Monday, January 23, 2006

Sweet Surrender, What a Night

Date: January 23
Mileage: 11
Ride type: Commute
January mileage: 153
Year to date mileage: 153

Wow, what a strange commute. It started this morning when I had to drop a friend's car off at Ft. Snelling. She was in Vegas for the weekend, and was planning to take the LRT from the airport to Ft Snelling since neither Nancy or I could pick her up in the middle of the day. So this morning I put my bike in her trunk and drove to Ft. Snelling. I took the bike out and boarded the train.

Then this afternoon, I ran out of time to ride over from Minneapolis to St Paul so I took the bus. Not only did I run out of time, but I still can't figure out a good way to commute by bike from one downtown to the other. I can get as far as Ramsey St, but once Ramsey becomes the Ramsey Hill there's no good way that I know to get to downtown. So I rode the 94 to downtown St Paul with my bike on the front rack and then pedaled to Metro. I was getting a little nervous, because my freewheel was acting up. Whenever I would stop pedaling it wouldn't "freewheel" and the chain would go slack and try to bunch up. So whenever I had to stop at a stoplight I could take my feet off the pedals and they would rotate nearly a full turn to equalize out.

After class I rode back to downtown St Paul and headed toward Kellogg Park. I swung by the Pioneer Press and saw one lone dude keeping the vigil, waiting for tonight's clue. I cruised through Harriet on the lovely cleared path and then switched to Water Street when the path became not so lovely and cleared. Water Street treated me well, I saw a total of one car, and it was headed toward me. When I reached the yacht club I turned onto the Big Rivers Regional Trail. A trail which, for the first 100 yards or so is nicely plowed. But then, not so much. So I ended up riding the next 1.5 miles in this:

In a word, it sucked. It's not that nice soft, cut through like a knife snow. It's that hard, hasn't been plowed all winter, people have been walking all over it, bumpy as hell snow. You can see the nice 3-4 inch deep rut that I got to ride in. That was a chore. One good thing about it, all that jostling seems to have knocked my freewheel free again. I applied some Finish Line lube liberally to the freewheel and surrounding areas when I got home, made myself a couple of chicken and bean burritos (not-microwave) and had a Newcastle. Now, it's time for bed.


Nancy said...

You know, you could have called for a ride after class...

Sparky said...

Now, what fun would calling for a ride have been, eh?

Nice work, dude. You boys save one of those beers for me,eh!

Sascha said...

wait, wait! I know the answer to this one! To get downtown St. Paul, DO NOT go down Ramsey Hill in Traffic. I hate that myself.

You can go down the street 1 block east of Dale for a long, gradual downhill which puts you right after the highway on ramp on Ramsey.

Or you can go through the 4 way stop at the hill, veer left and go right on the first street which is Irving. That will switchback down the hill and put you out right at the bottom.

Or you can continue down Summit and end up at the capital and then hie yourself downtown from there.

Glibbidy said...

Huh, the snow in your pic looks exactly the shmenk I was riding thru on Sunday myself. If you aren't riding studded snow tires, I would recommend fabricating some. It's relatively inexpensive, and tends the eliminate some of the sketchiness that comes with riding across the frozen wasteland in the winter time.

Pete said...

I'm pretty sure that the studded tires are the only reason I made it through as easily as I did.