How To Ride Your Bike In The Snow


It helps if you’re hungry.  Stay up late the night before watching the very long and anxiety-inducing Wolf of Wall Street (ugh, is it the massive amount of drugs ingested or the nauseatingly self-serving behavior that constricted my breathing and gave me heart palpitations?) and then stay in bed snuggling with the boy and having weird dreams of a bb gun that you can ride that has helicopter blades and lots of little babies and elusive rainbows. Get up late and hangry.  Growl at the boy to shut up and get dressed so that you can go and get some food.  Have your heart set on waffles.  Leave the house.

It’s snowing!  Your neighbors will laugh at you as you push your bikes out into the blizzard.  Do that move where you run and jump on to your bike.  Oh shit!  Your boots–despite their good looks and impeccable tread–slide right off the pedals!  Damn!  It’s ok, you got it.  Shit, it looks like the snow trucks have only cleared off half the road, try riding on the part that is cleared.  Ignore the boy when he says to ride in the snow and that it is fun and easy.  Your bike will wibble wobble like a drunken pony and try to throw you.  Try not to turn your handlebars at all.  Do most of your turning by keeping your muscles tense and shifting your weight.  Consider investing in a pair of sunglasses or maybe even ski goggles when your field of vision is limited to the crack between your hat and your scarf and that crack is being bombarded by angry snow flakes.  Don’t mess with your scarf too much: once all the moisture from your breathing has turned to ice you will have a nice little glacial shield against the wind.

Shit!   It’s cold!  Despite your double layer of pants your thighs are gonna get pretty cold.  Later you will be aggravated that the salt from the road has somehow stained both layers of your pants, so think about wearing some pants you don’t really care about.  Don’t let the nearness of dumbass drivers going too fast or the thunder of the train on the tracks above you throw you off your game.  Also don’t be startled when your shitty brakes stop working.  For many people this could be a matter of having too much moisture on the brakes, in which case you can try pumping them to get them to function.  In your case this is a matter of not properly tightening the screw that holds the brake cable in place.  Maybe you should have checked that before you left to go bike in a snow storm.  But it’s ok, just use your boots with their incredible tread to stop.  Since you are riding about 1 mph it shouldn’t be that big of a deal.

Take some time to realize how beautiful the snow really is; how it blankets the buildings and muffles the sounds of traffic when you turn onto a side street.  Lock your bike up outside a cafe and try to get breakfast.  The lady will tell you that there is no place that serves breakfast this late, but you will tell the lady that you have your heart set on waffles and she will give you directions to a place.  Walk with the boy to the place even though it is far enough away that the lady told you to take a bus, because eff the bus on a winter wonderland day!  You will see a little white pigeon huddled behind a wall, trying to stay warm, and you will wonder where all of his friends are.  A few blocks later the boy will find a single white pigeon wing, ripped from its body and lying alone and bloody in the snow.  He will pick it up to examine it and you will ask him why he is picking it up.

“Because it’s cool,” he will say, as all boys everywhere have said at some point in their lives.

He will chuck it over his shoulder and it will land directly in front of the two girls behind you.  You will laugh secretly behind your scarf at their shock because you have a mean streak.   You will finally arrive at the diner and you will order chicken and waffles with maple syrup and butter and bacon and eggs and potatoes and toast and orange juice and a chocolate chip cookie and you will share it with the boy and it will be the perfect reward for biking in the snow.


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