It snowed all day in Chicago yesterday, which made biking to work more challenging than usual. The lakefront path hadn’t been plowed yet when I left in the morning, but there was only an inch or so of snow at that point and the outlines of the path were easy to see. I could even make out the yellow center line through the snow.

When I rode north around the Aquarium and looked at the city, the snow covered the skyline like a veil: only the bottom few stories of buildings were visible, the colors almost entirely white and brown, the sounds of traffic so muffled I could barely hear them. That made the whole ride worthwhile.

By nightfall it was different. The main downtown streets were messy but mostly wet. Side streets, however, were dicey, with snow and ruts. The lakefront path hadn’t been plowed since morning, so navigating was a matter of following footsteps (and the tracks of at least one other bike) and watching for the faint outlines of the earlier plowing. In one spot near McCormick Place the blowing snow and absence of lights made it almost impossible to see the path. And at 39th Street, where the path curves lakeward in a broad, unlighted sweep far from the car lights of Lake Shore Drive, the wind had blown drifts across the path to such an extent that riding eastward I seemed to be heading straight for the lake with nothing to stop me. Meanwhile, there was no sound except the hissing of my tires through the snow.

The last two blocks to my house were ugly. My street hadn’t been plowed, and there were deep, slippery ruts.

My bike was so covered in snow when I got home you could barely see what color it is. Only the part of the top tube that had been protected by my legs showed green. Everything else was white. It was a lovely ride, a winter gift.

This morning it was still snowing lightly. I put snow tires on the bike but discovered the lakefront path had been plowed and salted — even my street has been plowed. So a more mundane ride to work today, and the snow tires reminded me of something a woman told me last year about riding on them — that it’s like riding on Velcro. True, both in sound and added effort.

2 Responses to “Gift”

  1. citymanual says:

    Love it! Thumbs up!

  2. White Tea says:

    Thanks for posting, I like this blog!

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