Posted by: Silver | December 10, 2010

Winter

One of the inescapable facts of a journey lasting two and a half years is that you’re going to run into a winter or two sooner or later. Having done my research into winter cycling, I was quite prepared to carry on at least as far as the Rockies – snow tyres and thermal undies at the ready – but a couple of unexpected factors rather threw a spanner into the works:

1) Mountains. Even before you get to the Rockies, much of British Columbia is distinctly not flat, and this adds a level of severity and unpredictability to the weather that I, as a native of a country with nothing much over 3,000ft, had admittedly failed to truly account for. It also has a tendency to make roads rather narrower and twistier than they might otherwise be, which doesn’t contribute positively to cycling safety at any time of year, but could potentially make for some seriously scary riding if the shoulders were full of ploughed snow and the highway icy. And finally, of course, there’s the slopes themselves: a bit of a slog at the best of times, but – if too steep – potentially completely impossible in snow, even with winter tyres.

2) Small print. As you know, Ranger folds up fairly neatly, and so my fall-back plan if things got just too bad to cycle, was to hop on a Greyhound bus instead. I knew I would have to pay a bit extra for transporting a cycle, but that was fine; what I didn’t realise, however – until I read the really small print – was that Ranger would have to be in a box. Clearly, carrying with me a box big enough to accommodate him would be completely impossible, and finding a suitably sized box off-the-shelf at the appropriate moment in an almost-certainly-small town would be equally unlikely, and so my fall-back plan fell through in a less than convenient fashion.

3) Attitudes. Everyone I spoke to in Canada seemed to automatically assume that I wouldn’t be cycling in the winter, and so it’s a fairly safe bet that most drivers on the road would be assuming the same thing. So they wouldn’t be expecting to see me in the first place, and if and when they did, I fear there’d be an increased danger of my arousing the ‘Bloody cyclist: why don’t you get off the damn road’ response. And that’s just not an attitude I want following me up an icy road…

And so, as previously intimated, my revised winter plan consists of running away from it: I’ve retreated back to my Dad’s for the holiday season, sitting out my first Canadian winter in southern California.

I feel like such a cheat.

I know it’s the sensible thing to do, but it has been very frustrating to have to go backwards just when I was so much enjoying going forwards. I will continue to add new posts to my blog over the coming weeks, hoping to keep you all interested with some reflections on my journey so far, but I’m afraid that’s it for the cycling for a little while 😦

Hope, just before I ran away

Don't think I ever saw stuff like this in the UK!

So beautiful... but I had to leave it behind 😦

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Responses

  1. take it from a Swede: sensible thing to do!

  2. Oh no! Still, given the reasons you give, it’s probably just as well. Don’t think of it as cheating, think of it as being the most sensible resolution to the problem. It’s not like you’ve given up on the whole trip after all, just that you’ve decided to spend the winter in the safest and best place for you. 🙂

    This makes setting up a Skype chat much easier too! I’ll have to get Dvae to help me setting it all up on our computer but once I have I’ll let you know and we can organise a good time to speak.

    *BIGHUGS* take care hun.

    Alix
    xxx

  3. I think we’d all rather think of you temporarily going backwards to facilitate your going forwards in the Spring rather than just running backwards in the snow into an artic lorry.

    And then you’d never know if I finally got my house, or not 🙂

    • Hi Mel,
      When I first quick-read your comment, I thought you said ‘arctic’ lorry – which I guess could be equally appropriate…
      You make a very good point though: can’t go getting squashed on the roads at least until your house nightmare is over! Will continue to eagerly scan Facebook for updates!

  4. Having just had a car crash on a sunny day in the dry – you made a good choice.

    • Eek! Are you OK, Hilary?

  5. Silver, of course it’s the sensible thing to do, and everyone will be relieved to hear you’ve made that choice – “reculer pour mieux sauter” is a sound tactic.
    Enjoy your “reculer” time, but don’t tell us too much about the Californian sun because it’s been (relatively) diabolical over here just lately!
    Cheers, John.

  6. Hi Silver

    Sorry to hear you had to retreat for the winter, but completely understandable. I was wondering too what you were ever going to do during our Canadian winters.

    Sunny California sounds like a good place to sit it out. We wish you and your Dad a wonderful Holiday season!

    Cheers!

    Becky

  7. Hey, just watch Into The Wild and see where ‘not cheating’ gets you!

    You’re doing the right thing.

    • A very fair point! I did in fact watch ‘Into the Wild’ a bit ago, and made a mental note at the time to cheat whenever necessary to stay safe… 😉
      Good to hear from you anyway, Jo – it’s been a while! How’re things in Modland?!

  8. You are welcome to ‘hole up’ in our cabin anytime.
    🙂
    It’s very beautiful here in the winter!

  9. I love reading your posts and looking at the beautiful pictures you take!
    Have a wonderful Christmas with your dad and all the best for 2011!
    Greetings from Auckland,
    Anna

  10. pleased and think you have done the absolutely right thing! Enjoy a well deserved change of pace, lots of love abby


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