16 February 2014

Snow, Snow, Snow

February is usually the worst month for winter cycling weather in Tokyo.  The nice clear weather of December is gone, and we get our share of wet and cold days.  It is often treacherous to venture into the mountains and even the hills around Lake Sagami, black ice on the descents, especially on the Northern slopes. But at least it is possible to ride up the Tamagawa toward Oume, or around the Miura Peninsula south of town.

What we do not get, in Tokyo, is significant snow.  At worst, we get a few inches of wet stuff once or twice a winter, and we can cycle again quickly, usually the next day.  I can gloat over my friends in the U.S. as they need to stop cycling entirely for weeks at a time.

Not this year.

On Saturday, February 8, we got a significant snow fall -- 20-25 cms (8-10 inches) or more of dry snow.  The weather stayed cold enough that it took days to melt.  I was finally able to ride my bike into town on Tuesday the 11th, a public holiday with light traffic (and so it was possible to avoid getting pushed out of the main lanes and into the snow lining the streets.

The snow was gone by Friday ... just in time for the next storm.  This one started early Friday, with light snow until early evening, then heavy snow all night, followed by a few hours of rain.  By late Saturday morning Tokyo had another 25 cms of very heavy snow.  Kofu, in Yamanashi, got a record 108 cms of snow by 11AM Saturday.   Maebashi on the plains of Gunma, where I did a Brevet this time last year, got almost 70 cms.  Of course, Chiba cancelled its Saturday 200km Brevet.  The waether  warmed up by Saturday afternoon, and is warm again on Sunday.  But way too much snow and slush for cycling.  Still over 70 cms on the ground in Kofu!

And what traffic there is on the streets seems to be trucks with traditional metal tire chains, their rattling loud against the bare pavement on the main streets.  Will we even see potholes in Tokyo over the next month or two?  Will I actually suffer a flat tire on my commute from the crap left on the road from this weather mess ... for the first time in years?

Snow on the veranda

Snow on the back section of the house
 I may even get out the trainer and get some exercise indoors while watching the "winter" Olympics on the Black Sea.

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