I am loving the weather here in Buffalo!


A lot of people, I have noticed, take snow as a sign to hide indoors. Or maybe they’re hibernating. Well, not me! I am outside doing something fun every day! My wife is outside every day enjoying the magnificent scenery too. So I know it’s not just me.

However, being me may be an extreme case. For one thing, I love shoveling my driveway. I’ve told many people that I actually like shoveling snow, and indeed I do.


That’s a good workout! A bit dangerous though with the icy footing. But it’s good to shovel the driveway to see what I’m getting into for my bike ride to work. All of my normal trips from my house to work (i.e. with no trips to Canada) have been done by bike this year.

Disclaimer: I must point out that unless you’re already riding your bike in the snow, you probably shouldn’t start now. I am very good at this. And even still, it is very dangerous. I’m planning to write more about some of the details involved in surviving this but just keep in mind that it’s an extreme sport and very close to not even possible. What is entirely possible is that it will catch up to me in some gruesome way even though I am very experienced and very well-prepared. Do not imagine yourself doing this casually!

So far, it has been working out mostly well. It never really dumps enough snow to really bog me down too much and when it does, the roads are usually plowed somewhere. The problem is when you need to share those roads with idiot drivers. Then there is a heavy drop in the chances of returning alive. The university is very good about plowing its bike paths and that makes things easy once I get to the campus. But for a few hundred meters, I sometimes have to slog through some pretty serious stuff. Yesterday I rolled into this and realized that it was a huge puddle with a crust of ice on it.


I couldn’t move laterally because I had carved the ice and I just had to press on through it. Today, I hit the same spot but it was now deeper and I got stuck right at the middle in about 6 inches of water. I was barely able to hop out and drag my bike with me.

Here is a video I shot of this path just past the puddle (had my telephone camera out, why not?).

Note that this was not actually very challenging or else I never would have filmed it. Remember, I am holding the camera in my (bare) right hand and steering with only one hand. That’s my employer’s telephone camera actually and I am trusting myself on that icy bridge to not go down and drop it in the river. So despite appearances, this ride was quite safe. I wanted to record it because the snowscape was spectacularly beautiful — if you like that sort of thing, and of course I do!

A much bigger challenge was a ride I did on Thursday of last week. I rode from my house to Lockport. This will be a wonderful, mild, and easy ride in the summer. It runs along the Erie Canal and it has a gorgeous bike path the whole way. This time of year, however, the experience is quite a bit different. First, it was 12F/-11C when I set off. All of my cold weather management skill worked out fine. Here I am taking off a layer because I’m too hot.


The trickier problem is that the path is covered in random lumps of packed snow and shards of jagged ice. The experience was very similar to riding on wet cobblestones. But hey, some people enjoy that.

When I did an earlier reconnaissance of Lockport I was puzzled by the canal being mostly empty. I was happy to find out where the water went.


The Pendleton Guard Lock seems to hold it back. I think it’s drained while they’re doing work on Lockport’s eponymous locks.

Here I am near Lockport cooling off.


It’s very important to not ever become too hot because if you sweat more than you can release as vapor, that will come back in about 15 minutes to efficiently pull all the heat out of you. I had some moments where my footwear system was right on the edge of getting cold because of this but overall I planned it well.

Here’s another one-handed video showing the trail conditions in a part of the trail that was not too hard.

In all, that ride took me four hours. I was pretty tired but the day wasn’t over! In the afternoon we went down to Canalside. (Here is a summer photo I previously posted.)

For the first time in over 40 years, I ice skated outside.


Very nice. Here’s a very short video of me skating.

Yes, I love this weather! I am feeling the exact opposite of what those poor wretched polar bears in the San Diego Zoo (live webcam) are feeling. I love it here!