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Wednesday, February 05, 2014

We Don't Need No Stinkin' Fatbikes

These are some friends of mine, I missed out on this particular adventure. I've ridden in this much snow before, it's a challenge just keeping the wheels under you. I saw a truly intrepid soul cycling down Wornall during the worst of it, road-condition-wise, with a steady stream of cars that could just barely maintain speed and direction themselves passing him with a mere foot or two of clearance. A stretch of Wornall, I might add, that I avoid riding on in nice weather—it's about an eleven on a bike-hostile scale of one to ten.

I opted out of riding it—in fact I pretty much opted out of driving it this time. Rather than spend four or five hours fighting to make it less than 13 miles home, I crashed at a friend's house less than a mile from work. It was still an adventure getting there, my Scion xB is the perfect car except when it snows, and we got almost ten inches yesterday. On top of that, Kansas City, Missouri's snow removal plan for side streets is generally a wait-for-the-thaw approach. In an extreme storm like this, they will eventually blade most of the side streets but only when they're damn good and ready. Which I think is outrageous: the city with the highest sales tax rate, plus an earnings tax (they take 1% of what I earn and I don't even live in the city), does the absolute worst job of any municipality in the metro area when it comes to snow removal.

Most of the side streets that get cleaned are done in the private sector, contractors hired by homeowners' associations—groups which should probably be raising hell at city hall about why the snow plows never seem to find their neighborhood, but instead hire it done out of their own pocket. It's probably easier, but it amounts to another layer of taxation.

Sorry, got to ranting a little bit there didn't I?

I had a nice visit with Dan. I originally packed my CPAP and some camping gear with the plan that if the forecast was accurate (never a sure thing around here), I'd sleep on the floor at work rather than fight the roads. I remembered Dan lived nearby and he was fine with me couch-surfing there, and then I realized the thing I should have brought with me was my guitar. Dan was the drummer in the basement cover band that was definitely not called Foolkiller that filled my Thursday evenings with joy and ringing ears a few years back.

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