Thursday, January 10, 2008

Describing Snow

It seems everyone is familiar with the legend of how the Eskimos have 50 different words for snow. This has largely been exposed as hyperbole at best. According to linguist Pinker, "counting generously, experts can come up with about a dozen."

That's a bummer, because if that many words did exist to describe different kinds of snow, I think it would be fun to revive them and use them.

We've had gobs and gobs of snow this year and I've just about had enough. Liza loves it. She's all over the place on her kicksled. Maddie had enough a month ago.

We woke up to 3 more inches today. That 3 inches is on top of the 7 inches that fell yesterday on top of the hard pack ice/snow from the last melt-freeze. Riding around town on this stuff, you get just about every kind of snow surface, except the wet-slush, though if you believe the weather reports, that's coming at the end of the week.

The hard part is the deep, sandy stuff at the intersections; even with my fatty 2.5" tires, I get hung up. The snow is more sandy when it's cold. The same intersections when the temp is in the high 30's will be easy (but messy) to cut through.

I stick to the side streets with this kind of snow. The arterials are barely cleared enough for cars. I figure since I'm on the side street, where there's one set of tire tracks, I'm not going out of my way for cars that want to get by. They have to wait, as it's way more inconvenient for me to drive off into the deep rutted stuff to let them pass, than it is for them to wait or go slowly until they can get around me. This approach has been working for me this year and I've not even gotten a sour look. Mostly waves and smiles.


Anonymous said...

Suprized looks and then smiles with a shake of the head at this crazy preson on a bike, at least that's what I got yesterday Joe

Christopher Johnson said...

You guys riding in the snow country have my utmost respect. Keep the fascinating posts coming. For some of us way down here in Texas, it is like reading a good science fiction tickles the imagination, but it will never happen to me.

ken said...

I've noticed drivers cutting me a lot more slack than usual, too. They probably assume that I'm going to crash right in front of them, so they keep their distance.

So maybe in the summertime, the trick is to ride really erratically and act like you're going to crash every half-block or so.

John Speare said...

Ken: that's actually not a bad method to get folks to slow down. I've read about it and I've tried it. For narrow sections of road (think of that section on Riverside going west off Monroe, where you can get doored if you hug the right, and run over if you stay in the middle) -- when you hear a car behind you, wobble a bit and look unsteady, they'll slow down every time.

Fucking Bike Club said...

That comment from TX makes me miss my snowless past.

EvilElf said...

Great picture with light! I think the wobbling idea is right on the money. They do slow down.

This morning I wobbled a lot - and not on purpose!

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