Snow Ride

A thaw came this past Saturday, allowing me to get a brief ride in around the Schyulkill River.  I'm sure I looked like a complete dork, on my red beach cruiser with decorated basket, but I didn't want to risk riding through ice and snow patches on my road bikes skinny tires.  My beach cruiser has fat wide knobby tires, and a wicked heavy frame that's perfect for staying stable on shifting sands, mud and ice.  Plus when I ride this bike on distances longer than my 4 mile round trip commute to work and home, I feel as though I get in a much harder bike work-out.  The 16 mile round trip from my house to East Falls Bridge felt as though it were more like 20 or even 25, adding some generous exaggerated distance for the one-speed, 50 pound bike weight and the cold winter conditions.  It was a perfect afternoon for a solo ride, nearly pedestrian, runner, roller-blader and cyclist free paths and glorious clear winter light.  I noticed few people out and about, but intrepid runners and riders who were on the path were pleasant and friendly.  The weather was in the low 40 degree temperatures; warm enough for some people to be jogging or riding in shorts and t-shirts!  There were many ski tracks in the snow along the river too.  I guess my biking on a beach cruiser is no more odd a sight than a skier is in an urban snow setting.  The days are starting to get longer so a mid-day to late day ride lets me get in a quick trip and still be home before dark.
Along the ride, I spied a few odd and sundry nature sightings: a dead hawk in the bike lane at 16th and Spruce Street - too sad of a find actually.  I'd much rather find the Hawks in Rittenhouse Square, swooping down on the vermin in the park.  Not sure how this one died.  My guess is that it may have been clipped by a car as it was about to grab an unsuspecting pigeon.  This is by far one of nature's cruelests deaths - this majestic bird dead in the street.  Its death has bothered me all night and day.  
The other interesting and far less disturbing sight I found was this gigantic icicle.  Under one of the bridge over-passes, I think it's the Girard Avenue Bridge, the path along Kelly Drive cuts through an arched over-pass.  The view from this point, which is about 1/2 mile past the Boat Houses, is spectacular - the river opens up here framed by the arches of the Bridge and ahead of you the path curves around, lined with cherry trees that in the Spring burst with cotton candy pink flowers.  The icicle looked like a rocket ship or crazy tentacled deep sea creature.  I stopped to take a few photos, awed by its size and holding power along the small ledge of wall and curved upward arch span.  Good thing I took photos when I did, within a half hour it came crashing down.   As I returned to the spot, the icicle had already fallen, creating a huge crater hole in the mud in which it landed.  I saw part of the mammoth ice sticking up out of the mud and then it fell over and broke in two pieces.  The original crash must have been loud and thunderous; seeing and hearing the remains piece fall and break into two pieces was loud.  
It felt so lovely to be out in the fresh cold air, enjoying winter sights.  Of course now I've got the early signs of Spring Fever but I know that Spring is just a month away.  If I work it right, I might just be able to make March work for me, taking advantage of the early Day-Light Savings time change and those crazy weather days where you start out the day wearing a t-shirt because it's so sunny and balmy and end the afternoon back in your full winter gear.  Spring Training, Triathlon and Biking Training is just around the bike path!

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