Sunday, 9 January 2011
slip slidin' away
Out cycling again this morning, although there was a noticeable amount of frost and ice to contend with. I decided to take the road bike in any case, although the thin tyres pumped to high pressure were not perhaps as sensible as the altogether squishier mountain bike's footwear.
It was still fun to marvel at the universe of sparkles looking up at me from the road surface, a constellation of optimism as I picked my way along the country lanes. Even my back pack water supply had an extra icy edge and the temperature on the bicycle's handlebars read 1 degree C, despite the sunlight. The fields to the sides of the road were sprinkled with icing and a few extra streams had appeared as the surface water was finding routes to the nearest brook.
I was aware of the extra slipperiness and even stopped once at the bottom of a particular stretch to consider my options. I'd felt the back wheel spinning faster than my forward speed and considered whether to turn around. No, it would be fine if stayed in the track in the middle between where the car wheels had polished the surface.
Most people I encountered were also out for the fun of the morning, other cyclists, walkers (including a group of about a dozen with sticks and staves), a group of about six joggers being led by a determined coach, dog walkers. We'd all greet each other with 'Good Mornings' and general pleasantries as we passed each other on the lanes.
Then a variation: "Be careful up there!", called a couple of cyclists in yellow heading the other way, "We just came off!". I was approaching The Big Hill and didn't need much of an excuse to slow down based upon their advice but it didn't look particularly different from the preceding section. That's before I turned the corner to see the new ice meadow across the road. I'd seen the red triangle sign with an exclamation about a quarter of a mile back and already been wondering what the particular exclamation was to signify.
Simple enough, it was a predictor of my language as I slid gently off the bike with a slight bouncing sound. In Germany I used to call it Glatteis because I'm not sure that the English "Black Ice" quite emphasises the slipperiness. It's that stuff thats almost impossible to stand up on.
The scrape on my knee matches the hole that I already had in these jeans.
A sort of co-ordinated tatterdemalion look for my return journey.