Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I'm Bikin' in the Rain ... Just Ridin' in the Rain ...

... what a not-so-glorious feeling, I'm soaking again ...

I've been working this week -- working, as in going in to school, versus the work that I've been doing at home for much of the month. With the work comes the desire to ride to work instead of confining myself in a car or subway in the July heat. Or the July rain. Which ever.

So, my utter commitment to riding to work, and then to pick up Little Squid from camp, has led to some soggy rides this week.

On Muesday the weather report was a little iffy but it was dry when I set out for work. By the time I left school for camp the sky was looking a little yellow and, after riding half a block, I turned around, brought my bike back into school, and ran up the stairs to my boss's office (from whence I am working this week so she can get some time off) to close the windows.

Good move.

I then pedaled sedately to camp and, arriving a few minutes early, sat in a nearby park with my knitting until pick up time. Just as I was walking the bike to the camp building I felt the first drops. Hmm, I thought. Maybe just air conditioner shpitz? (We get a lot of that from window units and I was in denial.) I continued on and, leaving my bike half under the overhang, unlocked Little Squid's bike, reattached his wheel, and did my usual parking of it on the side of the building. Not under the overhang. I then took out my knitting and proceeded to wait. (His group always gets out late and I always get there early.)

Then it started to rain. A light, but steady and undeniable, rain.

I moved both of our bikes under the overhang and put away, in my waterproof panier, my knitting. And then my cell phone (it travels in my jersey pocket). And my watch. (I was wearing my good "work" watch versus my summer "can take a beating and some rain" watch.) The other mothers and I sheltered as the rain came down in fairly heavy drops for several minutes.

By the time Little Squid came out, the rain had mostly abated and we decided to pedal home.

It continued raining lightly for the first couple of miles (the ride is just under 6 miles) and then ... with an ominous roll of distant thunder ... the skies opened up. We pedaled pell mell for the nearest shelter, about a quarter mile ahead. The rain was sheeting sideways, right at us and was so fast, hard and heavy that I could not easily catch my breath, I just kept sucking in water instead of air!

Achieving the cover of the West Side Highway (also called the Joe DiMaggio Highway) which runs above a section of the greenway for about 1.5 miles, we rode to the last sheltered pull off before the "point of no return," the end of the highway which spelled the end of any shelter other than the rare awning, until home. Sharing the sheltered space with another parent-kid combo, we waited out the worst of the rain until clearing skies and lighter drops seemed to indicate that the storm was moving toward New Jersey.

We made our way home, arriving with the very last of the rain drops.

When we got home we were somewhat squishy but not "wring out your socks" soaked. Not too bad and nothing to really regret tho I promised to steer clear of the greenway in the future if electrical storms were predicted.

One would think that this was a lesson learned.


Obviously you do not know me that well.

Yesterday was lovely. Hot, but lovely. And totally uneventful. The only moisture on my clothing was caused but my bodies natural reaction to the day's heat.

Today? The signs were all there. The totally grey skies. The ominous weather report. The fact that Squidette was not riding again this week by choice ... I, however, listened to the voice that said "Squidette is performing in Morningside Heights and you work in East Harlem. The easist way to get from one to the other is by bike."

And so I rode. The ride to work was fairly uneventful except for the usual idiots. Work was not uneventful but I dealt as I must and, leaving promptly, half an hour later than I was supposed to, I rode off to Squidette's camp.

The sky was grey-green but the fates were with me. I arrived just in time for Squidette's performance and was only a little damp due to the exertion and heat. Mostly the heat. I just don't push myself that hard when riding alone.

Squidette performed with the String Ensemble (with bassoon) and then again, solo. I kvelled. And then I left, leaving Mike in the audience, with the thought that I should get moving to "beat the rain."

It was already raining when I got outside. By the time I'd unlocked my bike I was pretty wet and thinking that the subway might be a good idea. But I had no metrocard. But I did have a credit card which is almost as good.

By the time I'd pedaled to the nearest subway station I was already soaked and figured that I could not really get anymore wet. The rain was warm and the thought of schleping my bike underground to the overheated subway platform and then on to the overchilled subway was not a pleasent one. So I rode on. All the way home.

The rain was fairly heavy but was not as driving as Monday's storm. Occassionally I'd see a dim flash of lightening and hear a low rumbling of thunder but on I cycled, counting off the blocks by 10's. The ride was 100 blocks, a little over five miles with the extra east-west blocks.

I stayed on the streets, sticking to a lightly trafficked avenue and rode fairly steadily until 64th street, when, due to a need to breath some air with my water, I took cover in a bus shelter for a few minutes. The rain was still not as bad as that brief episode on Monday but I needed a short breather.

The next part of the ride continued as the first, with water pouring into my bike shoes. I think my brakes were sending the spray directly down the inside of my ankles.

Then the bike started to wobble a bit. I pulled out of the street and looked down and discovered ... a flat tire. Then I looked up and realized that I had only 5 blocks to go. And, it had, mostly, stopped raining.

My clothes were dripping wet when I got home. My socks will take days to dry. I need to replace my inner tube.

And I'd probably do it again. But not tomorrow.

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