benefits of cycling in the rain

So, looks like I survived the two weeks without a bus connection. And Lizzie too, although she’s very very muddy.

Yesterday was the worst day of all, it was pouring relentlessly the whole day. It still does, actually. I’m just waiting for the alarm going off, summoning my dearest to some fire brigade duty due to basements full of water, or worse.

So, what are the ominous benefits of cycling in the rain?

1) If I’m honest with myself, biking through rain is fun. The prospect isn’t, especially not in the morning, but as soon as I was on my bike, pedalling along, the grumpy mood was gone. As it is always. I simply can’t carry a grudge, no matter how bad, when I ride my bike. So, biking through the rain at least improves my miserable “Gah, it’s rainiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnng, where’s the sun?!” mood.

2) Daylight. Rainclouds are dark and gloomy, but being outside will still expose you to more crucial daylight than sitting in a bus/car ever will. And that will also make you feel better, and gives your body the opportunity to produce Vitamin D.

3) You get some fresh, clean air. I don’t suffer from hayfever, but dust and pollen free air is nice. Nothing flying around trying to lodge itself under my contact lenses. And the smell of wet nature is… I don’t know, I always want to roll around in it.

4) Empty streets. No dogs, no kids, no anybody. Not even other bikers. If you need some alone time, get on your bike when it’s raining.

5) It makes you feel alive in a childlike way. As soon as you realise that no matter what you do, you’ll be soaked and dirty anyway, a refreshing recklessness sets in. You’ll bike through any puddle, enjoying the fountains your tyres produce.

I’m not trying to paint it in pretty colours. It is wet. It is dirty. If you’re not paying attention, you’re going to look like somebody dragged you backwards through a puddle. 7 degrees feel like freezing when your hands are wet. That’s when wearing the right gear comes into play. Getting wet is only fun as long as you either know that there are clean, dry clothes and a hot shower waiting for you, or you’re wearing raingear that prevents you from getting soaked to the bone in the first place. I’m usually not changing in the office, but with this weather, I resorted to pack my office clothes and shoes instead of trying to keep them dry and clean while biking. I even resorted to wearing my trusty gloves again, even if it’s the end of May, FFS. But wet, cold hands make you miserable.

I guess now I don’t have one single excuse left to take the bus when it’s raining, do I? Darn. ;-)

PS: Biking through rain is all fun and games, but please don’t do it in thunderstorms. Also be careful in torrential rain or when it’s very windy. You don’t have to prove anybody anything, and it might be wiser to take shelter/wait until it ceases.

when plan b fails you

If I look at the calendar, it tells me with chipper confidence that it is the end of May. If I go outside, it feels like… March. Or November. Cold, grey and to top it off, very very wet. Not exactly the weather that makes me want to pull out my bike and cycle to work. Happily I bounced dragged myself to the bus stop every morning, cherishing the heating and it’s roof. But then the transportation company decided to drop a bomb on me. There will be no bus for the next 3 (!!!) weeks. They close a street due to some construction work, and so the line stops somewhere else.

Well, there are other connections, but none of them really convenient. And much longer. So, what’s a girl to to? Let’s put it this way: I had ample opportunity to test out my raingear in the last two days. And somebody will have to scrub a very muddy bike on Saturday.

The upside of being literally forced to bike to work? I can sing the Imperial March as loud as I want, because the streets are empty when it’s raining… and I do not only get a workout, but also 40 min of daylight and fresh air, which is quite benificial when it’s so grey and dreary. I still don’t really like cycling in the rain, but it’s also not the end of the world.

well, hello there

Yes, yes, I’m still alive. About the kicking part I’m not so sure though. Juggling two blogs and the meeting of doom with it’s insane work load and a business trip to Frankfurt took it’s toll. Mainly in not writing anything. I didn’t even take the bike to work when I could have done so, as I was just crushed.

Thankfully, the meeting went very very well, we still get praise from every direction a week later. All the effort, long workdays and sleepless nights were worth it. And now I don’t have to think about it until fall comes rolling around, whee!

Coming out of the post-meeting haze, I realised that there’s a little white bike standing in my living room. It dawned on me that, yes, it is indeed mine, and yes, it needs fenders and new brakes and maybe even new tires, if I actually want to ride it. And I only have two work days next week, thanks to a public holiday and vacation days – perfect to put a little work into the Sursee. So I ordered the hammered fenders I was lusting after all the time and new pedals on that retro bike outfitter site Sella Berolinum. The new brakes and tires came from a seller on the big bad behemoth starting with an A. I needed the tires because the ones on the bike right now are too wide for the fenders. D’uh. On the other hand, I have no idea how old they are and if they might crumble to dust under me while riding around.

I’m looking forward to get my hands all greasy again!

biking and subzero temperatures

After my vacation last week I thought the time was right to show dear Lizzie more love. It finally stays bright until after 6pm, and the forecast predicted a dry but very cold start into the week. I thought, what the heck, let’s try how it 6 degrees below Zero feel on a bike. Not as cold as you might think, actually. The only things that always get icy are my fingers, no matter what sort of gloves I try.

I was wearing wooly tights, my trusty bike pants, a vest, a cotton longsleeve, a cashmere pullover (christmas present from my mom), my soft shell jacket and my Golden Gate Bridge coloured windbreaker. Oh, and legwarmers, but those more for fashion reasons, because Doc Martens and skinny legwear look rather silly without some inbetween element. The trick is to prevent overheating from stuffy clothing. You get incredibly warm on a bike really fast. The first few meters albeit are more like this: “Ooooooh my lord, what was I thiiiiiinkiiiing? I’m freeeeeeezing!”
Thin, breathable layers are the Number One trick when it comes to staying warm on a bike. Second trick is a jacket that is 100% windproof. Cold is not so much an enemy than wind is. I finally invested in one of those cotton tubes from Buff to keep my head warm under the helmet, and this is sooo much nicer that having icicle ears.

I don’t mind having an icecold chin, but always rub some cream on my cheeks and lips to prevent cold damage to my skin. You might want to get one of those special scarves that carve over your nose or a balaclava if you are more sensible to cold. Regular scarves work too, but can give you the feeling of wearing a neck brace.

But even if I’m not cold, I’m looking foward to temperatures on the other side of the Zero.

back to biking

The bus service went from tolerably well to downright crap since they adjusted the timetables back in December. Or maybe it’s just the combination of my imagination and really bad weather. But I have the feeling that I’m standing around at bus stops for ages until one shows up.

I’m missing my bike sorely. To my delight the weather forecast for next week shows temperatures in the double digits on the plus side – hooray! And it’s not getting dark so soon anymore, so riding my bike to work might be very very possible. No more standing around freezing, no more having to listen to that chick that is on the phone every blasted morning, speaking to her (I think) boyfriend about the most mundane things ever. Like for example that she cooked chicken the night before and now her coat smells like chicken. No more having to leave the office two minutes too early because the bus leaves earlier.

So unlike last year when I had to talk myself into actually taking the bike, now it’s more like iwanttotakethebikegoawayyoustupidwinteromgbbq!!! On Thursday I was so fed up with the bus being late 1 that I decided to walk the remaining 2 km home. I probably wasn’t faster, but warmer. And I got to walk part of my commute, which was nice.

Sorry for the rambling post, I actually planned to write about different types of valves, but didn’t get around to take the pictures. Buh. Bad blogger. ;-)

GZ6H3Y8YR66C (This is a Technoratic claim token… because claiming blogs is a serious thing)