close to noontime i figured i'd go out and get some groceries. the answer to the question of whether or not i should've put the bicycle away in the basement during yesterday's rainstorm followed by a hard freeze is a resounding "yes." the bike itself was fine; it was the u-lock that was all frozen on the inside that i couldn't turn the key. in a battle against ice i have the ultimate weapon: i went inside and boiled some water with my electric kettle. with my steaming teapot i went outside and poured the liquid into the metal lock. it took just a second before everything came lose and i was able to unlock it. afraid that the lock might seize up again, i opted for a combination chain lock instead (that'd been sitting inside the house).
the frozen bike lock could've been a sign to take another bike instead, because i soon realized the brake levers were frozen shut. i kept squeezing them but they wouldn't budge. instead of turning back though, i decided to keep on going, figuring maybe with enough time one of the brakes might come loose (not likely on this below freezing day), or if i went slow enough, it'd still be safe. turns out it's totally not safe riding a bike without any kind of brakes, and even more dangerous with all the ice and snow and cars. funny how you don't miss something until it's gone.
all was fine for the first few blocks when i was riding on relatively flat roads. but when i approached my first incline - even though it was just a very slight dip in the road - i suddenly realized my deadly miscalculation as i quickly sped down the road, unable to stop. i made a tight turn, fortunate that there was no cars or icy patches. next was a stretch of uphill biking, which was fine, because the ascent naturally slowed the bike down. but apparently i didn't learn my lesson because once i got to the summit, instead of getting off my bike, i decided to take a chance and stay on. that is, until i realized how steep the descent was. i turned into the sidewalk so i could get off, but a woman suddenly appeared. in order to avoid hitting her, i hop off my seat (my crotch painfully landing on the top tube) and used both my feet to halt flintstone-style. i managed to evade plowing into the woman (although i definitely scared her) but clipped the side of a snow bank (sending out shards of flying ice) as i continued struggling to stop the bike on its icy downward trajectory. finally i managed to stop, and wisely dismounted to walk the bike to market basket, which was about a block away.
market basket wasn't very crowded today, which seemed strange. i got $30 worth of groceries and steeled myself for the ride home. i tried the brakes again, they were still frozen. i finally learned my lesson though, walking the bike down hills. it was a little harrowing riding home, but i made it back safe and sound, only to have my milk crate slip off my bike in front of my house, crashing my groceries onto the pavement. fortunately all my food was safe (might want to give that lettuce an extra rinse though, to wash off the road salt). i came back outside and pushed the bike into the basement. no more outdoor storage on cold freezing days!
this is what i bought:
i'm only advertising it because it's probably the healthiest grocery list i've purchased in a long time! no bags of potato chips, no frozen dinners, no high sodium cans of soup. but tell me this: why is pound cake so darn expensive? also from the list you can see i'm entering a chocolate milk phase. chocolate milk from powder, not from syrup, like the olden days. for a while i was on a tea kick, but now i'm swinging back towards the cold drinks.
i finally stopped working by 8:00, racking up some serious hours. i'm in pretty good shape, having finished all the sections, with the next two days devoted to bug fixing. i made a chicken caesar salad with enough leftover to eat it again tomorrow. i watched the season (and possibly series?) finale of human target, followed by the 2nd season premiere of justified.