Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Big Chill

Compared to the northern cities, we don't have much to complain about... but Atlanta has seen a bit of wintry weather this week. Monday and Tuesday saw lows in the mid-teens, and we didn't get above freezing for several days. Although it was cold, it was also dry, and cycling was no trouble at all. Just a couple of extra layers. For myself, I added a thin balaclava under my hat and scarf, wore a thick wool sweater, and put on some thick acrylic tights under my pants. I also wore my warmest gloves with a liner underneath. And I was perfectly fine for the 30 minute ride to work. OK, my toes got a little cold, but I was wearing the same midweight wool socks and dress boots that I had been wearing all autumn...

Then things got exciting. They were predicting snow on Wednesday night, and I was really looking forward to it. I love snow! It's so pretty. I figured I would take my bike on the train if it got bad before I left work. But instead of snow, we got ice. Super-slick sheet ice, black ice on the bridges, ice on everything. Not like a real ice storm that knocks down all the powerlines, just freezing rain that fell wet and froze when it hit the cold ground. The news gave out some description of a "thin layer of arctic air at ground level" or something like that.

At any rate, it created havoc for commuters. No one had expected the ice, so they left work at their normal time and promptly started sliding off roads and crashing into things. I know people who fell walking, who fell bicycling home, who had to abandon their car miles from their house. In fact, thousands of cars were left in the road, traffic on highways and suburban arterials was at a near-standstill, and over 1,000 car crashes were reported. I had no trouble cycling to and from the MARTA station, and MARTA was running just fine. I have to admit feeling a little smug about this, and also feeling guilty that I feel smug...


  1. MARTA = awesome, especially in weather like that! :)

  2. Safe and secure on steel tracks... It almost feels like cheating.

  3. I live in the northern exurbs, and getting home took a while (like 5 hours). Just one more reason I wish the goobers would stop blocking MARTA extensions.

  4. A friend of mine just returned to Vancouver from Atlanta. So he left the icy south to return to one of the warmest and rainiest winters I've ever seen here! We've had one day of snow and a couple of days where it got below freezing so far. On one of those days I did manage to run into some ice and perform a solo Three Stooges routine on my bike though.

  5. I used to visit Atlanta from time to time in the 80's and loved MARTA. To me, a city is just a cut above when it has local rail service, although I've yet to live in one that does. My goal is relocating to a city where I can combind bike, rail and bus service and live completely car free.

    Here in Flag, winter is pretty cold due to high elevation. Smartwool socks are a godsend. They keep my feet warm and dry, even when skiing in deep snow. They cost more but are worth every penny. Haven't worn their gloves yet but they will be my first post-Christmass purchase.

  6. Ice can be a doozy! One minute every thing is fine, and a moment later you are helplessly sliding backwards down a hill, in a ditch, or just laying on the ground wondering what happened!

    Vancouver is awesome. Haven't been back since I was a kid but I would love to...

    She Rides - have you seen the Smartwool tights? Lust... I have a lot of socks in the Smartwool style.