Archives for category: Cycling

Here in New York, the prospect of the federal government shutdown isn’t really going to hurt, unless you’re a tourist or, you know, a federal worker.

If John Boehner keeps chucking his toys out of the pram, forgetting what the 1995 shutdown did for Newt Gingrich’s reputation, then we’ll see a few closures. Anyone who picked this weekend to see the Statue of Liberty or Ellis Island is going to be mightily pissed off. We’ll still get our post, we’ll be able to get on planes, people will still get their social security cheques and food stamps, and bicyclists will still get arrested for speeding.

Any New Yorker who does work for the federal government, however, will find their style severely cramped. Because while you’re furloughed, it’s not just that you’re not being paid to work, it’s that you’re not allowed to work, on pain of a $5,000 fine or even two years in prison. And as this excellent story cheerily reported, that means going total cold turkey on email while you’re not in the office. Terrifying.

This is how cold the winters get in New York: today I burnt my fingers and thumbs on the wind. I actually have minor frost bite.

The funny thing about the weather in here is that it rarely feels as cold as it says on the news. Most of the time, it’s a dry cold – very different from the damp English chill that sinks into your bones.

This is what I was thinking when I got on my bike today to meet some new friends for lunch. Minus six degrees centigrade? Ah, it’ll be fine once I get going.

Big mistake. Huge.

Because newbie cyclist that I am, I didn’t account for the wind chill factor. I was out for 90 minutes, and it took 10 minutes to calm down and defrost once I got back inside.

How stupid do I feel? Very. Not least because I also can’t help feeling a tiny bit proud of myself for getting out of the house in this weather. It’s only going to get colder, after all…