I have to admit to a short-lived bout of extreme smugness today.
One of the main bridges bringing commuters into Vancouver is out of commission for the next few weeks, due to fire damage to the wooden (!) trestles under the bridge deck.
The early morning news was full of shots of nose-to-tail gridlock, from various traffic cameras and the ridiculously redundant Global 1 chopper. (WHY do they feel the need to bring us live air-borne footage of strings of tail lights in the dark, with no other features or landmarks discernible? And WHY is half of each Global 1 update taken up with advertising for Kal-Tire or whoever?) Amid the genuine acknowledgement of how hellish the commute is going to be for our suburban neighbours came a flash (or two, or three) of devilish schadenfreude for the polluting, commuting, I-don't-want-to-carpool drivers.
Switching off the TV and running ever so slightly late if I wanted to make it to the gym before work, I registered the freezing temperatures as I went into the garden to get my bike out of its storage area. What a beautiful day - sun at last, reflecting off the Lions in all their pinkish snow-capped morning glory, steam and fog mixing over the city's gleaming skyscrapers.
My foot slipped on some heavy frost as I pushed off from the back alley - no biggie, the actual road looked pretty much clear.
And it was, for about seven blocks - over a major intersection, and just far enough on my way that I decided it would be silly to go home. The frost and ice were bound to get better as I went further down the hill.
Except they didn't. I adjusted my stopping distance at the first set of lights - no problem. I continued as the light turned green, going more slowly than normal, and mentally readjusting my expectations from my workout.
And then, as so often happens, a car approaching from my right on a side street decided to turn left by going the wrong way around a roundabout, with no signal.
I had no idea that I knew how to make my bike fishtail in such an interesting and impressive manner.
Needless to say (for I am a huge wuss), I lost my nerve and ended up walking the rest of the way. Walking CAREFULLY as I crossed various very slippery side streets. Some braver souls were cycling very slowly and gingerly down the hill, but I wasn't the only one who got off and pushed. I didn't make it to the gym, of course, meaning that I have to go now instead - yuck, it'll be all busy and hot and sweaty.
That's what I get for being such a smug little no-bridge - a frustrating commute that took three times longer than usual, and the need to find an alternative route tomorrow.
Karma's a bitch.
(P.S. Is it too much to ask that people who live on bike routes scrape their car windows, rather than pour hot water all over the car, which then cools and freezes into huge icy patches for cyclists to either fall on, or have to swerve to avoid? I know it takes a little longer, but is five minutes of their time really more precious than someone's life? Surely it's a litigation issue, if nothing else).