Not Evangelism

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Weather Gods and Me (Last Week on the Bike)

Day 1: Mist

Last week, I commuted on the bike three out of four days, for a total of 66 commuting miles, which brings the annual total to just over 800 miles.  On the one hand, I'm a bit disappointed as I had a notional target of doing 1,000 miles by the end of September. On t'other hand, my goal of 1,144 miles over the year (based on commuting by bike an average of one day a week) is well within grasp, particularly if the weather holds.

And that seemed like a Big If on Tuesday, which started damp and misty; the kind of fine mist that clings to leg hairs and treetops.  Visibility was perhaps 300 metres at worst, and throughout the ride I was continually wiping the secondary mist off my glasses. More than once, I watched drops fall from the peak of my helmet.

It was a clear message from the weather gods: we're back from our long summer holiday, autumn is here, and we're ready to play.

Day 2: Besting at the Weather Gods

On Thursday, though, proof positive, if it should be needed (and I do need it from time to time) that it's better to get on the bike and get on with the day rather than worrying about what the weather might do, and so not cycle.  When I left the house, it was great and miserable above, clouds heavy with the promise of more of the rain that had fallen throughout the night.  And, as I took my bike out of the garage, a sudden and particularly heavy downpour left me re-considering my ride, wondering if I should have prepared for the rain a little more.

For all that, it proved to be a good ride. The morning was warm, and very quickly the rain eased and stopped, so that the only wetness was the spray on the roads. My heart was buoyed, lifted by the satisfaction of having somehow cheated the weather gods. They're sneaky, lazy gods, preferring to trick us into not doing something by putting on a bit of a show early on, but without the will to carry out the threat. All sabre-rattling and bluster, it seems, and I was happy to have spotted their game, and not been taken in by it.

I suppose that my cheerfulness must have annoyed them, because that evening, a massive cloudburst just before leaving had me re-considering my position, and Mrs F texting with the offer of a lift. As the hour of departure approached, the skies darkened, the heavens opened, and a deluge was deposited; a proper flood of water. For twenty minutes, intensive rain; and then the storm moved on, southwards, the direction of home.

There was, I must admit, a certain amount of humour in the office at my predicament, equipped as I was with but two wheels and a smallish amount of Lyrca, clearly no match for the rain. Nevertheless, I buckled up my resolve and set off.

And guess what? I didn't get the slightest bit wet. Yes, there was a little spray, a few drops of drizzle, but it wasn't as bad as feared; it was much, much better. I arrived home, if not in actual sunshine, then in that better, proverbial kind of sunshine that exists in the minds of the righteous, and shines from their eyes.

Twice in one day! Twice, the weather gods had tried their tricks and had not caught me out.

Day 3: The Weather Gods give me a Nod, and a Nudge

On Friday morning, though, came a gentle reminder that I am in no fashion master of the weather. There was persistent, penetrating drizzle for the first two miles of the Morning Commute. Not enough to soak, not quite. But enough to assure me that, yes, it's good to get out and ride whatever the weather, and quite often it won't turn out to be as bad as feared. But that there are things not within my control; and that every once in a while I will get properly trounced.

A nod to my performance the day before, indeed, but a very clear message. Enjoy your day, the weather gods were saying. Yes, I had got the better of them yesterday, but I would do well to remember that they have a few tricks up their collective sleeves.

I'll take that. Nine times out of ten is good enough for me. That's still nine victories; nine fewer car journeys; nine more days with a smile on my face.

Yes, I'll happily take that.

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