Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Ice Man Rideth!

OK... before I start just wanted to pass along some good news. Just got a call from my vet and Jasper's dental surgery went just fine. I get to go pick him up in a little bit. Yay and Phew!

The vet had to extract 3 teeth, one of which was so bad that it was actually loose and probably causing significant pain. My poor little JassyBoy! Well, hopefully we can look forward to some calm in the land of kitties now.

So, back to the story at hand.

It's been nearly a month since I've been able to ride my bike. Our big blizzard was 3 weeks ago and while the main streets are long since clear, the side streets and bike paths are another story altogether.

I went for a walk yesterday and many of the side streets still look like this:

Oy! I actually went for a little reconnaissance drive this morning to warm up the car before taking Jasper to the vet, and... well... I think it's gonna be a while. I couldn't find a clear route to even get to the bike path, plus it doesn't look like it's been plowed, so there's snow and ice covering it in the shady spots.

Oh well, I guess this just means that I'll have to spend more time doing yoga!

CatMan, on the other hand, was going absolutely stir crazy. Because of his neurological issues, bike riding is one of the few forms of exercise that he can enjoy, and he was suffering from cabin fever big time!

So he dropped $250 and bought himself a set of these:

Yup, those are studded snow tires. He says they're absolutely amazing and he's able to ride through snow and rutted ice with no problems. He even rode up a hill totally covered with glare ice while people on foot couldn't even get up it!

I've gotta admit, I'm tempted. But here's the thing....

It's COLD out there!

OK, well, today we're actually having a heat wave and it's nearly 50 degrees outside, but still... when there's snow and ice covering the ground all around you it gets pretty darned chilly no matter what the air temperature is. Throw in the wind factor (riding 20mph has the same wind chill as if the wind was blowing 20mph) and Brrrrr!

So I'm thinkin' it's gonna be a while before I'm puttin' any miles on my bike again.

But I did do my annual odometer reset, and considering the flooding this spring, I'm pretty satisfied with these numbers.

Yup, that's over 2500 miles on the bike and less than 650 in the car - and no, that trip meter didn't go around multiple times, I really only drove about 50 miles a month. Woo Hoo!

I'm just hoping that some of the snow and ice will melt over the next day or two, because the snow is scheduled to return later this week. Sigh.

I suppose in the meantime I'll just have to content myself with vicariously experiencing the IceMan's - er, I mean CatMan's rides!

Did I mention I got him an iPhone for his birthday last month?

Well, he's been wanting one for a loooong time, and I'm afraid I may have created a monster. He's installed a tracking app so I can actually watch his bike rides and seethe with jealousy in real time.

But the worst is that he now thinks he wants to start texting! OMG, what have I done?!?!?

Well anyhow, I'm off to go pick up my sweet Jasper Pea... Happy Happy Happy!!!!

So tell me, are the roads bike-able in your neck of the woods?


  1. We haven't had snow, but we've had a lot of rain, so some of the off road paths are pretty muddy.

    So happy about Jasper. Even though you know that everything will be fine, there's always a sigh of relief when you get the call that all is well. In a few days, Jasper will feel so good, you won't know what to do with him.

    1. I've gotta say, it felt like an anvil had been removed from above my head once I got the call that Jasper was OK. He's gobbling down his second mini-dinner as we speak. I think missing meals was the worst part for him!

      Anyhow, I'm not sure if snow or mud and rain would be worse. It does at least feel like winter here! :-)

  2. Yey for Jasper! Hope he is enjoying being home.

    We have still barely had a frost, let alone snow. It has rained a lot though, so most of the north of England and Scotland is underwater (maybe a little exaggeration but not much..)
    However here in dry, dry East Anglia there are plenty of places you can ride your bike- lots of the forest trails are on sandy soil so drain really well.

    Only problem will be when the sea levels rise and we are under the North Sea...sigh..

    1. I have heard about the rains up north of you, and I've gotta say I think I prefer snow over flooding! I actually had to go look up East Anglia on a map to see where it was - I am shocking ignorant of British geography.

      Anyhow, I hope you get some winter soon... I'd gladly send you some cold if I could. It's supposed to be in the low 40's again tomorrow (around 5-6C) but then more snow and we won't see temperatures above freezing for another week.

      It is better than being under water though. I'll have to keep reminding myself of that fact! :-)

    2. Don't worry about your lack of knowledge of the geography here- I often have to look up where things in the US are if they are mentioned on TV (I often have a vague idea- 'I think that is South-ish'- but sometimes I am totally confused!)

      It has got colder her recently- so it is feeling a bit more like winter. I think our seasons are just coming later each year. Crocuses and daffodils are starting to come up and flower!

    3. Well... at least I've finally figured out where England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales are... still not sure if they're all separate countries or not. Is Great Britain a country or a region?

      Well anyhoo... glad you're getting a little taste of winter, but those poor flowers. They're in for a shock if real winter ever does appear!

    4. So...it's quite complicated (so much so that I checked Wikipedia to double check I was getting it vague right...)

      Apparently, Great Britain is actually the name for the island that is made up of England, Wales and Scotland.

      The United Kingdom is made up of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (but not the Republic of Ireland, which makes up the largest part of the island of Ireland, which is an entirely separate country and uses the Euro, rather than the pound). Clear?! (Hah!!)

      Scotland and Wales used to be separate kingdoms, but were either captured by England or ended up with the same monarch through marriage/Royal interbreeding.

      Northern Ireland/Ireland have a long and bloody history with the UK, which would take way too long to explain...

      So, basically the United Kingdom is technically the country, made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, ruled from Westminster (in London) by the two Houses of Parliament and with the Queen as the Head of State.
      However, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all have their own Parliaments too (though Wales and NI call them Assemblies) which have certain powers to make decisions about particular areas of life- they all have different powers, but things like healthcare (Scotland has no prescription charge whereas in England and Wales you pay about £7 for each prescribed medicine).

      Scotland very nearly voted for independence from the UK last year, and would therefore have become a separate country. I suppose at the moment they are sort of like states in the US (but maybe not as I don't know loads about how states work!)

      Anyway, the main point is probably that I have lived here all my life and I don't fully understand it without thinking quite hard (and checking the Internet!) so I'm not surprised you are confused!!

    5. Holy Moly! No wonder I was confused. Well thanks for that little primer. So Great Britain is an island, UK is a country, and Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are sort of like states or provinces... Maybe they are to the UK like Puerto Rico and Guam are to the US? (Not that I really understand that relationship either - they're part of the US but they're not states, they're separate entities under US jurisdictions?)

      Well anyhow... thanks for the info. :-)

    6. Yes, we have states (like California) and a few territories (like Puerto Rico and Guam). The territories have fewer rights, and plenty of Americans don't even know they are part of the US.

      No one is allowed to become a separate country. This was decided during the Civil War, though some Texans feel they should be allowed to (because once Texas gained independence from Mexico, it was it's own Republic for a few years, though the plan was always to join the US).

    7. Sort of like states or provinces but a lot of people in them think of themselves as part of a separate country...

      Sorry my ramble was so long..I tried to write briefly but failed!!

      Now I need to Google Puerto Rico and Guam...

    8. From what Debbie says, states are a better comparison than territories. Although there is nothing stopping independence in the case of the U.K.!

    9. OK... "territories" I knew there had to be a word for what Guam and Puerto Rico are!

      And in terms of Texas becoming its own country, the sarcastic jerk in me says: "Yes! Go! Take all the right-wing wackos, send them down to Texas and then they can go form Crazyville and leave the rest of us alone!" Just joking of course, because that would totally suck for the normal people (like Debbie - and I'm sure like most Texans) who are already living there. :-)

      And Nicola, there's no need to apologize for rambling. Brevity is, ahem, not exactly my strong suit either, and I actually think it's highly overrated! In other words I thoroughly enjoyed the ramble and the ensuing conversation! :-)

  3. Very little snow here in upstate NY and until a few days ago, it hadn't dropped below freezing. But for the past two days the highs have been around 15! I don't bike when it's 40 or under because my lungs have a problem with it. Plus my extremities go numb. And they never, ever will plow a bike path here.

    I've done a similar calculation for how many miles I drove, rode a bike and a bus to work this year. Biking was 700-something, driving was 1,700, bus was 2,700.

    1. Hmmm... it seems unnatural somehow that upstate NY should be lacking for snow, but it does sound like winter temps have finally reached you. Oh the joy!

      Anyhow, your numbers are quite impressive especially for someone who (I assume) works somewhere other than at home. My 2500 miles of biking become a lot less impressive when you realize that it's all recreational riding, not transportation!

  4. Fewer teeth for Jasper. More teeth for Catman's bike. The world is in balance. :-)

    Our roads are clear and it's not THAT cold, but I still don't want to ride. And there are a lot more miles on my car than on yours, and not just from visiting my parents two hundred miles away last week. Most of them are from my boyfriend going to far-away jobs (my car has better mileage and probably pollutes less than his) and going grocery shopping like he likes all over town almost daily. I also drive to suburban parties once or twice a month.

    I have gotten to walk more this year, though. When I'm by myself, I now always walk to the local grocery store, thrift store, Target, community college, and library. Also once to the farther away credit union.

    Don't worry about biking jealousy. Catman sounds like he needs the biking more than you do, and just look at all those miles during which you get to be warm. Good luck with your yoga!

    1. Ha! I love the teeth equation, hadn't thought of it that way! I really enjoy being close enough to walk to the grocery store - especially in weather like this when I feel so cooped up otherwise. I went yesterday just for popcorn and toothpaste, neither of which I REALLY needed - it was pretty much just an excuse for a walk.

      And I think if I had more of a life I'd probably drive more! We'll have to see what the upcoming year will bring. I'm hoping that not having to provide hospice care for any kitties will free up my social calendar a bit! :-)

    2. I rarely feel cooped up, so I see your problem. Good shoes really help with walking in the snow. My undergrad was on a hillside and my freshman year I had only worn-out sneakers. The next year when I had shoes with traction, it was much nicer!

    3. Ah yes... traction is a must for snow, though I've yet to find shoes that will prevent slipping on ice. Perhaps I should get some crampons, or maybe just studded shoes of some sort! :-)

    4. Hmm, aren't there golf shoes with pointy things?

      Ice is tough. I generally try to act more like I'm on skates than shoes, but fortunately I rarely have to deal with ice.

    5. Hmmm... I dunno. I know absolutely nothing about golf. But it wouldn't surprise me if there were shoes with some sort of metal cleat on them. Actually, I think my best bet is to just aim to do my walking on days when there is either snowpack or dry pavement to walk on! :-)

  5. Glad about your happy cat-world.

    Around here, "fat" bikes are the big thing--apparently you can ride them in snow????

    But regular biking ... nope, I'm several months out from doing that. My bike is now living in our basement. We've had sleet, freezing rain, and snow, so it's mostly icy outside. I like to hike and snowshoe, but at our local state park, it's hazardous to do that right now. The park has lots of sand dunes--I've attempted it before in these kinds of conditions and have been thankful to walk away unscathed due to the crazy icy hills. I understand CatMan's cabin fever--so far this winter, I'm doing ok, but every winter I get a case of it, myself.

    1. Fat bikes... I do see them around here. Actually you can hear them coming for about 100 feet on the bike path because the tires create such enormous rolling resistance. I've never ridden one but I do think they are supposed to perform well in snow. I'm not sure about ice though - somehow I think I'd want those metal studs before I'd be willing to venture out on that slippery stuff!

      I'd bet that cabin fever must be much worse up in your neck of the woods. We're soooo spoiled here in CO - 3-4 days without any beautiful weather and we're all ready to file a complaint! :-)

  6. My husband just got his road bike back after having it at the bike shop for 4 months. He had an accident when a dog bit him and we had to go through the dog owners' insurance to get medical bills and bike repairs covered. The bike repairs alone were over $1000!

    So, he got his bike back just in time for it to start getting cold here in the Southeastern U.S. and irritate his lungs. Poor guy. He's been riding his hybrid some but prefers his lighter road bike for our hilly roads.

    1. Yikes! A dog bit him on his bike? That sounds a little bit scary.

      And having spent several years trying to navigate our hills on my old heavy hybrid, I can say I totally agree with your husband on that one. A light road bike is infinitely easier! :-)

  7. Yay, so happy to hear that Jasper is doing well! It only recently started getting cold here (I think the temperature was nearly 60 for Christmas) and I'm grateful. I aim for at least one walk a day with the baby and taking her out when it's 5 degrees makes me nervous! But at least that snowsuit we bought for 25 cents is getting some use, ha!

    1. I think temperatures that cold would make me have a hard time breathing, can't imagine an infant trying it.

      Of course around here it's sort of a pick your poison thing with the winter air. The cold air will take your breath away, but often when it's warm in the winter here we get a temperature inversion (warm air trapped under cold) which means that the pollution builds up to horrible levels.

      There have been air quality alerts for the past 3-4 days, and I can actually smell the smog, so I'm sorta looking forward to the upcoming storm to clear it all out of here!

  8. Poor Jasper. I am glad he is OK. I would love to send him some of my homemade catnip toys, my email is pilch92@aol.com if you want to let me know where to send them.

    1. Awww that's so sweet of you, but to tell the truth, he & Smoky just got a big box of toys for Christmas. Perhaps you could donate some to a local shelter in his name.

  9. What great news for Jasper and amazing on the odometers of the car and bike! I always wondered how you could ride in the winter, it gets cold. I know a body warms up with exercise but not enough for me to enjoy an outdoor activity in the winter.

    My brother was into bikes and was almost 30 before he broke down and bought his first car. Anyway, he found a stand for his bike that turned it into a stationery bike, you probably already know about that though. Sorry that's the best I can come up with to get you back on your bike.

    Nope no snow here yet. Actually my youngest son lives about 30 minutes southeast of me and had snow the other day only to show up and complain because I didn't have any. Of course northwest Pa has their share of snow, enough to build snowmen and ride snowmobiles. Come on over. :-)

    Oh and the monster you created, my daughter-in-law created one at Christmas too. My son kept saying he wanted a smart watch so she got him one. She has a tradition where each person gets to open one small gift on Christmas eve, and she couldn't wait so she gave hubby his watch. So that night while the kids are sleeping the three of us are assembling gifts and my son would all of a sudden say something that made no sense to either of us. We'd ask him what he was talking about only to find out he was texting a friend. So a little time goes by and again he says something off the wall, we look at him and he rolls his eyes and informs us he's texting. This goes on for a while and finally he tells us if he's talking to his wrist he's not talking to us. Yes, so a smart watch is just like a phone in that you can text but to text you talk to your wrist. Strangest thing ever and his wife is regretting giving him the watch.

    1. Oh my! Well hopefully CatMan won't go overboard with the whole iPhone thing, but I dunno. He was grabbing for it in the middle of the movie last night to show me something on Google Earth. Sigh.

      Anyhow, I know it's winter and it's supposed to be cold but brrr... I'm growing weary of this! A few years ago I bought CatMan one of those indoor trainer stands for his bike and he likes it but says it's dead boring riding inside. I actually have both a Nordic Trak and an exercise bike, but I'm not really a fan of indoor workouts. I think I'd rather go for a walk in the snow! :-)

    2. I kind of figured you wouldn't enjoy the indoor biking but thought I'd mention it. I hate working out myself which is why I did so much hiking when I could. That was my main form of exercise followed by yoga for flexibility.

      Not to make you feel bad but today I went outdoors, barefooted, to enjoy a cup of tea in 53 degree weather. If that made you feel bad, just know Monday we are back to real winter although I'm not sure I'll get snow for a while yet.

      I can see you are going to have to get used to that iPhone one way or the other. Maybe you could some how hide it during movie nights?

    3. I saw on your blog that you were outside... jealous! The sun is shining today, but I think it's still in the 30's. Maybe a walk, though I'm sure CatMan will be out enjoying his tires (and freezing his arse off!)

      And in terms of the iPhone - I think I just have to train myself not to ask questions if I don't want a thoroughly internet researched answer. The other night's little adventure was prompted my be asking "where the heck is Iowa anyhow." - Soon we had Google Earth up and a little primer on the entire Midwest ensued. "East of Nebraska" would have been a sufficient answer! :-)


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