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Adverse weather - John C. Kirk

Dec. 20th, 2009

12:06 am - Adverse weather

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As most people reading this will already know, the last few days in London have been quite chilly; this has made cycling a bit more of a challenge than usual, so I may need to get some extra clothing.

On Thursday, it was snowing, but the snow didn't settle. I didn't mind the cold or wet, but it was surprisingly painful when snowflakes kept landing on my eyes. I have a ski mask (left over from my snowboarding days), but it has tinted glass, i.e. it acts like sunglasses, so it's probably not a great idea to wear that after dark.

Yesterday (Friday), the snow was settling, although I saw council vans out on Thursday night gritting the streets. I paid extra so that I could use the nearest railway station, rather than cycling 5 miles to Norbury. As I cycled from the station to my office, I heard the ice cracking under my tyres: in this case, that's good news, because it means that it's a fairly thin layer. Still, I kept my speed down, and tried to avoid making any sharp turns. I was ok for most of the way, but I came off my bike just outside my office, once I'd turned off the main road (the council don't grit roads inside industrial estates). I then saw the Brompton fold itself up as it slid away from me down the road! Not completely, but it was enough of a jolt for the back wheel to swing underneath without me unhooking it. Ah well, I wasn't hurt, and the bike wasn't damaged, so that's all right. I normally just wear a base layer (long sleeved shirt) and high vis tabard on my top half, but on my way home I wore a hoodie too: it's not specifically designed for cycling, but it kept me a bit warmer.

Today (Saturday) I went out on SJA duty at the local football ground. This involved standing around for a few hours in the cold, so I wore several layers (T-shirt, shirt, jumper, coat), and shuffled around a bit. Cycling home afterwards, I really started to get cold fingers; my 75p gloves from Asda weren't really up to the job. I shoved my hands into my armpits whenever I stopped at traffic lights, but by the time I got home I didn't have enough dexterity to fold up the bike, and it was a challenge to unlock the front door. It felt like using one of those claw machines in an arcade, since I could see what I was doing but I barely had any tactile feedback. I thawed out with a mug of hot Ribena, and my fingers hurt for a while as they warmed up, but everything's back to normal now.

I was thinking about going to the supermarket this evening, but on reflection I decided to slump in front of the TV and watch Love Actually instead.