Sometimes it rains. Today's rain was unseasonal and seemed almost tropical, perhaps because it was close to 60 degrees this morning. Most days, I don't wear my work clothes on my bike, mostly because of sweating in them and feeling gross for the rest of the day, but also because of days with weather like this. I keep them in a waterproof pannier (a worthwhile investment for a year round commuter who doesn't live in the Atacama) and I change into those dry clothes at work. And that's pretty much it. Thereafter, you're inside, you're wearing dry clothes (and maybe a top hat, if you work as a magician or something) and the half hour or so that you spent having sky water (I'm rebranding rain for the hip young demo) hit you in the head is just a memory. I don't know what Amsterdamers or Copenhageners or anyone else who's steadfastly committed to "normalizing" bicycle riding do because, frankly, I don't care. I'm not them. I pack a change of clothes for work and it makes sense.
But avant le deluge, nous. Sort of. I did manage to "fix" both of my bicycle-related issues last night, by swapping out batteries in my front light (much, much, much better) and tightening my pedal (also much better). I didn't do anything about the brake pads because I didn't have spare pads lying around. And what's one more day in crappy weather for pads that are already pretty sucky? When I left the house, it was barely raining at all and the rain remained light through when I arrived at Swing's for #fridaycoffeeclub. For much of the ride, I was riding alternately behind one or another woman bicyclist. I suspect, at least based on some observation, that the percentage dropoff for women riding in the rain is considerably less than that of male riders. I don't have any theory as to why this is. Maybe the smaller percentage of female bicyclists is indicative somehow of a greater level of commitment (intensity might be some kind of applicable term) to cycling compared to their male counterparts? Like, woman who have made the decision to bike commute will do it no matter what? I don't know. Ideas are welcome in the comments.
[As I write this, it appears to be very nice outside. Sunny even, even if a little windy. Screw you, weather Jeebus]
#Fridaycoffeeclub was in full effect and it was great seeing the usuals, as well as a few special guests. I regretted that I couldn't stay longer. Most of this regret comes from the desire to spend more time with delightful company, but certainly some of this regret derived from the fact that my announcement that I was leaving was immediately followed by a loud thunderclap, almost as if I summoned it. To this point, the rain hadn't been so bad, but within a minute or two of leaving, it was horrific. It was raining jungle cats and junkyard dogs (Jungle Cats and Junkyard Dogs is the name of my all-fiddle jam band) and I was soaked through by sheets and sheets of unrelenting sky water. ("Sky water: it's unrelenting" will soon be appearing on bus stops outside of bars in Adams Morgan). For whatever reason, riding in the rain didn't feel imperiling. It just felt wet.
At one point near Dupont, I rode through a puddle that was at least 4 inches deep. I'm glad Rivendell sells braze-on pontoons.
Oh, also, today was the inaugural donning of my Road Holland jersey. It received many compliments, as it should. It will probably be wet for the next 33 months, but still. Awesome.
I stayed wet for the remainder of the trip, though the rain abated somewhat. I noticed that each cyclist I passed seemed to make extra effort to try to make eye contact with me, mostly so we could just exchange glances and momentarily make some sort of connection over the fact that the conditions were rather ridiculous for bike riding and yet we were doing it anyway and it was still probably going to get us to where we were going faster than car or Metro, if a little more worse for wear. But once you decide to leave home, what's the other option? Stop riding and wait for a bus and then sit on the bus in wet clothes? Would that really be any more comfortable? Once you're wet, you might as well just keep going. Some people tend to grit, I tend to laugh about it. There's only so much wet you can be.