Dave Peterson's website got me started by suggesting that bicycles are capable of plowing snow with home made plows. I became curious and that curiosity lead to a chess like winter sport. Chess-like, in that designing a good bicycle snowplow involves strategies, testing, and contemplating what is required to create a more successful design. Sport-like, in that it involves exercise, bicycles, and racing through the snow to clear the pathway for Randy who drags a bicycle trailer with 70 pounds of tools to the airport for work.
The book covers the usual questions about the why, how and when of bicycle snowplowing. What began as a hobby quickly expanded into learning many things about a subject in which so little information is available anywhere. The book covers why some snowplow designs didn't work very well and how I learned to create very effective designs and snowplowing strategies. Of course, the nature of the opponent we call snow is covered as well.
What originally started out as a personal vendetta against winter (pathways the city did not plow) began to morph into something I had not considered. The energy I had been expending on winter cycling training was solitary and perhaps even slightly selfish in that the result was only for my own health benefits.
One day, while contemplating the bicycle snowplowing experiences, I realized that we have the ability to turn our actions into benefits for other people. This would require no more effort than what I was currently doing for winter training but it could benefit other people walking dogs or using pathways to reach bus stops.
Sometimes you start an experiment in life to accomplish something for yourself. That experiment changes you and in the process makes us better human beings and more caring about the needs of our communities.
The reason given for why all the pathways aren't plowed was that there aren't enough people using them. I turned the tables, put the horse before the cart once again, and the number of people using the pathway increased dramatically. That's how we create the numbers for cycling infrastructure! Were cars any different?
Can a bicycle keep pathways open all winter long?
The answer is in the book!
The book can be purchased at lulu.com for $3.99