25 february 2010

Dutch Snow > Dutch Rain
Last winter I spent in (Ontario, NOT Jamaica) and experienced some serious snow and extreme low temperatures. During the majority of this winter period it was simply impossible to ride outside as I would freeze to death. I do remember that before my first ride, after I had unwrapped and assembled my bike, our neighbor said: 'You must be a brave man to ride outside with this weather!' when he saw me coming out of our house in my cycling wear. It was cold that day (-8C) but I was very pleased that I managed to ride outside. A few days later I learnt that I completed my first ride during one of the 'warmest' winter days of that particular winter! The next months it turned out to be much colder and it was way too cold to stay outside for a long time. In addition, the big old mansion on Baggot Street I was sharing with three Canadian and one Australian housemate had some pretty uneven floors making it pretty uncomfortable and hard to train on an indoor trainer. I did have a great time in Canada bit I definitely do NOT miss the Canadian winter with all its uncomfortable features!

The last decades Dutch winters were pretty mild and it was no problem to ride outside every day. It definitely wasn't comfortable as you'd get wet and dirty, but you wouldn't get frostbites like you would in Canada. Maybe the biggest disadvantage of the traditional Dutch winter is the damage it does to your bike; you can literally here the Euro's coming off your bike when your muddy chain is creaking and your brake pads are rubbing against your dirty brake discs!

A combination between a Dutch winter (not too cold, temperatures above -8C) and a Canadian winter (no mud, but snow) would be perfect! You’d be to ride outside all the time AND your bike parts wouldn’' get dirty and wear out fast!

This winter this wish was fulfilled as my favorite tracks around Nijmegen were covered in snow while the temperature was between -5C and 3C. I am still undecided whether this winter was so cold BECAUSE of global warming(kind of a paradox eh) or whether it was this cold DESPITE global warming. Currently, there is much debate about global warming and I really have no clue whom to believe or what's actually going on. I mean, 10 years ago everybody warned about acid rains but, as far as I know, all the statues in Nijmegen haven't dissolved and nobody seems to care about acid rain anymore.Anyway, I guess I can't do too much damage to mother earth when I am riding my bike... another reason to ride a lot!