First-Time City Cyclist + Rain, Wind, Cold = FUN

What is the absolute worst way to introduce a friend to cycling in the city? Perhaps by taking her through heavily trafficked streets in the freezing rain. What is evidence of the lure of cycling? When the friend still has fun.

Innocent and Unknowing of What Lies Ahead

Innocent and Unknowing of What Lies Ahead

My best friend Melissa is in the city from the suburbs this weekend, and we wanted to check out some thrift stores in Wicker Park. Melissa agreed to travel by bike on Smurfette. I was a little worried about the route because it requires us to go over a big bridge and through two huge intersections, but Melissa was up for it.

"Do I look scared?"

“Do I look scared?”

Other than her unnatural attraction to any and every pothole, the ride there was pretty smooth. Two things she noticed afterward. First, she kept wanting to ride closer to the parked cars because they were not moving. Second, a couple of times she got in a happy-go-lucky-childhood-I’ll-take-the-whole-road mode, and then realized that she was way over in the street.

Grrrrr - like the roller derby, but with bikes, we are

Grrrrr – like the roller derby, but with bikes, we are

We all scored at the thrift shops. M got White Converse sneakers with black laces and a sweet black dress. Greg got one cashmere and two wool sweaters all for $70. I found a Marc Jacobs skirt for $18 and Mavi jeans for $16.50. We were feeling pretty good when we realized that it was raining outside. sigh. Rain was an unexpected turn of events and none of us had rain gear.

Melissa Observing The Damage

Melissa Observing The Damage

A simple and happy spring rain was not in our forecast. Nope, that would be too easy. This rain came with pelting, needle-like drops, blowing and swirling wind, and freezing cold. The combination was overwhelming and after taking a minute to regroup, we ended up on the sidewalk. Since there were no pedestrians and we were getting blown around by the wind while having low visibility, that was the safest choice, especially with a first-time city cyclist.

Piercing Rain, Howling Winds, Soaking Wet, No Rain Gear, Asshole Drivers - WHEEE!  Fun!

Piercing Rain, Howling Winds, Soaking Wet, No Rain Gear, Asshole Drivers – WHEEE! Fun!

The group was very happy to get home, change clothes, drink red wine and eat Mexican.

Out of Helmets, Into Pajamas

Out of Helmets, Into Pajamas

She said she’ll cycle in the city again, but next time I’ll try to take her to the lakefront path for a sunny frolic.

  • Carolyn

    Yep, she’s a biker…I like biking in whatever…unless it’s really cold outside! Looks like you both had a good ride, despite the rain.

    I’m seeing more and more cyclists out now, which means Spring has really arrived. And I couldn’t be happer…

  • Lynn

    Good company makes all the difference. I think I’d be miserable and uptight if I were riding alone in those conditions on city streets. Of course, wine is more fun with good company, too!

  • the village scribe

    Welcome to the club, Melissa. It’s much better to break in amidst wretched conditions like these. Now you’re ready for anything.

  • spiderleggreen

    Great story! Rain is never really a problem, if you’re headed home. Always nice to see a new rider and on the Kabuki too. Now, you’ll have to take her shopping…for a bike.

  • http://none grambev

    No bad riding conditions should stand in the way of scoffing thrift shop finds.

  • Trisha

    Go Melissa. Looks like fun in spite of the rain! You know you’re going to have to take me to those thrift shops on my next visit, right? ;)

  • Melissa Hope S

    My thighs are killing me! I love it! ;-)

  • Karen

    I have plans to do something similar with a friend soon, although I haven’t told her yet. She’s a city planner so I think she will go for the adventure. Love you outfit, BTW.

  • Scott

    I use this raincoat for riding in heavy rain. It’s made for riding a horse so it’s long enough to keep your knees covered on a bike and has snaps all the way to the bottom. It kept me dry all weekend — and only $25!

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  • Bidawlendibia

    Wonderful page=) Hope to visit soon.

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