So far I’ve managed to keep on cycling all throughout this winter. Despite December being exceptionally cold and January being exceptionally snowy I’ve managed to get in three or four days a week out on the roads on my bike. I have to say it really helps keep the winter blues away. The winters get blue because I don’t get outside and do anything. Cabin fever can set in. Getting out and cycling blows up that cabin fever. Especially if the sun is shining.

The snow has been more of a problem than the cold this month because there has been so much of it. And because I’ve learned how to dress to cycle in the cold the temperature hasn’t been a problem. Of course I can’t ride in the middle of a storm but the residential roads I ride on have been pretty well cleared of in the day or two following snowfall. Except for this last storm. I think there is just no place to put the snow anymore so it’s creeping out onto the road surface. I need another day of sunshine and above freezing temperatures to clear the road a little better but that might not come right away.

The main problem after this last storm was people cleaning off their cars and driveways into the road long after the plows were gone. A lot of people just didn’t bother to dig out until a day after the snow. And then a lot of it ends up in the road. People just drive their snow covered car out into the street and then clean it off but leave the snow where it fell. It saves them from having to clean up but it puts snow and ice in my path. Of course they’re not thinking about cyclists since it’s the middle of winter and I think I’m the only cyclist out on those particular roads.

The only warm-ish week we’ve had this winter was the first week of January. In the afternoons it even reached up into the forties a few times. Since there wasn’t the snow there is now I even switched back to my warm weather route for that week. It was fun to have all my big hills back and do one big loop instead of three laps. It made me think that I might be able to ride that route at other times this winter. Maybe I still will be able to but after a snow storm per week and about two to three feet of snow on the ground at this moment I doubt it.

I’ve run out of room to put the snow in my driveway. It’s become much narrower than three weeks ago. After the first or second storm I commented on Facebook at how the geometry of the piles of snow looked cool in my driveway. I had all the edges neat and straight. Not anymore. Now the snow is piled up anywhere it can fit.

I have a John Deere LT155 lawn tractor that in the winter gets a snow plow put on its front. That’s what I clear the driveway with. It sure beats shoveling. My driveway is also a hill and when the snow is deep it takes a while for the tractor to be able to make it to the top. I usually push the snow to the left and the right of the driveway as I make my way to the top but this last time there was little room to the left and right to put the snow. So, of course, I couldn’t put it there.

After a whole lot of banging against the snow with the tractor and plow and moving it little by little I made it to the top of my driveway. I then had to push all the snow down to the back of the driveway. That was the only place left with any room. There was already plenty of snow there but a shorter driveway was better than a narrower one. It’s also tough to see at the top of the driveway and I didn’t want to add to that problem.

There is a fence across the back of my driveway that separates it from the back yard. I push the snow up against the fence and usually after a snowfall or two the snow builds up until piles up about three feet off of the fence. Right now the snow is piled out at least seven feet from the fence. And it’s two to three feet deep. Another couple of feet and the snow bank will be parallel with the edge of my garage. That has never happened before and I hope we get some melting before it does. But it looks like more snow is on the way.

I think it’s actually easier to cycle out there than to walk right now. Since I’m riding on purely residential roads there are very few cars and I can ride out in the middle of the street most of the time. It’s pretty clear out there. But the sidewalks are a bit different.

I live across the street from a church and school so the sidewalk across the street from my house is generally well kept. Usually they have a plow clear it off but there has been so much snow this month that a whole team of guys with snow blowers, shovels, and this small front-loader-thing have been on the job clearing the sidewalk. I can walk down my street, which is maybe a third of a mile, but then there is no place to go.

I could turn up and walk the streets that I bicycle but there are no sidewalks up there. The snow and ice on the side of the road plus the fact that in winter I often walk after dark means that I don’t walk up there. Usually I turn the other way onto a main road that has a sidewalk but that thing is not always well kept. I walked that way a couple of days after the first big storm and it was tough going. And that was in the daylight. It’s three storms later and I haven’t been back that way since. I’l stick with bicycling. Here’s to the spring thaw.