Yesterday, the murphy's law of package delivery happened when DHL tried to deliver my package during the only time of the day that I was not home. It was obviously going to happen, so I didn't try and avoid it by staying home all day (if you do that, then they won't deliver at all). So, desperate for my package (new boots), I asked them to leave it at a pick up point in Den Haag for me today! The pick-up point is only 5 kilometers from the train station, so taking the folding bicycle seemed like a great idea...
Then there was a blizzard-like snowstorm.
Today, I woke up to beautiful frosted trees, slippery snowy roads and bicycle paths. Half the trains were no longer running, but I could still get from Leiden Centraal to Den Haag Holland Spoor.
To put a positive spin on it, in addition to picking up my package, I also tested out the Brompton in the snow.
First, I do believe cycling on a snowy path isn't too difficult if you go slowly. If visibility is good, it can even be fun. Wear wool layers and a hat and you'll be fine. Oh, and gloves! The crossing buttons might be frosty.
Soft new snow, is easier than packed and smooshed snow but it can also mask ice underneath. The route I had to take to the pick-up point was on multi-use paths which tended toward the packed and slippery side. (The widest bicycle-only paths were plowed) Slipping isn't so scary if you go slow.
I had to be prepared to step off the pedals at any time for balance or to stop, even if I had the right of way, for nervous drivers who were completely freaked out by the snow.
The bicycle held up very well at the beginning but started to "catch" after 30 minutes on the uphill portions. By catch, I mean the chain was skipping and catching until I shifted to a lower gear. Then, it operated better. There is probably a real technical term for this...
At the same time, the snow had started packing into the fenders and along the rims. This caused the wheels to make strange new noises. I picked up the bicycle and shook it a few times which helped until the snow built up again.
Overall, I think my bicycle held up very well and I felt secure on it. The brakes squeaked but worked, and anytime I felt slipping, I could easily steady myself. At no point, did I wish that someone would pull me along, bundled and warm.
The shifting was weird going uphill but otherwise fine. Maybe proper snow tires would help with slipping, but I think going slowly is enough of a precaution... And I hope it's not going to be this snowy for much longer. The most important thing is to be prepared to stop at any time.
Especially for the relentless cuteness that might cross your path.