Friday, December 18, 2009

Be Careful What You wish For!

The day before yesterday I was looking forward to cycling in the snow. Well I certainly got my wish. I had to go into London - business and pleasure- a Christmas Lunch and a meeting. When I set off to the station on my bicycle the skies looked fairly clear - I did pack some leggings though - just in case, as there was a warning to expect snow. On getting to the station I managed to find a stand to lock my bicycle to - although it took a while and I have to lift my bike over several others.

I caught the train and got to Kew Gardens underground, which is really overground and had a jolly nice lunch - nothing traditional, by my choice - scotch egg to start and pork (including sausage, crispy bacon and black pudding) for the main course, followed up by an excellent sticky toffee pudding - which was almost as nice as the sticky toffee pudding at the Tower Bank Arms - a 17th century pub in the village of Near Sawrey, where Beatrix Potter lived, which in my opinion serves the best sticky toffee pudding.

I then travelled back into central London where we had the meeting - finishing with a swift pint before we all headed off to our various destinations. What I forgot to mention is that the train to London was packed with standing room only, although I managed to get a seat. So i was not too bothered that I was on a train after rush hour - in fact I caught the 7.15pm train - I should have realised that there might be a problem when the train pulled into Royston and the train driver told passengers to watch there step - in fact the platform was covered in snow - unlike London where there was no snow - at last when I left.

When the train arrived in Cambridge - there was a blizzard. I had planned to put on my leggings and fluorescent yellow cycling jacket when in the station - but it was snowing so hard I stopped in one of the waiting-shelters on the platform. This is the plastic wall - almost covered in snow.


Here is a picture from the door of the shelter. I used flash so the snow flakes look like white disks. Unfortunately you do not get a sense of the wind speed as the flakes are frozen in time and space.


The snow can't have been settling for long as the footprints on the platform do not look too pronounced.


I put all my gear on and found my bike - much harder when they are all covered in snow. Some inconsiderate motorcyclist had parked his bike right in the way making it even harder to lift my bike back out again. I guess that the station is a problem for all customers who use some form of transport to get there - from cars to cycles.

Unfortunately I found that the wind was blowing the snow right into my face - I used a scarf to cover my cheeks, nose and mouth but still struggled with snow whipping into my eyes. By this time the snow was several inches deep and I stuck to cycle paths/shared paths as the roads looked even more treacherous. Cycling on virgin snow it is less tricky than riding on wet mud - occasionally the rear wheel would spin a bit - but it was not difficult to keep my balance. I did have to pay a bit more attention to hidden kerbs though. Where I cycled on exposed paths it got really unpleasant - the snow was drifting and in the end I had to walk through one or two of the deeper drifts - it was impossible smash through them. A journey that would normally take around 30minutes took closer to 90minutes. However apart from the snow in my eyes it was not too bad. The exercise certainly kept me warm.

The wind blew though the night - but it must have stopped snowing not longer after I got back - here is what it looked like in the morning.


The only thing missing was Mr Tumnus!

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