It was a dark and stormy night

Last night I was going to a business meeting. It was nearby, but the sky was dropping spittle that seemed likely to turn into rain, and I had to transport a manuscript. As I considered the pros and cons of bike and car, I was met with this sight:

special delivery

Clearly a sign from the universe, right? (The Mustang is my car.)

Scolding myself for even thinking of driving the short distance, I grabbed Le Peug and set off. We got to the meeting only minimally damp and right on time.

But apres, le deluge. Which I and my vintage suede suit jacket were not ready for. It has been months since I’ve ridden in the rain—have I mentioned it has been a dry fall?—and I had totally forgotten how hard it is to see when rain is flying in your eyes. That was bad enough, but then I tried to stop at a stop sign and realized that Le Peug’s slightly weak rear brake, which I have been meaning to fix for a couple of months, doesn’t work at all when the rims are wet. Worst scare I’ve ever had on my bike—I almost threw myself off because I was sure I was going to end up in front of an oncoming car (until I thought of just turning right instead of going straight as I had intended).

Against the odds, we made it home.

so much for that good hair day I was having

Clearly I can’t read signs from the universe.

  • Mr colostomy

    Rear brake shoudn’t be contributing much to overall stopping power anyway, if you had trouble stopping I’d be more worried about the front. You might need it again when someone chooses to drive inappropriately.

    • dukiebiddle

      A vintage Peugeot probably has steel rims. All you can really do with those in the rain is remember to start braking 200 feet early.

      • Mr Colostomy

        Well, KoolStop Salmon pads could give them a bit more usefulness, alternatively the wheel could be rebuilt with an aluminium rim or the steel rim and a drum brake (could even throw in a dynamo hub too). There are options, just not as easy as adjusting the pad position.

        • Trisha

          Yeah, I have to get new pads AND get them adjusted, I think — thanks for reminding me about KoolStop; I’ve heard good things!

  • LC

    Trisha, I feel for you, I had one of those days too, today. I was even wearing a mac but the rain has been so persitent, it made its way through it, onto my clothes… yuk! And I was so wet when I got home I didn’t take any pics for posterity… just went straight for the shower! Good on you for posting :D

    I am so used to the drum brakes of Pashley, which are so so safe and not affected by rain, that when I use the Dawes with its rim brakes, I still scare myself silly… will I ever learn? Glad to hear you made it home ok :D x

    • Trisha

      It’s no fun, huh? Normally I’m queen of watching for gaps in the radar to make my short trips in wet weather, so I’d forgotten just how un-fun it is. :)

  • Dave

    Maybe it was just the universe reminding you to fix your brake :)

    Or get a poncho :)

    • Trisha

      Possibly! :) I totally should have grabbed my rain jacket, but as usual I was running late and just went ahead with my fingers crossed.

  • Sungsu

    Who knows what might have happened if you had taken the Mustang. Maybe you actually read the signs correctly.

  • welshcyclist

    You look fabulous! Hope the business meeting went well, though with you looking so fresh faced and healthy, who could not agree with your proposals or sales pitch. You embody how good cycling is for us all.

  • Vee

    I got some kool stops after realizing that I had no stopping power and the only thing that really stopped me was the fact that I ride slow and begin braking early. I still don’t stop on a dime- but it works a lot better now and I can squeeze on the brakes to slow down closer to the end of the street…..

  • Lovely Bicycle!

    coincidence posts! I just write pretty much the same thing… except in Boston it *snowed* for a few minutes in the middle of the day as well!

    • Trisha

      Oh, snow. Hoping that won’t come my way until later in the winter!

  • Ellen Allerton

    I got caught in the bad weather here in Chicago last night, it was hailing and blowing like crazy on my ride home! Several times I had to check to see if my face was cut because of the way the hail was coming across my face. Plus it made it nearly impossible to see anything, which was slightly dangerous, but I couldn’t even find a bus to consider jumping on so I was on my own!

    • Trisha

      Yikes. Hail is something I’ve yet to run into on the bike; hoping to keep it that way! Glad you made it back safely.

  • maureen

    Awwww…a bad hair day/night can really ruin a day! Sorry you got caught in the downfall, but glad you made it home safely!

  • Kara

    Oh, what a scary night! I have to admit, if it is rainy, I always take the car. I am not confident enough to bike in the rain.

    But I do have to say, your hair still looks cute even wet. How is that possible?!

  • A City Cycled

    Sometimes signs aren’t worth reading anyway. Glad to hear you made it home safely.