Monday, the canal skateway closed. Yesterday, the temperature went soaring up above zero, and when I went downtown, I didn't wear gloves, or a hat. The dirty snowbanks were dissolving into the pothole puddles, and my front tire kicked up a pinwheel of greyish droplets, and that was all okay, because I was flying.
Welcome to the season of squelch: the truly dirty, bike-punishing season, where you're so glad to be going faster and not wearing four layers that you don't mind at all showing up at your destination splattered with gritty, salty water.
My pants, after the ride to the office, looked like this (they're supposed to be black):
I did see one woman downtown with a clean bike, wearing a lovely blue wool coat and some nice high boots, and wondered how she'd managed it: there were a few spatters on her boots but I looked like a 4WD in a truck commercial. A few blocks on, when I got caught up in a traffic jam in Old Ottawa South, she breezed by me on the sidewalk and I realized that was probably how she stayed so clean. . .
I also stopped on the way home for new brake pads, a new chain, a chain cleaning kit, and fenders for the second bike, because it's on days like this that you hear the pads grinding down every time you brake. You can actually hear the damage happening to your bike. And you get the urge to grab a radio and get out on the balcony and scrub all the dirt and crap and gunk of the winter off.