The rainy season has finally arrived in Little Bay Root. We had a few false starts, but mostly it has been dry and cold, with a bit of moist to keep us on our tows. The current storm is the first real all-day rain that we’ve had all winter. Yesterday there was snow overnight and rain in the morning, so the morning commute was through wet slush. A sure recipe for cold riding.
We don’t really have a hard winter here, not like those poor saps in New England or the Great Lakes states. We have a lot of rain and some cold and occasionally ice or snow. Commuting by bike through the winter is more about persistence and being stubborn than being a sort of iron man. I just layer on the merino as it gets colder and rain gear as necessary.
Riding in snow or ice, even the slightest bit can be scary. Wednesday as I headed down the hill away from my apartment, I discovered that my brakes couldn’t stop me. Hackles rose as I started hydroplane, trying to keep the bike upright and unclip a foot. Oh, did I mention that I was approaching an intersection and I had a car behind me. Awesome. Thanks to a little skill on the bike and a fair amount of luck, I was able to get a foot out and the bike stopped.
A moment like that sets such a tense tone for the rest of the commute. I didn’t have any more trouble stopping during the remaining five miles of the ride, but I have to admit that I was a bit frightened by the streetcar tracks downtown. So far I’ve managed not to let them crash me, but they always seem to be there on rainy days menacing me.
Thursday’s rides were just wet. It was coming down in buckets in the morning. The street was flooding outside my building and that didn’t bode well. On the ride, there is a dip in the path that I take. During heavy rains, the whole area floods and the water at the bottom of the dip can be over a foot deep. This was one of those days. As I approached, I saw another rider struggling my way, weaving as she tried to steady her bike and calling out that I should be wary of the deep water.
I knew this already, so I was slowing and angling for what I knew to be the shallowest ford. I can only assume that the other rider had been taken by surprise by the deep water and had narrowly avoided crashing. Me, I just got wet feet. I ride through that flooding at least once every winter. Riding that path over a thousand times, I’m rarely surprised by deep water or cracks. I’ve already run afoul of them all before.
The weather report is full of rain, so I might be riding in it next week too. The nicest thing about the rain is that it weeds out the commute traffic. I spend most of my ride by myself in an empty state, just focused on the bike and the rain. Almost worth the soggy socks and the plastic pants.