Friday, May 15, 2009

A Strange Relationship with Rain

People seem surprised when I ride on a rainy day. You'd think that was literal acid, not just acid rain coming out of the sky. It's just water. In mild weather you can dress for it. In hot weather you can just get wet.

Some rainy days seem like more fun than others. On a good rainy day I charge into it like a doped favorite in a spring classic. On a less good day I lurch forward like the same favorite in his burnt-out declining years. It's all riding.

Yesterday my real rain bike had a flat tire when I pulled it off the hook to head out on a sunny morning. The forecast called for showers by the evening commute. Fortunately I could slap clip-on fenders on Blue. I put a rack on Blue last week. So I had a fixed gear for the wet work, should the wet work happen.

Showers were more like steady rain. Our high in the 70s never happened, so my conservative layering options turned out to be just enough for the soaking I got on the ride home. Temperatures in the 50s, especially with rain, drag a lot more heat out of you than you might expect.

The clip-on front fender actually seemed to direct the flow of water off the front tire onto my feet. I don't recall that it does that on other bikes, and I can't think how it might sit differently on this one. I could puzzle over that as I pushed along, slowly saturating. At least the fender kept the spray from coming right around and splashing in my face, as it would if I had no protection at all.

A kind friend stopped to see if I wanted to hitch a lift with her on Route 28. I thanked her, but said that I was about to get to the good part. At the height of land I get to flip the wheel to high gear. The tailwind fell disappointingly short of the 30 miles per hour we'd been told to expect, but at least it was something. I'd been looking forward to it all day. So I pushed on.

The rain intensified. The weather will have its laugh at my expense. But it's okay. I was on a fixed gear. I had tights and a jacket. Everything was soaked, but I knew I could stay ahead of the chill for long enough to get home.

Here it is, May, and I was building a fire in the wood stove. It was a bit of overkill, but I have nails in the floor joists around the wood stove area so I can hang things to dry. I peeled off the dripping layers, wrung out the gloves and socks, hung the jacket, vest, tights and shorts and proceeded gratefully to a hot shower. Mission accomplished.

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