Commuting Tips: The Wet Weather Schism
30th June 2010 | Eddie Allen | More Commuting Tips
It was raining yesterday morning and I was faced with that common, yet unspoken, schism of the cycle commuter. You know what I mean so don't try to deny it. For those uninitiated, it goes thusly:
"Bike or car? bike or car? bike or car? bike or car? bike or car? Bike? Car? Bike? Car? Bike?"
Your die-hard ready for anything Bear Grylls side is saying, "Peh, a little bit of rain is no match for me with my Goretex (tm) underpants and my fender equipped commuting steed" while your inner wimp is whispering softly in your ear "Mmmmm, heater, radio, McDonalds coffee on the way." Make no mistake, fair traveller, despite their differences, THIS PAIR WILL CONSPIRE TO EAT YOUR SOUL.
The rain continues as you make a cup of tea and half heartedly resolve to get your bike out of the shed, "Just in case the rain eases off in a bit." At this point, the devils on your shoulder are joined by another more earnest, worthy spirit, a mercurial Green pixie who points out the GOOD you'd be doing by taking the bike; easing congestion, reducing carbon emissions, making your environment safer, less stressful and more livable." Your altruistic side is awakened and with renewed heart you fight your way past the lawnmower and barbeque and drag your bike out of the shed."
As you padlock the door, the rain, which just a few minutes previously, was playing diminuendo, decides that it's time for a crescendo and pelts you on the back of the neck. Your inner wimp takes a step forward, folds his arms cocks his head to one side, and raises a quizzical eyebrow, shooting a look to the grey heavens (and let me tell you, that's a lot of body language for an imaginary devil!)
But you obstinately lock the shed and take the bike indoors. It's only a shower and even so, what the heck, you've got all the wet weather gear, you're not (a dramatic hush descends) A FAIRWEATER CYCLIST are you?
At this point you're way beyond help and no amount of level-headed, shoot from the hip, let's weigh up the pros and cons self-talk will help you. And just when you thought that your shoulder couldn't get any more crowded, another character steps from behind the arras - a sporty, tanned and healthful spirit who lists the many health benefits of cycling, no matter what the weather's doing.
"Regular cyclists have the general health of someone ten years younger, you are a REGULAR cyclist aren't you? Riding to work will lower your stress levels and help you arrive at work on time and sharp as a tack. Remember 30 minutes four times a week. You're not getting any younger are you?"
Sporticus goes on like this for a while longer but you're now as awash with doubt as a Hamlet soliloquy. Your face is a mask of torment, you massage your temples, hoping to work free a shred of decisiveness. Then you look out of the window, the rain has eased to a trickle and the sky is lightening.
In an instant you snap into action, grab you bike, keys, wallet, phone and head out of the door, closing it firmly behind you. Bear Grylls has won. You swing your leg over the crossbar, look down to check your brakes and squeeze your tyres, then, an ominous arpeggio of drip, drip dripping on the back of your neck. You look up straight into the somehow questioning, knowing face of your car in the driveway. In an instant, ‘nice warm dry heater coffee' thoughts flood back in. But you push off with one leg and leave the clamouring devils fighting amongst themselves on the step.
Within 30 seconds, you're off, free, pedalling away, wondering what all the fuss was about.