Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Winter Transportation - A Random Thought Brought an Unexpected Theme

We'e temporarily out of the deep freeze up here in the Frozen Northlands, and I'm breathing a sigh of relief. We might actually push above freezing for an hour or so today, but we won't be in the sub-zero at all until a quick drop on Friday night. We're also possibly snow-free for up to a week, which suits me just fine. I'm sure all of the skiers are grumbling about that, but this is Minnesota - basically a land without much topography. The entire idea of downhill skiing in Minnesota has always seemed to be a big joke to me - a former Aspenite and resident of Colorado with it's Rocky Mountains and multitude of ski areas. 

I learned to ski at Buttermilk Mountain in Aspen. It's a 
friendly mountain, but my equipment was really quite 
poor (hand-me downs from my aunt, and really appreciated 
since I didn't have money for rentals or new equipment). 
I enjoyed skiing enough to ski several more ski areas 
in Colorado during my college years, but it was never 
a great love of mine. Give me an ice skating rink and 
a pair of ice skates and I'm MUCH happier. 

The one thing that a lot of people do up here (besides ice skating and ice hockey) is cross-country skiing. I admit there's probably something quite wonderful about getting into the "wilderness" - rural or urban - and the silence of the skis against the snow. However, I've never really been very interested in cross-country skiing, and I think, after having said "Thanks, no thanks," for more than half a century, I'll leave that experience for others. 

The Twin Cities (and other Minnesota cities) have a 
large grouping of groomed trails for cross-country skiers. 
You don't have to go very far to park your car, put on your 
skis, and lose yourself in the swoosh of the skis against 
the packed snow. Golf courses are especially prized for their 
groomed pathways in the winter snow. All of the municipal 
parks also feature cross-country trails. 

I'm also not a snowmobile person. I love motorcycles, and I guess a snowmobile is more similar to a motorcycle than a car - after all, you don't have a metal shell all around you on a snowmobile or a cycle. But although I adore motorcycles, I've never really seen the enjoyment aspect of a snowmobile. I can see the function of a snowmobile, however, especially for those people who live lives in very remote areas. It's how they manage to get around in the winter, and get to areas where they can purchase their groceries, etc. As transportation, I think snowmobiles are wonderful. As recreation, they don't quite do it for me. 

Snowmobiles are big business here in the Frozen Northlands. 
I can see the appeal - I love the entire concept. But I rather 
hate the noise and the pollution. Polaris, one of the larger 
manufacturers, has announced they are developing an 
electric snowmobile. That would be magnificent. 

A lot of die-hard bicyclists ride winterized bikes in this season. The bikes tend to have wider tires, allowing for more traction on icy roads. The riders are all bundled up like the Abominable Snowman riding a bicycle. I think they're a bit crazy (especially when our temperatures fall to sub-zero), but they seem quite competent and seem to actually enjoy it. I have to admire their fortitude, but I'll stay in my nice heated car, thank you very much. 

Winterized bicycles usually have fatter tires, often 
with small blunt spikes on them for additional traction. 
I can't think of anything more miserable than commuting 
to work on a bicycle in sub-zero temperatures, but I've 
known people who were on their bikes every day of the 
year, no matter what. 

So, that's where my thoughts brought me today - LOL. I would never have thought about writing a blog about winter transportation, but here it is. I hope that your transportation choices today bring you to your locations safely and quickly, and that you have a wonderful day. I'll be back tomorrow with another random bit of thought trivia - LOL. 

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