The craziest day ever

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I think that today was the most extraordinary day of biking ever. I was lying in bed. The clock alarm had just woken me up. People were hysterical.

There’s ice everywhere!

There’s water everywhere!

Environment Canada has issued more warnings!

I smile slowly crept across my face. This, I thought, is going to be fun, and rolled out of bed.

The city was ready and had salted the roads in advance, so they were in pretty good shape. As usual, the sidewalks were abysmal. Want to sit in your nice warm car, with the radio on, sipping your coffee? Enjoy! Want to struggle there with the very legs you were born with? Good luck!

People trying to walk on the sidewalks were falling down everywhere.

People wait for bus
The road was very wet and slushy but not too icy. Notice that even people waiting for the bus would rather wait on the street than stand on the slippery sidewalks. Any time a car would go by they scurried out of the way to not get splashed.
people climb up hill
People trudge up the hill in the middle of the street, even pushing strollers through the slush.

Like the peds I stuck  to the middle of the street and the going was pretty good. In fact, the hardest part was getting out of the house, the walkway and alleyway were treacherous.

The path from Ottawa U up to the Corkstown bridge was a sheet of slick ice. Peds were walking along hugging the snowbank where possible. The bridge itself had been well sanded and wasn’t slippery at all. I guess whoever did it didn’t want to go the extra 100 metres.
The Laurier St. bike lane was a dream. Totally clear, but very wet…
… especially when I hit puddles at Bay street that came right up to my crankshaft and submerged my boots in the water. Also note the studded tires, without which the trip would have been much more foolhardy.


The ride had been a blast. All the gunk got washed off my bike, I wasn’t being slowed down by snow getting into my fenders, the cables were all sliding easily again. Where there was ice, I was able to let ‘er rip and spin the back wheel. Thanks to the studded tires I was able to keep enough control that it was crazy fun without being worried about splitting my head open.

Once I got into the office a big cold front moved in and the temperatures plummeted. By 10:30 it had dropped from +5 to -3 and the water was freezing up. But because the cars were churning it up as they drove it was freezing as a loose slush instead of a slick sheet of sickening sadness.

To top it off, in the afternoon the freezing water caused a water main to break on Laurier, spilling water everywhere and causing the street to be shut down.

The ride home was ok. It was -10 and the roads were quite passable, again proving the disasterbators could safely be ignored. News reports said that Laurier was completely closed on the block of the water main break, including the sidewalks, but I got through without any problems. If you were watching the news on TV you might have even seen me go by in the background as there were a few TV crews out and broadcasting.

Where earlier in the day there were mega-puddles, the water had frozen over and were very difficult to navigate. The road was nice and clear.
watermain break
The block of Laurier where all the action was.
road busted with salt
The road, heaved up by the pressure of the water. They put down just enough salt so that the road wouldn’t freeze over.



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