the shovel?”
Get hat on, scarf and beglove
to face what just skiers love
and it’s displace frozen flake
braving mass angina ache.
With the neighbours I implore
“How can I plow back to the door?”
From our brows, sweat we’ll wring
and lo our backs are breaking!

When the snow surpassed our boots
then we’d achieved our olde roots.
My huffing and then my puffing
I fight my way half crying
back up steps. No, it is locked!
Seconds slumping I then banged
till my child with mercy mild
does ope wild: we’re reconciled.
From my over things I strip
with cocoa to sooth and sip.
From our brows, sweat we’ll wring
and lo our backs are breaking!

I laugh and grab my pent breath
so alive though near death
out in the elements, mark
my words my offspring, oh hark!
“There’s no shame to honest work.
Nothing gained if it you shirk.
Look outside now and see how!”
He does and scrunched goes his brow.
I stumble up and back in
my gear I must get a-shovl’in.
From our brows, sweat we’ll wring
and lo our backs are breaking!


Winter biking

I have golbed before about biking in winter and just biking but I thought I’d pass on some advice to others thinking about it.
There’s a certain type of snow that is not slush but is drier and cakes up. Some drivers call it ‘greasy’ conditions. It shifts as you bike through and is among the most treacherous of hazards for a winter cyclist. Your tire pushes it aside but doesn’t really gain any grip in it. Any imperfection or ice below the surface will make your progress unpredictable. The trick is an easy hand on the handlebars. Too tense and you react too woodenly to the bumps and shifts in your balance. Therein lies the danger. You have to be loose and as soft as the snow. It is hard to do this in practice, though. You really have to enter a zen state and not allow your adrenalin to dictate your grip.
As the winter invariably leads to shorter days, it becomes increasingly important to ensure that you have flashing lights front and back. I like to keep the lights off my bike and on me. This is so drivers are made aware of the more important bit not to hit.
The other key, where it is often impossible to avoid the cars using trails, is to stay a little out from the rightmost part of your lane (if you drive on the right, that is.) Car and truck drivers tend to have tunnel vision in the winter. They usually aren’t expecting bikers and so you have to drive a little more in ‘their’ territory when the bike lanes don’t exist or are buried in snow. This keeps you visible and allows a little leeway when the snow outflow from driveways or intersections crowds you either way.
There are drivers who ignorantly will honk their frustration or drive too close to winter cyclists but these are, in my experience, becoming less frequent. It is hard to say whether this is an improvement in my own, humble driving skills or if drivers are becoming better at sharing the road. I hope both.
There may, too, be a guilty admiration for those who choose to fight global warming. I like to think that. It makes me sit taller in my saddle.

Shifting Snow

Earlier this week my new (to me) bike from the fall died. The flywheel on the back wheel is spinning away happily and independently in the clockwise direction (it’s not supposed to). I’m thinking that something is frozen in there: the day before was very wet and the following was extremely cold. I pulled out my spare bike and the chain was rusted in a nice crusty solid oval.  So I was stuck and late for work but, almost incredibly, I received a call out of the blue from a coworker’s husband telling me he wanted to sell me his nice Diamondback bike. So a little later I’m riding into work and am only 2 hours late when I get in. Fastest turn around time for getting new wheels!
But today the snow started falling and it still is. It was quite a work out getting into the office and then we closed early. Oh man… what a ride home, the snow shifted under the tires at almost every pedal. I pointed out a tiny spot on my shirt, to my wife after removing my coat, which was unique in that it was dry.