Thursday, January 31, 2013

Gotta love that snow-plow service on the Greenbelt; great for walking, running, biking

Thanks to the plowing crew at Boise Parks & Recreation, the Greenbelt is mostly clear of snow ...
It's certainly cleaner and drier than our driveway ... 
And many side streets in Boise 
Boise State pathway still has some snow ... 
Wait until the afternoon to head out for your Greenbelt adventure, let the ice melt ... 
Boise State walk bridge 
Hi all,

Well, I don't know about the rest of you, but I've been feeling a little cabin-fever creeping up on me lately ... especially during the multi-week deep-freeze in January. It didn't feel right to do anything but cocoon around the fireplace, try to stay warm and try not to fall on your butt or head when walking across slippery black ice in your own fricking driveway. Mother Nature hit us hard these past weeks!

So I found myself pedaling with glee on the Boise River Greenbelt today, enjoying an outdoor cycling experience in 45 degree weather, with partial sunshine. It felt almost like 60, considering what we've been used to with temps in the single digits and teens.

Here's the audio from Steve's appearance on 94.9 FM the River this morning, discussing winter riding on the Greenbelt ...

The pathway was wet in many places, even standing water in places, but practically no snow anywhere on the pavement. Frankly, the pathway is more clear of ice and snow than lots of side streets in Boise! It's certainly more clean than my own driveway :) Thanks to Boise Parks & Recreation for taking such great care of our Greenbelt and thanks to Boise taxpayers for footing the bill!

In the next 10 days, the forecast calls for temps near or above 40 in the afternoon in the heat of the day. That means more melting and totally decent weather conditions for biking, walking, running, walking the dog, taking the babies for a stroller walk, whatever! Well ... I wouldn't go out on roller blades quite yet ... too many puddles and standing water. Also, wait for the day to warm up. Don't go out early in the morning unless you have to commute ... it'll be slick and icy.

For future reference, here are the city's guidelines on Greenbelt winter upkeep:

1. Boise Parks & Recreation plows 20 miles of the Greenbelt path throughout the winter except the natural area between Barber Park and ParkCenter. 
2. Plowing begins when approximately 1” or more of snow falls. 
3. Snow-plow service runs seven days a week, except for Christmas and New Year’s day. 
4. De-icer is used on bridge approaches, bridges, and certain sections of the path that have a steep incline (Orchard/Garden Street) and areas that are habitually in the shade. Staff de-ice using a mag chloride product that is environmentally friendly.

I'd recommend bundling up and heading out to whichever section of the Greenbelt that you like to hike/run/ride. For a longer workout, going from Municipal Park out to Lucky Peak is a great bike ride. It's 18 miles roundtrip to Discovery Park at the base of Lucky Peak Dam. 

Another option is to do a loop ride in the inner city section of the Greenbelt. Today, I rode from Veterans Park to Warm Springs Golf Course and the ParkCenter pedestrian bridge, crossed over to the south side, and rode back via ParkCenter, Boise State, Ann Morrison Park, across the walk bridge, and back. Distance is about 12 miles.  Travel time is 45 minutes to an hour at an active recreational pace. 

My guidebooks, Mountain Biking in Boise and the Boise Trail Guide detail numerous Greenbelt hiking, running and biking sections that you can enjoy. See more details at

I wasn't able to confirm whether Garden City has been plowing its sections of the Greenbelt, so I can't confirm whether the pathway is open and clear of snow between Lake Harbor and Glenwood, or from Glenwood to the end of the pathway several miles to the west. 

Dress in layers for your Greenbelt outing. You'll need to wear long underwear with a pair of light rain pants or sweat pants. My riding shoes got soaking wet today, so you might want to wear warm socks! A couple layers on top and a wind shell will take care of your upper body. Carry a headband or a skull cap to keep your ears warm. It may or may not be needed, depending on when you go. 

An outdoor bike ride sure beats riding the trainer or spin bike indoors, staring at walls! But it will be wet out there while the snow melts ... fenders are a great feature!  
Have fun!
- SS