The first time it snowed, back about an eon ago (I think it was February 3?), I bike commuted home within a couple days. I rode my bike with studded tires and, although I did hit a few hairy spots, made it home just fine both days.
I thought I’d do the same thing this week. We’ve had some weather in the mid- to high 30s, and roads just have some water but no I’ve, so I figured most anything I encountered on the trails would have melted into slush that I could ride through no problem. I decided to ride the Burke-Gilman the whole way, to avoid some of the unpleasantness on the 520 trail and in Kirkland.
Long story short: I’ve rarely been so wrong, or made such a totally off base decision. Don’t get me wrong, I make mistakes and bad choices all the time – little ones. This biking plan definitely takes the cake.
I made it through the UW, but (in retrospect) the patches of icy slush should really have warned me to cut my losses early. Instead, I thought, well, maybe things are really packed down and slippery here, but where fewer people went will be better. More melted, less bumpy sheets of ice with slush on top.
By the time I reached Seattle Children’s, I had realized a few things:
- I was going really slow and having to walk a lot. The sun was setting soon, and once it got dark, this would transition from miserable into miserable and dangerous.
- The cold, splatty rain would freeze me at this pace.
- I wasn’t getting home on the trail.
But how would I get home? I started to panic.
If I turned around, I’d have to face all those patches of slippery ice all over again – with no guarantee of being able to cross 520. If I turned around, though, I could try to get to Montlake to catch a bus home… however long that might take.
I really didn’t want to do that whole long, icy trek again.
Ian offered to pick me up or meet me near 522. That would work but I felt bad forcing him and Benji to drive through traffic both ways just to come get me.
Finally I realized I was very close to my friend Ellen’s house. I called her, and – bless her heart – she was willing to drive me home, even though it was Valentine’s Day and she had stuff to do.
When I got to her house, she had a better plan: Her brother, who lives just a couple miles from my house, was stopping by her house. In fact, he arrived moments after I did. I left my bike at Ellen’s – it’s in good company – and her brother drove me home.
Needless to say, I thanked him effusively.
It wasn’t the commute I planned, but I’m thankful that God made a way despite my foolish choices. And I’ve learned a good lesson in arrogance and humility.