Thursday, February 28, 2013

Romantic Bike Basket Contents

Peterboro Basket
Riding home from the grocery store today, I enjoyed a fine view of some leeks and potatoes in my basket. Looking down on them as I pedaled, I had one of those experiences where shopping by bike felt like an exciting and novel outing, even though I've been doing it on a regular basis for years now. The idea of carrying leeks and potatoes home on my bike, then cooking them, suddenly struck me as both romantic and funny. My mood lifted, I flashed a silly grin at cars and pedestrians as I passed them. 

Later this got me thinking about how often basket and pannier contents are used to illustrate the appealing nature of cycling. The bouquet of flowers. The French baguette. The fluffy bunch of leafy vegetables. I suppose these things make people think about picnics and outdoor farmer markets. But even beyond that, there is something about the sight of fresh food or flowers sticking out of a bike bag that makes errands seem like fun. I've even had comments about that from strangers on my way home from buying groceries "Oooh, vegetables in your basket - That looks like fun!" Loading said vegetables into the trunk of a car wouldn't have the same effect.

One thing I'd like to carry in a bicycle basket some day is mushrooms. My romantic fantasy is to ride to the forest, then walk my bike down a path strewn with pine needles, picking mushrooms (chanterelles and morels, with which the forest will of course be filled) and placing them directly in the basket. Cycling back, I'll be able to smell their earthy fragrance all the way home, before washing and tossing them on the frying pan with some sautéed onions...

Which reminds me that those potatoes and leeks won't cook themselves, so I better get to it. What's your idea of romantic bike basket contents?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Civia Halsted: the Compact Basket Bike

Civia Halsted
Civia is a Minnesota-based manufacturer of transportation and utility bicycles, known for its unisex designs and reasonable price points. I do not see many Civia bikes in New England. But for some time now I've admired the look of their Halsted model and wondered what it was like to ride. Last week I finally got the chance to find out.

Broadway Bicycle School
The Broadway Bicycle School in Cambridge, MA uses one of these as a shop bike, and they allowed me to take it out for a spin. 

Civia Halsted
The Civia Halsted is a modern variation of a classic front load delivery bicycle. It is designed around a standard size (26") rear wheel and a small (20") front wheel, above which sits a frame-mounted platform. This type of construction creates extra space to accommodate a large front load, whilst also positioning the load lower to the ground. 

Civia Halsted
Because the platform is connected to the bicycle's frame rather than the fork or handlebars, it remains independent from steering. This, together with its low placement, is aimed to minimise the front load's impact on the bicycle's handling. 

The front platform ("rack deck") is rated for 50lb of carry capacity. It can be used on its own, or built up as a front crate/basket using modular side panels (as shown in the pictures). The deck and side panels are made of HDPE plastic. The tubes securing the platform to the bicycle's frame are steel, painted to match the bike.

Civia Halsted
The Halsted is available in one size only, and will fit riders between 5'2" and 6'5". The frame features a dropped and moderately sloping top tube. Thanks to the small front wheel, this results in a very manageable standover height for someone of my size (I am 5' 6 1/2"). I did not have to swing my leg over the back of the bike, but was able to step over the top tube after slightly leaning it toward me. 

Civia Halsted
Another feature of the Halsted frame is the possibility for attaching a plaque to advertise one's business. This is nicely integrated, and makes for a fabulous-looking shop bike. 

Civia Halsted
The Halsted's cro-moly frame and fork are TIG-welded in Taiwan. The finishing is smooth and attractive. The straight, unicrown fork is tiny, on account of the small front wheel, and looks good on the bike. The colour pictured is from 2012, and the current one (shown here) looks to be a light periwinkle-gray.  

Civia Halsted
The front wheel is equipped with a disc brake.

Civia Halsted
The rear with a v-brake.

Civia Halsted
The standard drivetrain is 1x9 derailleur gearing, but the semi-horizontal dropouts make it possible to build the frame up with an internally geared hub.

Civia Halsted
The "cockpit" includes a threadless stem, swept-back handlebars, rubberised grips, city brake levers and MTB style shifter.  

Civia Halsted
Fenders, a rear rack or lighting are not standardly included with the bike. A double-legged kickstand is included (though I did not find it especially stable in windy conditions). 

The low bottom bracket is great for toe-down stopping and full leg extension while pedaling. There is no chance of toe overlap with the small front wheel. The components included in the stock build were easy and comfortable to use. 

Considering that the Broadway Bicycle School has been using this bike for over a year and storing it outdoors for large portions of the day, I thought it to be in good condition. Aside from surface rust around some bolts and components (namely the disc brake and rear derailleur), I saw no sign of weather-related damage.

Civia Halsted
My Civia Halsted test ride consisted of cycling down the road to buy groceries, then riding home to drop them off. After this I circled the neighbourhood with the front basket unloaded, before taking pictures and returning the bike to the shop. In total it was about 4 miles, on a cold and windy day. The groceries I carried were distributed between two shopping bags, and included heavy items such as milk, wine, vegetables and a 5lb sack of apples. In addition to this, I carried my camera and laptop bag, as well as a couple of books and some spare clothing. Loading all of these things into the crate, I felt that it could have been made a bit deeper, with the modular panels sturdier (they rattled a bit in motion). But I was nonetheless able to stuff everything in securely, without the use of bungee cords.

The Halsted's handling felt distinct, but fine, with and without weight in the front basket. Steering did not require special effort, though it had a quality to it that felt particular to this bike. I could definitely feel the weight in the front, but this did not result in any difficulty controlling the bicycle. One thing I noticed, was that I was taking corners wider than normally, but I cannot be sure that this is related to the handling and not to my awareness of the wide front crate. The bike rolled easily uphill and generally felt fun. I also liked being able to keep my eye on my stuff in front of me at all times. In that sense, it was kind of like riding a larger version of my Brompton.

Civia Halsted
I did not see the Halsted's geometry chart until after my test ride. But once I did, I noticed the high-trail front end (trail in the 80s, according to my calculations). Some might consider this unusual for a bike designed to carry so much weight in the front. While I cannot say how the Halsted handles at its maximum carry capacity, with a moderate front load I thought it very ridable. 

When I look at pictures of Civia Halsteds in use, it is apparent that the bikes can also carry substantial weight in the rear. Owners attach rear racks, child seats, even Xtracycle extensions. The Broadway Bicycle School often uses a trailer with theirs.

Still, one major benefit of the small front wheel design, is that it increases the bike's carry capacity while keeping the wheelbase reasonable (1134mm). The overall size of the Halsted is the same as that of a typical city bike, and at 33lb it is manageable to lift and maneuver. The compact basket-bike design is worth considering for those interested in a front-load utility bike. And priced at $1,195 the Civia Halsted is a good value.

Many thanks to the Broadway Bicycle School for the test ride! More pictures of this storied local establishment here.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Front Porch Living

Stylus/Ektar Test Shots
Walking through our neighbourhood, it's always interesting to see how many people store their bicycles out on the porch. Passing one particular block, it seemed like every other house had one. Occasionally readers ask whether storing a bike on the porch is a good idea, especially in the winter months. And as usual, it depends. 

Indoor bike storage can be tough around here, so it's understandable that for many the porch offers a happy compromise. The bike is protected from precipitation by a roof, so it won't be soaking wet or covered in snow come morning. It is on private property and not out in the street, which offers some peace of mind. And it doesn't take up valuable storage space indoors. 

Stylus/Ektar Test Shots
But a porch does not make a bike theft-proof or immune to the elements. It goes without saying that the bike should be locked up securely, ideally with a thick chain. And if you live near salt water, or in an area that gets heavily salted in winter, rust will form despite the roof cover. Components may still freeze, due to moisture getting into them. I have also heard accounts (though have never seen this with my own eyes) of steel bicycle tubes distorting when left outdoors through the winter - most likely due to water condensing, then freezing inside the tubing. 

The best candidates for porch living are either beater bikes that you do not care about damaging, or heavy-duty utility bikes with thick tubing, durable paint, and rust-resistant components. Both categories also have some built-in theft protection by virtue of being perceived as too unappealing or heavy to steal. Personally, I would not hesitate to store a bike on my porch, if I had one - though not a delicate or expensive one. And not one heavy enough to make the porch cave in... something I saw the other day during one of my walks.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Local Give-Away: Basil Tour Panniers

I've received an extra set of sample panniers from the Dutch bicycle accessory manufacturer Basil, to give away locally as I see fit. Can't decide who to give them to, so will use the blog and pick randomly. Local readers, this one's for you:

Basil Tour Panniers 
silver and black
32cm x 12cm x 32cm
26L capacity

Reinforced construction in durable water-repellent 600D polyester; zipper side pockets, double reflective stripes on all sides, bands for LED/ straps/ child's seat. The panniers are a unit, connecting over the top of a rear rack. Inner edges are tapered to prevent heel strike on bikes with shorter chainstays. Good for commuting or touring. 

Give-away terms:

1. You must be reasonably local, as defined by coming to claim the panniers in person from Broadway Bicycle in Cambridge MA. 

2. You must have ridden your bike at least once since February 8th, of which you must supply photographic or verbally descriptive evidence in the comments here.

Otherwise, that's it. Hopefully, this will be a little pick me up for someone braving the snowy weather! If you'd like the panniers, leave a comment between now and 11:59pm tomorrow night (February 20th, 2012), and don't forget to include your email address. I will pick from eligible entries at random.

Basil is making an effort to streamline their North American distribution and we should be seeing more of their products in local bike shops soon. Many thanks to them for the sample panniers, and I hope the recipient enjoys them. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

No More Tears: Clear Glasses for Winter

Winter Goggles
One of my biggest problems cycling in the winter used to be my eyes tearing up. It would get so bad, that the constant flow of tears would blur my vision, making it hard to see where I was going. But like many cyclists, I soon found the solution: clear glasses or goggles.

On moderately cold and windy days, I wear simple resin glasses that I am very happy with. They are unbranded, so I don't have an online source to refer you to, but many bike shops around here sell them at the counter. I bought mine from the Wheelworks, for around $20. What I like about these particular glasses is how comfortable they are, even on long rides. They sit sturdy, but are lightweight and don't press into my face or temples. The lenses are durable and the clarity is good.  

On particularly freezing days with harsh winds, I wear these wrap-around safety glasses from MSA. They cost only $4 and perform double duty as shop safety glasses for framebuilding. The MSA glasses are wonderful for creating a seal from the cold, keeping my eyes warm and dry and the sensitive skin around them protected. An additional benefit for those who wear prescription glasses, is that these can be worn over them. The downside is that they are on the heavy side, and if I wear them for too long they give me a headache - so watch out, if you have issues with that. But for short rides they are excellent, and on days that are cold enough to necessitate them my rides are on the short side anyway.

If you prefer the high-end route, I've tried and really liked the clear version of the new Lazer Argon glasses. These are in the $80-90 range and come with interchangeable lenses, which can be replaced with tinted ones. Oakley, Rudy Project, and most other athletic sunglass manufacturers also make clear or photochromic versions of many models.  

While some cyclists like to wear goggles, I am not a fan: They snag my hair and don't seem to stay put as well as regular glasses if I wear them on the bike. I find that the MSA safety glasses provide the same coverage but with less fuss.

There are many inexpensive options out there for clear goggles and glasses, so try a few and see what works. And if you need more coverage? Well, a few days ago I saw a man cycling with a clear face shield. Perhaps a new fashion trend in winter cycling. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Blank Canvas

Blizzard, Peter Forg, Somerville MA
For many of my cycling friends, winter is the time for making big plans. Like the vast snowscape outside, the seasons ahead spread out, blank canvas-like, glittering with possibilities. We are increasingly spoiled for choice here: Beautiful unpaved rides, formal and informal brevets, invitational weekend getaways - it's enough to make one's head spin. And it all requires budgeting, scheduling, prioritising, oftentimes with advanced planning and registration. And so in the coldest days of February, over cups of scalding coffee, cyclists speak in agonised whispers of events to come in the summer months.

I used to listen with curiosity and detached amusement. As someone who generally resists planning, I could not imagine scheduling a summer's worth of weekends around cycling events. But this time around I am getting swept up in it all. 

Staring at the pile of snow outside my window, I find myself considering a hill climb race. I don't expect to do well at all, but I think I might enjoy it. Feeling that is a surprise to me; wanting to do it is a surprise. But when I imagine the climbing and the festive atmosphere, I want to be there - pedaling and feeling the strain, delirious as I strive for a summit I might not have the stamina to reach. Weird, isn't it, the things we can enjoy.

Plodding along the riverside trail, I contemplate this year's brevet series. I love the idea of randonneuring. But truthfully, I don't think I am serious about it - or ready for it, depending on how you look at it. On long rides that pass through beautiful places, what I really want to do is explore, carry a big camera, stop any time I like and constantly take photos - which is at odds with being on the clock. It might make more sense to finally put aside some time for a light multi-day tour. 

Cleaning the salt and crud off my bike after a slushy outing, I remember long dreamy rides on unpaved roads. It seems almost fictional now: Going from the "baby" D2R2 route to the hair-raising loose descents of the Kearsarge Klassic in a matter of weeks, riding borrowed bikes with unfamiliar components, rental cars at 5:00 in the morning... Absurd. But oh how I long to do it again (minus the borrowed bikes, I hope), and how I long to find more rides in the same vein. I am even willing to plan in advance and make commitments. 

This winter is turning out to be brutal. But the months ahead are a blank canvas, and putting down the initial sketch is keeping me sane. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Keeping Your Bicycle Saddle Dry

Basil Saddle Cover
After the previous post, I’ve had some inquiries about the polka dot saddle cover pictured on my bike. It is from Basil and yes, it is waterproof. But let me backtrack and use this opportunity to discuss saddle covers more generally.

If your bike is equipped with a leather saddle and you tend to leave it outdoors, a saddle cover is essential. Without it, the leather will sag prematurely after getting wet – especially if you ride the bike without letting it dry first. But even many synthetic saddles, if left in the rain long enough, can get soggy – resulting in a wet butt on the ride home. Saddle covers are generally inexpensive and easy to carry around, taking up little room at the bottom of a pannier and saddlebag. If you are wondering which to get, here are some factors to consider.

This may seem like an obvious one. However saddle covers are not always waterproof. Some are designed to protect the saddle from fading in the sun, or to provide a bit of extra cushioning, but have no water repellant qualities. Others are water resistant, but are not intended for all-day or overnight use. Read the product description to determine whether the level of waterproofness is what you need, and ask the manufacturer if this information is missing.

Shape and size
Bicycle saddles come in different shapes and sizes, as do saddle covers. A cover designed for a narrow road bike saddle may not fit over a wide city bike saddle, and vise versa. Some covers are designed with more stretch than others and are more versatile, but overall it's a good idea to check dimensions.

Some covers are designed to stretch over the top of the saddle only, whereas others are designed to also cover the underside. The latter style is useful when you are riding the bike on wet roads, especially if your bike does not have fenders.

Surface Texture 
If a saddle cover has a slick surface texture, it can feel slippery to sit on. If you want a saddle cover that you can keep on when you ride the bike, look for a matte or textured surface.

Brooks Saddle Cover
Sources for Saddle Covers
If you purchase a Brooks leather saddle, a cover is usually included (not sure whether it is the same cover they sell individually - possibly). However, these covers are not fully waterproof and will not fit all saddle shapes. 

On my roadbike, I use an excellent cover that Rivendell used to sell, but no longer does. They've now replaced it with this Aardvark cover, which they describe as equally waterproof and designed to fit a similar range of saddle shapes. I have not tried it, but hear that others are satisfied. They also sell the fancier Randi Jo cover that offers extra coverage and is available in road and city sizes.

On my city bikes I recently started using the Basil Katharina saddle cover (the polka dotted one in the pictures), which the US Basil rep sent me to demo. I know that a number of US bike shops sell these covers in person (try Clevercycles in Portland, Houndstooth Road in Atlanta, Dutch Bike in Seattle and Rolling Orange in NYC) but online they are not always easy to locate. If you do manage to find one (either the Katherina or the Elements series), they are inexpensive, completely waterproof, and available in a variety of patterns. The shape is just right for wide, thick city bike saddles, including those with heavy springs. 

I am sure there are other quality sources, and your suggestions are welcome.

Gazelle Lock-Up
Alternatives to Saddle Covers
In a pinch, a decent plastic bag makes for a fine saddle cover. I do this all the time when I forget my real cover at home or am riding a borrowed bike. The trick is to wrap and tie the bag securely, so that the wind does not blow it away. Granted, sitting on a bag-wrapped saddle is sub-optimal (slippery), but it is better than nothing. 

A more elegant method for those who do not want to buy a cover, is to use a shower cap. Usually they hold in place, but some choose to attach velcro straps for extra security. And of course, if you are the crafty type, you can also make your own cover from scratch using waterproof fabric and elastic. 

Well, I think that pretty much covers it. Lots of options for keeping your saddle dry, for happy riding in wet weather. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Errandeuring and Errant Weather

Post-Blizzard Rain
Today were possibly some of the worst conditions I have ever cycled in - a situation made all the more dramatic by the fact that I wasn't merely cycling; I was erandeurring. But let me start from the beginning. You see, there is an entire culture out there that thrives on turning transportation cycling into a sport in its own right - reinventing commuting as series of challenges to make it more interesting. While this approach is pretty much the antithesis of my own, I am nonetheless intrigued by it. When the utilitaire and coffeeneuring crazes swept the nation last year, I followed along with interest. Loosely modeled on randonneuring, these games involved keeping track of one's coffee shop and utility rides, complete with control cards and minimum mileage requirements. The authors of the Chasing Mailboxes blog in Washington, DC hosted the challenge, diligently collecting entries from participants all over the US, posting updates and results.

This winter they announced their latest project: the errandonnee. Participants are challenged to "complete 12 errands in 12 days and ride a total of 30 miles by bike between February 9-20." A detailed list of rules was again provided, along with control cards. I read through it all and decided - what the heck - to give this thing a try. While riding a minimum of 30 miles in errands over the course of 12 days would not be out of the ordinary for me, I wondered what it would be like to keep track of this mileage, to categorise it according to the rules, and in general to reframe everyday cycling as taking part in a challenge.

Post-Blizzard Rain
The thing I did not foresee, was that the challenge aspect would become quite real. On February 9th we had our blizzard, and on the next day I still did not feel like braving the streets on two wheels. So as of this morning, I had only 10 days to complete the 30 miles of errands. Not only was there plenty of snow still on the roads, but it was now also raining badly.

Post-Blizzard Rain
I may lack the words to adequately describe today's road conditions. There wasn't just snow, there was deep water. Temperatures had risen sharply overnight, with snowbanks melting and additional rain coming down. By mid-day, some streets were downright flooded, and in many cases the water concealed slush underneath. On top of this, it was raining quite hard, with poor visibility and all the extra traffic chaos that comes with that. I now own a bright yellow raincoat for days like this, and that's what I wore. I also always have my lights on when it rains, despite it being daytime.

Post-Blizzard Rain
Even along stretches where the road itself was mostly clear, turns were treacherous, as that was where deep water and uncleared snow were gathered. Street corners were also where snowbanks were at their highest, which, as I soon figured out, meant that cars turning onto the main road from side streets had poor visibility. After a couple of close encounters, I decided the safest place to ride was smack in the middle of the travel lane.

Post-Blizzard Rain
Mid-day traffic was bad, and being on a bike did not put me at an advantage this time. Between the snowbanks and the trucks, there was not always a way to cycle past the standing traffic. My pictures were taken close to home, on a street where I felt it was safe to get off the bike and photograph the conditions of the roads. But for most of my route it didn't feel right to stop. Rain kept coming down, cars were honking at each other and executing all sorts of crazy maneuvers, roads were flooded and/or still covered with snow, and the whole thing was more than a little stressful.

Post-Blizzard Rain
In the course of all this, I completely forgot that I was errandeuring, remembering it only once I'd returned home. So far, the awareness of taking part in a challenge has not made me feel any differently about doing errands by bike. I had to go out today either way, and riding was still preferable to walking in ankle-deep water.

My impression of the utilitaire, coffeeneuring and errandonnee family of challenges, is that they are largely for athlete cyclists who might normally drive for transportation, but are looking to do it more by bike. The competitive paradigm appeals to them, so they've extended it to transportation cycling as a form of motivation. But I do know of cyclists who are purely commuters and have been enjoying the challenges too. Ultimately, I see errandeuring as a celebration of cycling, with its elaborate rule structure as largely tongue in cheek. Now to check whether bonus points are in store for the epic road conditions I've endured...

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Blizzard Report, from Somerville MA

Blizzard, Beacon St, Somerville MA
As you may have heard, we've had a little snow here in the Northeast. We were out of town in the days before it was expected to hit, and hurried to make it back before the travel ban went into effect. Yes: a motor vehicle travel ban for all of Massachusetts was declared, with violations punishable with a year of jail time. Still, here in Greater Boston many doubted the seriousness of the blizzard to come. We've been fooled before with promises of sensational snowstorms, only to receive a measly couple of inches.

Blizzard Front Door, Saturday AM
This time however, the universe followed through. Over 2 feet of snow had piled up outside our front door by morning, and that was after the stairs had been shoveled the night before. 

Blizzard Front Door, Saturday AM
Beyond the front door I could see an awkward heap of snow, which I realised was the neighbours' car. 

Blizzard, Beacon St, Somerville MA
Our street looked like this, after the plows had gone through it.

Blizzard, Beacon St, Somerville MA
The normally busy main road looked like this.

Blizzard, Beacon St, Somerville MA
And this. (Notice anything missing?)

Blizzard, Beacon St, Somerville MA
At around 9:30am I saw a procession of plows making their way down the road. 

Blizzard, Beacon St, Somerville MA
But it continued to snow until mid-morning, quickly covering any progress the plows made with another dusting.

Blizzard, Union Sq, Somerville MA
I encountered surreal scenes, such as this one. Any car that had been left out on the street had now turned into a giant snowbank.

Blizzard, Union Sq, Somerville MA
Once the snow stopped falling, vehicle excavations began.

Blizzard, Union Sq, Somerville MA
They would continue zealously until sunset.

Blizzard, Union Sq, Somerville MA
Clearing sidewalks was tricky, considering how much snow had fallen. Some dug trenches, which had to be navigated single file - the snow nearly waist-high. 

Blizzard, Union Sq, Somerville MA
But for the most part the sidewalks had not been cleared and pedestrians took to the roads.

Blizzard, Union Sq, Somerville MA
Mostly on foot, by sometimes on sleds, snowshoes, and skis.

Blizzard, Union Sq, Somerville MA
I was a little envious of the snowshoes I have to admit; I would love to try them. 

Blizzard, Union Sq, Somerville MA
In the first half of the day, I did not see any bikes being ridden. The road surface was too uneven and soft for most cyclists and bicycles, myself included. 

Blizzard, Beacon St, Somerville MA
At least in the first half of the day, the driving ban was enforced. A police SUV slowly circulated the neighbourhood shouting threats over the loudspeaker at anyone who attempted to drive, other than snow plow operators and city workers. 

Blizzard, Union Sq, Somerville MA
Pedestrian movement was not impeded, and soon people took over the roads. 

Blizzard, Union Sq, Somerville MA
At some point, word came that a party was being held in nearby Union Square. 

Union Square Snow Day, Somerville MA
Pretty soon, it seemed like the entire neihgbourhood headed that way (except those still digging out their cars!).

Union Square Snow Day, Somerville MA
There was music blaring and people dancing. Despite the potentially serious nature of a blizzard of this magnitude, the atmosphere in the entire neighbourhood was downright festive. Those out on the streets were saying hello to one another, and smiling ear to ear.

Union Square Snow Day, Somerville MA
Kids, adults, everyone looked happy to be outdoors, enjoying themselves.

Union Square Snow Day, Somerville MA
Some wore costumes. 

Union Square Snow Day, Somerville MA
Others came ready to fight.

Union Square Snow Day, Somerville MA
Which they did, to the sounds of dance music, with the Somerville Gateway mural as proud backdrop.

Blizzard, Union Sq, Somerville MA
As the afternoon waned and the snowplows laboured tirelessly, I began to see a few bikes here and there.

Union Square Snow Day, Somerville MA
But still mostly sleds.

Blizzard, Union Sq, Somerville MA
And toboggans.

Blizzard, Union Sq, Somerville MA
And skis.

Blizzard, Union Sq, Somerville MA
And various snowboard-like contraptions. 

Blizzard, Union Sq, Somerville MA
I did a lot of walking throughout the day. Many layers were donned to deal with the cold, but nothing out of the ordinary. 

Blizzard, Union Sq, Somerville MA
Others got creative with plastic bags, various DIY overshoes and blanket-capes. 

Union Square Snow Day, Somerville MA
To see our entire neighbourhood so active and energetic at a time when it was expected to be immobilised was quite something. By mid-afternoon a few local businesses opened their doors to meet the foot-traffic demand for coffee, alcohol and groceries. All of these places were packed. 

Blizzard, Union Sq, Somerville MA
It seems that Somerville, MA has weathered the storm well, and there have been no disasters. In the meantime, the snow plows are still at it. Excavations of vehicles continue. And although the motor vehicle ban is now lifted, along the largely unplowed side streets snowshoes continue to rule the roads. 

More pictures here - enjoy the rest of the weekend!