When I say I just made it, I literally mean it. I was about 1 km from home when the tell tale spattering of tiny droplets started making little dark dots on my grey shorts. It was so light that there was not even enough to stain the tarmac a darker hue, but I could see by checking my shorts every ten seconds or so that it was not stopping.When I turned the final corner for home, leaving only 750 metres between me and the dry indoors, the drops became a little more prominent and I could now see the colour change on the front tyre spinning in front of me. I reckoned I had only minutes before the skies opened.
How right I was. I had been inside not more than a couple of minutes when the rain came down hard and steady. Some days you are meant to get wet, and others you are not. Today, thankfully, was always meant to be a dry day. I had successfully cheated the rain and got in a 25 km ride in the only ninety minute window of dryness in the whole day. That felt good.
The Paddywagon at Parc Levesque. Time to get all artsy.
With the VR2 being out of commission for the next little while due to a spoke popping issue (you can read all about that on Charlie Bucket Cycles) I was left with no alternative but to take the Paddywagon out for a quick weekend ride. Normally the weekends are all about the road bike, as I get plenty of fixie riding on the commute to and from the campus, but today I was actually really looking forward to riding the bike without the 28lb back pack that I shared with you all last week.
So I packed my little shoulder pack with the Nikon D3100 and my spare tube, spanner and pump and off I went. I just love riding this bike. Today was no exception. The only thing that bothered me was that I forgot to lube the chain after the ride to work the other day where there was a lot of spray coming off the road. I then road home without lube as I don’t usually carry any with me, and now I was going out again without lubing it up. The net result was a little bit of a squeak which I never hear on my bikes.
Mercier Bridge in the background
I took a few shots down at Parc Levesque and then looking up at the sky I determined that I’d better hightail it back home. As I already described at the top of the page, I only just made it back in time. I did not have the Edge 800 with me today (I mean, sometimes you just gotta ride without knowing every single little stat) but I am sure I was pulling a good 31 – 32 km/h on the return leg. I didn’t let up the whole way back and fortunately the traffic played in my favour which allowed me to zoom through every stop sign without even slowing down.
As I write this it is pouring down outside. I am relaxing listening to the thunder outside and seeing the occasional flash of lightening through the curtains. We have a cool breeze coming in through the room and you just know it’s going to be a good night to sleep. Commute tomorrow morning, if the rain lets up. Ride safe.
We don’t get very extreme weather. Well, some would consider -35c in January and +35c in July as pretty extreme, but it’s not an aggressive climate, and by that I mean we are fortunate that we do not suffer from tornadoes and hurricanes and other very destructive phenomena that afflict so many different parts of the globe. All that being said, the rain that came down last night, and then again this morning when I was out on the bike, was heavy!
Last night’s rain was part of an extremely loud thunder storm. It had been brewing all day with the 100% humidity and a ‘feels like’ temperature of close to 40c. When the clouds finally burst at around 7.00 p.m. it was a veritable cacophony of thunder and pounding rain. At times it looked as if it was simply falling in sheets and the wind was pushing it through the shrubs and trees in the garden leading us to worry that nothing was going to be left standing by the end of it all.
Today’s rain, which lasted all of five minutes, was big and heavy and very, very wet. Yes I know all rain is wet, but let me tell you not all rain is created equal. No, this rain was the kind that landed heavy on you and went through your clothes almost instantly. In no time my tyres were sending up the dreaded rooster tail of dirty wetness right up my arse and my feet were starting to feel the chill as the water seeped in through the many aeration holes on my Sidi’s.
And then just as soon as it started, it tailed off and then stopped completely. Within two kilometres the road was completely dry which led me to the conclusion that had I ventured west instead of east I would not have encountered this mini-storm at all. By the time I got home, the bike was dry, I was almost dry and if it was not for the tell take drying watermarks all over the frame you would never have believed that it rained rain the size of golf balls.
Just like the Eurythmics song from the ’80s, the rain just keeps on coming, but I have no interest in singing about it. I don’t especially enjoy riding in the rain. I’m not worried that I am going to melt nor do I actually mind getting wet. The main reason I don’t like riding in the rain is that it means I am going to have to clean the bike afterwards. Stupid, isn’t it? Safety? Not so much a concern. Getting sopping wet? Bring it on! Cleaning the bike, and in the interim riding a dirty bike? What a bummer!
When I awoke this morning the roads were dry. “Excellent!” was the word that jumped to mind as I busied myself making the coffee and tea. “I’m not going to get wet after all. Those weather experts have got it wrong again!” As you can guess, the forecast was for light rain in the morning, and to awake to a completely dry road was a bit of a coup. It turns out that I celebrated a little prematurely.
No sooner had I finished making the coffee and preparing the breakfast than I noticed the all too familiar droplets of water landing in the pond outside. “What the f….?!”, I said to myself. I ran to the front of the house to check the road. I don’t quite know whether I was expecting it to be dry in the front if it was so obviously raining in the back, but it was the first thing I thought of doing. I appreciate that it does not say much for my intelligence, but there we go. Not totally surprising it was raining in the front as well. I sunk down despondantly into my seat and ate my McCann’s Rolled Oats in sullen silence. I was going to be getting a dirty bike this morning.
By the time I got on the road the rain had stopped but the damage was done. The tarmac was wet and within the first 500 metres I could see the droplets of water all over the frame. A wet bike still looks so sharp. Its when it dries that you notice and appreciate that rain is not all that clean, and you couple that with the spray that the tyres throw up and you’ve got yourself a very gritty piece of machinary. Still, by kilometre seven I was back on dry roads, and they remained that way for the remainder of the ride down to the Campus. Despite the vigourous headwind, tipping the scale at 41 kph gusts right into my face at times, I made fairly decent time to the office. I like to think that having a few enforced days off the bike (due to ridiculous amounts of rain) had brought fresh life into my legs. I also find that imagining the return journey with the wind squarely in one’s back is a motivating way to tolerate the harshness of an overly bullish headwind!
The water levels are high this year thanks to all the rain.
The return ride home did not disappoint. Leaving Nun’s Island I felt the awesomeness of nothing. You know you’ve got a good tailwind when you don’t hear the wind in your ears. It’s a strangely silent ride. And you fly. Being on the fixie meant my cadence all the way home was up there but that did not matter one iota. I got home before the rain got me. Ha!