Category Archives: snow

Things That Can Be Carried on a Bike (#435)

A gallon of extra virgin olive oil, a canvas book bag containing two books and a 9″ chef’s knife (click here to read a review of the knife), and a nylon camera bag containing a camera, a lens, and a battery charger.

Urban Simplicity.

Plus de neige (the day after)

This is really a continuation of my last post. Yesterday we (Buffalo) got pounded with snow. And it’s interesting I think in that with last winter’s mild weather (and the first half of this winter’s mild weather) locals–even those who would normally bitch about the snow–really welcomed it. This, after all, is what a winter in Western New York is really like…this feels normal to us. Anyhow, I worked a split shift today and walked to-and-fro twice (no, I didn’t ride a bike–but I thought about it–as I’ve often said…I may be a bit crazy but I’m not stupid), and I had a camera with me to take a few shots. I have to admit that I am partial to the photo above. That’s Franklin–one of my pugs–looking serious while running through snow that is almost deeper than him (it is a known fact that pugs are big dogs trapped in little dog’s bodies). Anyhow, here’s a few photos of the day/evening after a storm…

Urban Simplicity.

La neige…

Well Buffalo is really living up to its snowy reputation tonight. I took these photos as I walked home from the health club this evening. In these photos there are only a couple inches on the ground, I easily could have rode a bike in it (I’ve ridden in much worse) but I knew what the forecast had in store…as I type these words we are getting pummeled, as we have for the past couple hours. By morning we should have at least a foot (30cm) or more. The walk home was beautiful. Because of the predicted storm the streets were nearly empty (and I am glad I didn’t ride my bike…I’ve often said–and I stand by it–that I may be a little crazy but I’m not stupid). Right now I’m sitting next to my small wood burning stove with a glass of wine and my two pugs at my feet. Cozy. Anyhow, I’ll post a few daytime pics of the aftermath tomorrow. I just hope no one is stuck out in this. Peace.

Urban Simplicity.

A Cold, Wet Day and Evening..good for practice

Today–as the title of this post stated–was cold and wet. Not the dangerous frigid cold you get in mid-winter, but that bone-chilling wet-cold that can only come in the spring. And it’s been sort of snowing and raining for the better part of the day. Anyhow, I mentioned in a previous post how dismayed I have been at the continual money pit of car ownership (and that my pickup has to be repaired before it passes inspection by the end of the month), and that I have been considering finally selling the truck and going car-free…at least as a test run. Interestingly, in my mind I already am car-free…well today was a test. Sure riding a bike is fun when it’s nice out…but it’s not always nice out. Rain is my least favorite element to ride in. But still I rode my bike in the snow/rain the short distance to-and-from work today, and this evening I wanted to go to the health club and by this time it was coming down pretty hard. While my truck is still “legal,” it’s really not safe until it gets repaired. So I had two choices: I could stay home or I could ride in the rain. I chose the latter, and you know what…I didn’t melt. But I have to admit that the steam room at the health club felt extra good today, as does the heat from the wood stove as I type these words. Small steps, that’s how it’s done.

Urban Simplicity.

Red Red

It’s been raining, sleeting, and hailing for most of the day today. Maybe that’s why these flowers caught my eye…their bright colors in the midst of a drab and grey day. Beautiful aren’t they. I took a couple of these this morning as I left my house for work, and a few more on my way home during a minor hail storm. The one above I find especially incredible…so red and juicy it almost looks like raw meat. As usual, click any for a larger view.

Urban Simplicity.

A Couple More Things (about the new bike)…

While I really haven’t had a chance to ride the new Cargo-T that often in the past week (since receiving it), nor have I carried much on it, I think it will be a good all-around weather bike (aka, next year’s winter bike). When I came out of work this evening–after working a double shift–it was snowing. More of a wet-sleeting snow; it wasn’t sticking too much but the ground was slick, and I really liked how this bike handled. Given its weight–it is heavy, almost as heavy as the Mundo–its short wheel base, low gearing, front drum and rear coaster brakes, this will likely be a good bike in the snow…real snow. But I’ll have to wait until next year to find out.

Urban Simplicity.

Four Photos of Snow and a Few Words

Well, today is still in line with the wacky weather we’ve had recently…warm-cold-warm-cold.  Two days ago the high temp was in the mid 60’s F. Today I woke and it was about 20F. Anyhow we had a small amount of snow–and likely because of the easy winter we’ve had this year–it seemed novel to me; beautiful. These photos were taken about 8am, just before I left for work. My favorite is the one above…a closeup of larger pieces of snow with a single picture-perfect snowflake.

Urban Simplicity.

Playing with Light and Snow….Two Trees; Eight Views

It was snowing lightly early in the evening tonight as I pedaled to the health club…big slushy flakes. And when I came out it was really coming down (it still is)…large wet flakes that stick to everything (including a camera and a person riding a bike). Anyhow, I snapped a few photos of two different trees. The series above is a tree just outside the health club, and the series below is of a tree in front of my house. I used various settings on the camera and had the flash on for just some of the photos. Click either for a larger view.

Urban Simplicity.

Five Photos of Snow and Cold

As mentioned in a previous post, we got a good taste of winter last night and today…frigid temperatures and a fair amount of snow. I wasn’t out a great deal–just enough to enjoy it–but I did snap a few photos. Even though the above photo was the last I took I chose to place it at top because it is my favorite. I was already home and sitting at my desk when I glanced out the window and saw that sky…the purple and pink were amazing. I went out on my porch, took a couple photos, sat back down and looked out the window again…and it was gone. It lasted like five minutes; I’m glad I had a chance to see it. The next three are various things I saw on my very cold bike ride today. And the bottom one is another favorite…it’s actually a duplicate of another photo (click here) separated by a couple weeks….the earlier version shows the same scene without snow. As usual, click any photo for a larger view. Thanks for visiting.

Urban Simplicity.

Things That Can be Carried on a Bike (#391)…and a few comments about repairs

Things on the bike: A cardboard box containing two hand-crank pasta machines and two ravioli plates, a plastic bucket containing a partially mixed batch of Ezekiel Bread, and a canvas bag containing–among other things–a few books and a mini tripod.

A couple comments: The reason the dough on the bike is partially mixed is because I still do not have my mixer back from repair (as discussed here)…actually, I’m not quite sure where it is. A few weeks ago I took it to Sears to have it repaired. The national phone service told me that they do indeed repair Kitchen Aid mixers, but when I brought it there everyone seemed pretty confused. To make a long story short, after numerous phone calls (and various people telling me it was either shipped or received elsewhere) someone finally called me back from Florida. She told me it was shipped to an incorrect location and that it had to be shipped back to the Buffalo location before it can be shipped out to the correct repair location in the Midwest. Where does it have to be shipped to? I don’t know. What’s wrong with it? Still not sure. Has anyone actually looked at it? Doubtful. How long will this take or how much will it cost or do I even know where the hell it is or if it can actually be repaired? Don’t know…to all of it.No one seems to know. If I don’t hear from them by Monday (as promised) I’ll start my barrage of  phone calls again.

Sorry, just had to vent. If you happen to see a tired-looking middle-aged guy picketing outside Sears in the freezing cold while standing next to a bike loaded down with odd objects it’ll likely be me. Please stop and say hello…or better yet, bring me a warm cup of coffee.

Urban Simplicity.

More Photos of Winter (the serious stuff)

The city of Buffalo, which is not only my home town but also the city in which I currently live, is of course located at the eastern most tip of Lake Erie. And it’s because of this, and eastern winds, that we sometimes get the brunt of sudden lake effect snow storms….storms that barrel across the Great Lakes at breakneck speed and can last anywhere from a few minutes to days and cause near whiteout conditions.Our most famous storm in living memory is the Blizzard of ’77 (click here for photos). I’m old enough to remember that one, but was young enough to think it was fun. We’ve had plenty of storms since then but none have compared…and it’s one our city has yet to live down on a national level. During the Blizzard of ’77 it snowed like it is in these pictures for 3 days straight (no kidding). The snow was measured in feet. Today, thankfully, it only snowed like this for about 20-30 minutes and dumped just a few inches of the white stuff…but it came out of seemingly nowhere. And no, I was not on a bike during this, I was safely in my house (I may be crazy but I’m not stupid). Anyhow, looking at it from the confines of a warm house, and taking pictures off my front porch, it looks beautiful to me (I love the sounds during a snow storm…everything seems muffled). The pictures were taken within a ten-minute period. Anyhow, I thought I’d share a few photos. Click for larger views.

Urban Simplicity.

A View From My Handlebars, a Couple Thoughts, and a Self-Portrait

There’s an old saying that I suppose could be used in many regions but it seems especially pertinent in Western New York, maybe you’ve heard it before…If you don’t like the weather, wait a minute. About 72 hours ago it was in the single digits Fahrenheit, then yesterday it warmed up to spring-like temperatures and poured rain all day, and now as I type these words it’s frigid again. This morning when I woke it was sunny, and just before I left for work the clouds seemed to speak to each other and push together just in time to squeeze out a short burst of snow. The picture above is a snapshot of my morning commute as I approached Delaware Ave on Allen. The photo is blurry for two reasons. The first is that the camera was shaking…I pulled it out of my pocket as I road and snapped a shot, but the second–and this is something the camera didn’t capture that well–was because of the gush of snow. I don’t take or show pictures of myself too often on the Internet, but below is a self-portrait of sorts that I took just before I left the house (gotta love the reverse camera feature on the iPhone). Anyhow, one of the many tings I enjoy about riding a bike in all weather is just that…the weather. A biker is not only keenly aware of of nearly every pothole or crevice in the road of his/her regular commute, but also of the weather conditions. And for that I am grateful. 

Urban Simplicity.

Refreshing Ride…

It was frigid to be on a bike today to say, to say the least. That’s a screen shot (below) of my computer as I left the house this morning (3F/-16C)…it “warmed up” to about 16F/-8C later in the day. In a couple days the temps are supposed to rise to nearly 40F/4C…with the crazy weather these days it’s often a guessing game as to how to dress before hopping on the bike. And it’s interesting how many people ask if I’m not cold on the bike in this weather…the answer is always a quick no. That said, I will say that my fingers get cold (I need a new set of gloves). But dressed appropriately–in this weather I also cover my mouth and nose with a scarf, lest I breath in the frigid air too quickly–I actually find myself sweating, not freezing. I think it would be far more uncomfortable to be out scraping a windshield on a car than hopping on a bike and riding. That said–and I know other all-weather cyclists will agree with this–there is really nothing like pedaling down a deserted city street at night (it’s difficult to coast in the snow) and hearing your own breath and the sound of your tires crunching the snow beneath you.  

Urban Simplicity.

Mini-Cargo Bike

Well, after the recent spate of frigid and snowy weather I finally worked–a bit–on my winter bike…the Mundo, I’ve concluded is not meant for riding in extreme snowy and icy conditions. I hadn’t ridden this bike in likely 8 months and have to admit I don’t take the best care of it…it is, after all, my winter beater bike. But still I want it to ride well (and it does handle very well in the snow). Anyhow, the last time I rode this it was likely covered in snow and I brought it in an parked..no wiping down or cleaning. To make a long story short it was in rough shape when I approached it today…the chain was literally rusted to the flywheel, I had to pull it off with some effort. After much oiling and manipulation (and quite a bit of mess…the only place I have available to work on my bikes is in my house) I was able to get the bike in working order, but it still needs additional attention. One new thing I’m trying this season is the rear basket…I mounted a soda crate to the rear carrier (semi-permanently with 4 bolts) and use a bungee net to keep things in place; a person can get really spoiled with the carrying capacity of a Mundo. Anyhow, I took it for a ride today to run a few errands and it felt good. It felt good to be on such a “short bike” in the snow.

Urban Simplicity.

Naturally Translucent (a few photos of snow and trees)

Shortly after writing my somewhat self-righteous post this morning about commuting to work in the snow I ended up using my truck anyhow. The reason I mention this is that in an indirect way it influenced these photos, or at least influence me taking them. But I’m jumping ahead. I drove my truck because my son asked me to take him to a friends house on the other side of the city (I may be half-crazy riding bikes in the snow but I’m not going to force my eccentricities on others, especially my son); I also combined the trip with an errand I’ve been putting off. And as I drove I passed Delaware Park, which of course is part of the beautiful park system originally designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. It was snowing pretty good (our first lake effect snow of the year) and the wind was whipping as well, creating white outs at times. The photo directly below is a good example of this; if you look closely you can see the snow whipping sideways (classic lake effect). Anyhow, the park looked especially beautiful to me…tranquil in the midst of chaos. I was bundled up pretty well, and had my little point-and-shoot camera in my pocket, so I pulled the truck to the side of the road and walked a few hundred feet into the park. When I turned to look at the road I could barley see the truck. Everything looked filtered, or like an impressionist painting. I stood there for a few minutes before snapping the photos, just trying to be in the moment and letting the wind and snow whip against my face. Though just a few hundred feet from the road I could have been a hundred miles from nothing. Then reality sunk in as I began to get cold. So I took off my gloves and with nearly frozen fingers snapped a bunch of pictures. These are some of my favorites. They’re also great examples what one can do with an inexpensive camera, that you do not necessarily need an expensive one to take interesting photos…just the desire to capture what you see. Click any for larger views.

Urban Simplicity.

Snowy Commute

Well, the party is over…or at least the mild weather is. Cold blowing snow has arrived. That’s a picture of the Mundo as I left for work this morning. I usually don’t ride this bike during heavy snow. One would think–that because of its weight and length–that it would be good in the snow. It’s not; at least that’s my opinion. Because of the temperate climate this year (up until now) I have not prepped my winter bike yet…so there it sits with a rusty chain from last year, two tires in need of air, and brake calipers that are all but seized up. When I ride the Mundo in the snow I find its weight and length awkward…and like a pickup truck with nothing in the rear end for traction, the rear tire slips and slides easily. As it turns out, when I arrived for work I found we were closed on account of the weather…looks like a nice day to say hope and fix my winter bike. Anyhow, I’d be interested in hearing if others ride a Mundo or other cargo/longtail in the snow.

Urban Simplicity.

A Little Snow and a Big Sky

This morning when I woke I was somewhat surprised to see there were a couple inches of snow on the ground. It really changes my short commute to work…how I ride a bike. Interestingly, for as big and heavy as the Mundo is, it is not my favorite bike to ride in the snow. In this this light snow it isn’t difficult, but in the really deep and heavy stuff it can be tough to maneuver. That said, this area of the world has had it really easy this winter, by this time of the year we’ve usually had at least a couple lake effect snows. I’m not complaining, just an observation…but I have to admit I have been liking the cold air…it feels refreshing to me; bracing (and you don’t sweat while riding). To give you an example, take a look at this photo I took exactly two years ago today…the bike was parked in nearly the same spot as the one pictured above is. Anyhow, I worked another split shift today, and on my return to work in the evening I chose to walk rather than pedal. And on the way I was taken by what a beautiful winter sky was overhead…it looked so big to me as clouds rushed past. Here’s a photo.

Urban Simplicity.

James the Incredible Human iPod (and an additional photo)

So this is interesting. I had just left work after working a split shift. I didn’t face a stove all of the day but much of it. When I came outdoors the fresh air felt good and it felt good to be on foot, but I was surprised to see that there was a combination of snow and rain…we haven’t had any real snow this year. As I was walking down Allen Street I noticed how the light shone off the wet sidewalk and I had my camera with me so decided to take a couple shots. Being on foot, opposed to being on a bike, I had to set the little tripod on the ground, which gives it an interesting perspective. Anyhow, as I was taking the photos a guy appears out of seemingly nowhere…shows up in the frame and just sort of posed there with his bike. I look up from the camera and he says to me, “You ever hear of the incredible human iPod?” “Um, no.” I reply. “Then you can’t be from around here,” he says. “What’s your favorite song,” he asks. And without waiting for a reply he says that he knows I like Fleetwood Mac because everyone likes Fleetwood Mac, and he starts singing One Winged Dove as loud as he could…he’s singing it in the picture above. To make a long story short, James walked with me for about a block or so while we talked about riding bikes in foul weather, and it was then that I noticed he had two flat tires and he asked me for money (I had none with me otherwise I would have given him some). The interesting thing is that he rode up to me (on two flats). I didn’t notice it at first because, as I mentioned earlier, he just showed up in the frame. But after getting home and uploading them I could see him approaching on his bike like an apparition (in the upper left photo he’s in the distance and the upper right he’s a blur while getting off the bike). I just find it interesting that I–being interested in bicycles and taking photos–have this guy just show up and step in front of my lens and pose with his bike. One never knows what they’ll see when on bike or foot. Also, I thought I’d share the below photo I took yesterday…Days Park at night (click either photo for a larger view).

Urban Simplicity.