I’ve been off my bike for the most part since Christmas, as I managed to acquire a pretty nasty head cold. Since then we’re had a decent amount of snowfall, and what with the holidays, the roads haven’t been plowed nearly as well as one might expect. Rather, the snow’s been allowed to pack in and get some pretty nasty ruts intermingled with slush and patches of ice.

And while the studded Nokian Hakkepliita’s work great on either glare ice or fresh snow, their forte seems to clearly exclude the above mentioned slush. On ice they ride so well that I’ve been cruising right along, put my foot down at a stop, and nearly fell over. Both on ice and snow, the only difference I find that I need to make in my riding is take everything a little slower, overall riding speed and turns in particular.

That slush, however–it can be pretty hard to predict. Take tonight. I rode downtown to meet up with some friends to give the monthly trivia night at Red’s a whirl. Only a block from home I nearly took a spill after I got sucked into slush, then kicked right onto ice. the best description: it’s somewhat like riding into sand or heavy gravel. The wheel digs in the does a sort of a reverse fishtail. Very disconcerting, even if wearing a welmet (I was).

It seems as though the only thing that works is to slow down even more, stay in the wheel tracks and/or stick to the busier streets. At night that works just fine, but on the way to work during rush hour, taking the lane can be a pretty iffy affair. Cars don’t much like it when you slow them down in their mad dash of I should’ve left the house 20 minutes ago and have to be there now, now, 10 minutes ago.

Time to start exploring alternate routes to work, I’d imagine. And despite the grumbling, I’m having a grand time on two wheels so far this winter.


Welcome

01Jan08

As I’ve found myself getting more and more into bicycling for fun and transportation, I became frustrated at the lack of resources on the internet for Kalispell and the Flathead Valley in general. There’s so many great rides, but so little information on the web. That in mind, it seemed an interactive site cataloging that and more would be a valuable resource, and that’s just what I hope to achieve with biketheflathead.com.

I don’t envision that site going live until sometime in spring (April or May?), but thought I could gauge the interest in such a venture by starting with the blogging here. Well, that and make myself look good and crazy by chronicling my first winter of bike commuting while I get everything put together.

A bit about myself: I’m no pro, I don’t have a $5k bike, and not even in that great of shape right now. And no, I don’t bike because I got a DUI (for the record I most certainly did NOT) or anything crazy like that. Instead, biking has been a lifelong passion since my grandparents got me that crappy orange Stingray knockoff from Sears way back when I was 6 or so.

For the site, I plan on writing about the following: bike advocacy, commuting, races/events/group rides, amongst other topics. Further, I plan on offering an interactive list of rides (both on and off road), that can be added, rated, mapped, and commented on by the site’s users (as well as being added by myself). An event calendar, and forums are also in the works. I have a pretty good framework put together that I think will make this a pretty nice project, but have quite a bit of work left.

And with that I’d like to issue a call for assistance, collaboration, coding help, and what-not. If you’re interested, please comment here or contact me via email.