May 23, 2012 – Come Rain or Shine
After an exceptionally dry spring, at last, the rains have begun. I’ve always considered myself a dry-weather biker so, last week, when it rained both Monday and Tuesday, I drove to work. By Wednesday, I was desperate to get back in the saddle. No, it was worse than that. My mood had taken a serious downward descent toward depression. While Wednesday dawned overcast, it wasn’t raining, and I jumped on my bike with gusto, feeling my spirits lift with each revolution, for once, appreciating even the effort of climbing hills.
Over the weekend, I anxiously checked my I-phone, frowning at its gloomy prediction of rain, rain, and more rain for the week to come. Sure enough, Monday morning, as I let the dogs out, I angled my upper body out the door to test the weather. Rain was falling steadily, but I decided: it’s not that bad. Besides, it was a balmy 66 degrees – already sweating weather for me – so I pulled out my old bike and headed to work. Since my route along the Custis Trail runs roughly parallel to the Orange Line metro, I figured I could bail at any of five stops along the way, if needed.
To my delight, I was literally singing in the rain. Not only did I stay delightfully cool; I avoided the horror of either driving or taking the metro on a rainy day. No need to worry about the bike path getting clogged! I decided I have now officially crossed over: full-fledged fanatic. Like a born-again Christian, I was baptized by water. All right – there ends any similarity – although I suppose my zealous cycle advocacy smacks of evangelism. Yes, my hair frizzed out to new gravity-defying proportions, but I’ll take that over depression any day.
On the trip home, I put my bike on the bus at Rosslyn, already feeling like an old hand at the recently feared rack. A few stops later, my next-door neighbor boarded, adding her wheels to the other slot. It made bus travel more pleasant, as we found common ground in how the joys of biking help us balance the aggravations of raising college-age kids.
As predicted, it rained again on Tuesday. This time, without a second thought, I hit the bike path. During my ride, I planned a weekend trip to REI – thinking about the nice set of reasonably priced rain pants I sent to my daughter, who lives on the perpetually sodden Olympic Peninsula. I toyed with the idea of installing fenders on what I now consider my “rain bike.”