Although I was not born here, I am a proud Atlantan. Some may say that we’re too far from the beach for summer fun and too far from any significant mountains for winter fun, but the events of last night fly directly in the face of that attitude. All you naysayers can just go on and become yaysayers.
As you know if you read my post yesterday, I was the happy recipient of a mystical message from an oracle. I knew that it would come true, which is why I spent a few minutes during the day changing the flat front tire on my mountain bike.
I knew that I wanted to bike in the snow. I knew that biking on a flat front tire sucks in any condition, and, perhaps most importantly, I knew that there would be enough snow to bike in even though not one single flake had fallen. Why was I so sure? Because I believed in the power of the Tomato.
Sure enough, around 3PM, snow began to fall. We got what I would call a light dusting. Signs looked good at first for a snowy ride, but then the snow slacked off.
I called it a triumph for Sidewalk Tomato’s future-predicting ability, but it wasn’t quite enough snow to really enjoy riding in. Here’s the prescient Tomato in the light snow:
I was in contact with my riding buddy Chris all day, going back and forth about whether there would be enough snow to enjoy on bikes or not. He and I have endured much terribleness on bicycles together, so I knew he was down for wet cold riding if there was snow.
And there was snow, but not enough. Worse still, the flakes were getting smaller and coming less frequently. Around 3:45 PM, doubt set in.
“I’m thinking no accumulation” Chris said, “just frozen, hard dirt. Sidewalk Tomato did not see all.”
Naturally, I challenged him. “How dare you?” was my reply. He remained skeptical… skeptical of the all-seeing Tomato! I’m sad to say that my indignant attitude masked a kernel of my own black doubt.
After all, he had something of a point. By 6PM, the snow had petered out pretty much entirely and things looked bleak.
Soon, though, reports came in from some of my associates on the western side of town that the snow was picking back up. Tomato be praised!
By 9PM there was definitely enough to ride in. I got on the Internerd and typed to Chris that it was a go.
“It’s lookin kinda fun,” I said. “Thoughts?”
But his thoughts never came. Chris was incommunicado. I began to worry that some natural disaster had befallen him as a result of his Tomato-based blasphemy (not to be confused with tomato paste blasphemy), but as I was pulling on my warm riding clothes the Internerd at last lit up with his reply.
It seemed he had entered a strange time zone known as “Beer thirty” and was dressed in his bedclothes. Man down!
So, I set out into the snow alone, swathed head to toe in a wool base layer, arm and leg warmers, a wool balaclava, two pairs of gloves, and plastic bags inside my mountain biking shoes to keep my feet warm and dry. First I rode a bit around my front yard just to see how much grip I had on the snow. My bike was pretty stable in it, and I had no problems turning. It even stopped smartly. I thought it was going to be really slippery and that I was probably going to crash, but I was wrong.
Of course, I have crashed bikes at very low speeds on warm sunny days in bright sunlight before, so what do I know?
First I rode down to a small park about a mile from my house and just pedaled around a bit in the snow.
Everything seemed to be working and I wasn’t freezing to death, so I pushed on to Piedmont Park. Once I got there, I rode up and down some snowy hills and across the open park, but the fun was disturbed by some dog owners.
There were eight or nine people and probably five or six dogs, not one on a leash. I guess there must be some law about dogs being free to roam and to bark at citizens in the park during snow conditions of which I was not aware.
I wasn’t particularly concerned about it, firstly because I can ride faster than a dog can run and secondly because I myself am more animal than man and communicate well with them. The dogs meant me no harm, they were just being dogs. I did reflect on how inconsiderate dog owners can be, though. It wasn’t the first time that my enjoyment of the park was limited by someone else’s unrestrained interpretation of dog ownership.
If only Piedmont Park had a special area for dog owners to let their dogs be dogs, keeping the rest of the park free for people and dogs on leashes to enjoy themselves together unmolested. Perhaps they could put it in a back corner under a historic bridge and call it the Dog Park.
Oh yeah, they’ve built exactly that and called it that very thing. Happy day!
I guess this fact was unknown to the girl whose shrill voice echoed across the park, because I think I heard her yell for me to “Get out of here” despite my distance of easily fifty yards and the park being a public area. I must have heard her wrong. Surely no one is that full of themselves, that ignorant, or that stupid.
I rode back to my house, thinking along the way about the strained relationship that cyclists and motorists have on the road way. Like the relationship between dog owners and the dog-free in the park, the tension comes from people being inconsiderate, and sometimes from ignorance of the rules.
Instead of going straight to bed when I got home, I again consulted the Sidewalk Tomato, now obscured somewhat by the very snow it predicted yesterday.
It had a great many insights on life and the pursuit of happiness to share which I will not go into (Tomato-subject privilege). All I can say is that I was compelled to build a snowman atop my apartment mailbox.
Snow is the best!