The best thing about February…

…is that it’s only 28 days long.  February is historically my least-prolific bike commuting month, as I haven’t been able to top 7 rides in February in my entire 2-year winter bike commuting history.  This month I’ll be thrilled if I can reach 8 rides, and ecstatic if I can hit 10 rides.  It all depends on the weather.

One constant of February is that Patapsco State Park is always snowed over.  This year is no exception.  They plowed and salted River Road in December, but now that it’s February, they’ve given up and just closed off the gate just past the Avalon parking area.  Not that that’s a bad thing..  the last thing we need is more salt on the roads, and I can still get through on my bike.  But I do wish they’d plow the River Rd access on the Howard County side.

I was amazed that schools weren’t delayed this morning.  Yesterday we had a huge thaw, and then everything re-froze overnight, and the back roads were probably as bad as I’ve ever seen them.  There was ice all over the place.  A lot of intersections were particularly treacherous.  When you’re riding over ice on a bike without studded tires, you need to maintain momentum and avoid steering or braking.  The best thing to do is coast over in as straight a line as possible.  If you lose momentum, you typically can’t get going again because the rear wheel won’t be able to get traction.  If you stop and put your foot down, you’re more likely to fall, because the shift in your weight will make the bike slide away from you sideways.  If you try to steer, the front wheel will lose traction and you’ll be on the ground before you realize what happened.  It’s just a barrel of fun.

This weekend, I’ll be counting the days until March as I rinse salt off my bike.  Yay February.