Sunday, March 29, 2020

"Wind Chill"

This winter was a slow grind, and if you've ever heard the sound of frozen metal squealing against itself at forty-five below zero, then you know the longer it takes the more it makes go insane. Which in itself is a strange sort of paradoxical liberation of imagination.

As in, you really start to wonder about all sorts of crazy things. Like what the temperature is on other planets. Or the wind chill of a passing thought.

It's all relative - exactly how fast is it going? I remember when I used to mountain bike in the winter on the mushing trails out in Goldstream Valley, long before there was such a thing as fatbiking.

It was something truly insane outside, like fifty-something below, and when I coasted down a really steep hill the bearing grease in my hubs gelled up, and by the time I reached the bottom the wheels just ground to a halt.

Bonus Trivia: I actually ran this piece by my editor on account of the phonetic subterfuge, which if I never pointed it out, wouldn't ever rise above anybody's attention. But hey, it's the little things.


  1. When I arrived at UAF in '93 with my old mountain bike, I went over to Beaver Sports and asked about winter biking. I was told three things:

    1. Reduce the air pressure in your tires for better traction.
    2. Apply rubber cement to the rim to prevent the now-loosened tires from shifting and shearing off the valve stem.
    3. You have to stop riding at about -20F because that's when the axle grease freezes.

    I never got over that last part. I put my bicycle away when the first snow came and didn't take it out until April. The first time I took it for a ride in the spring, I hit an icy patch in front of the MBS dorms and went right down on my ass.

    I was always seriously impressed (or weirded out) by the hard-core students who--in the winter--bicycled in from their DRY cabins, showered in wood center, went to class, filled their water carriers, and cycled back home in the evenings. A one-of-a-kind college experience to say the least.

    1. What a different world - so many folks will just never get it...

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