Cycling on Ice

It was sunny again today, and I needed another break from scanning and processing files through Photoshop. So even though it was only 32°F outside and I thought there might be some frost in the shade I went out for a 25-mile bike ride.  I picked the hilly route out by Lake Padden, down and around Lake Samish, and back along Old Samish Road to Fairhaven and then home.

City streets were bare and dry for the most part, but the shoulder on Samish Way was frosty and a bit of snow in places so I rode in the traffic lane. The downhill from Galbraith Road had even more snow and frost so I rode carefully and more slowly than usual. I was surprised that the grade down the Lake Samish was clear, as was most of the loop around the lake.  I thought I was home free.

Then I hit Old Samish Way, which apparently never saw the sun nor much traffic today. The road was almost completely covered in packed snow and ice. For once, I was happy to have the rough surface of chip seal as I eased myself down the first long hill. Not long after I started down another cyclist on the way up stopped and flagged me down. I gently squeezed my brake levers, but the road was too slick and my tires lost traction and I ended up sliding 10 or 15 feet on my side.

I picked myself up and determined that I was OK and so was my bike.  The other cyclist simply wanted to know if the road I had just traveled was as snowy as the one he had just come up.  I was a bit annoyed at crashing to be friendly and answer a question that could easily be answered by observation.  Oh, well.  He apologized for flagging me down and instigating my spill.  He also decided to turn around and go back down the way he had come, which I think was slicker than the way I had come.

I followed the other fellow a bit and then rode around him and continued on my way, still cautious but not as timid as the other rider.  After my spill and stopping to chat I was cold. Riding downhill in freezing temperatures in the shade did nothing to help me warm up and by the time I got home my fingers and toes were really cold. Thank goodness for hot showers and hot tea. I ended up with a little bit of road rash on my elbow and hip.

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