Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I Am Dry

Somehow there is a difference between commuting because you want to and commuting because you have to. Either way it’s still a bike ride, and that’s a good thing, but if you’ve ever been in the position of being forced to commute, you probably know what I mean.

Today I was more or less forced to commute.

Excuse me, I can hear someone politely interrupting, how can you be more or less forced? Either you are forced or you aren’t.

Yes, that’s a good point. How about this, then…for reasons beyond my control, it was a really good idea for me to commute today.

We’ll accept that.

Thanks. Now, the weather was a pretty nice 54 degrees Fahrenheit out there and not much wind, so what’s the difficulty? It is going to rain today. The question of exactly when it will rain was still open for consideration when I left home, and I was rather hoping the question would get stalled in committee until after I got to work.

I was a bit miffed when I left home. I admit it. The end result of this was that I kicked hard going out of the driveway. The hill just down the road loomed over me, but I stood up and powered up it, barely losing any pace at all. My legs, who hadn’t been expecting this sort of thing when they woke up, registered a complaint, but we kept going.

I was about halfway to work when I suddenly asked myself why I was going so hard. I had plenty of time, so why not slow down and actually enjoy the ride? Now that was an excellent question, even if I do say so myself, and I liked it so much that I did slow down.

Now that I was going so hard I had time to look around me. I could see the trees and the grass, the road kill and the sky which was full of heavy full bellied gray clouds. In fact, these clouds were hanging low and looked distended like bags filled with water just about to the bursting point.

Oh, yeah. That was why I had been keeping up a good pace. I was racing the rain. Well, now that I had slowed down, I just wasn’t all that inclined to speed back up again, so I didn’t.

There was a small shaggy dog that raced out after me. I’ve had meetings with this dog before, but this time I was on the opposite side of the road and traffic was heavy enough that he wouldn’t be coming out after me.

I watched a guy in the left lane slow down and stop. He wanted to turn left, which meant he would have to cut across my path. Now, I am never entirely sure that people doing that sort of thing see me when I am on the bike (a healthy concept, I’m sure) but I could hear a car coming up behind me, and I was pretty sure he saw that car. As the car passed me, I kicked the pace up just long enough to let the car shield me as we passed the driveway the guy wanted to turn in to. I don’t know if this was a good idea or not, but I’m here writing this now, and that must count for something.

The first raindrop hit me. It was a big one that splashed right on my nose. There were no others for quite some time. I finally spotted the school I work at just as the second raindrop hit me about ten minutes later. Slow storm.

Raindrops three, four and five hit me as I was turning into the parking lot. Now, the fact that I could count them either means that that the drops were falling quite some time apart or that I was going really really fast. You may choose the option you like best. Me, too.

The closest brush with a car did not occur on the busy road I traveled to get to work but in the parking lot, where a lady driving a two seater convertible sports car which apparently handles very badly indeed was apparently unable to stay on her own side while going around a traffic island and came close to scraping me off my bike.

I made it in with only a few more raindrops hitting me and, hey, what do you know, more or less forced or not, it was a good ride, just like they all are.

See you on the road.


  1. You are braver than me this morning! I keep using the 60-70% chance of rain that seems to be forecasted every friggin day as an excuse not to commute. Well, my new road bike is finally ready for the streets, and I want to ride it gosh darn it! See you out there soon!

  2. The sacrifices we have to make:-)