A Chicago Welcome Home Storm

This morning I was excited to jump back on my bike after a week’s vacation in North Carolina.  I set out bright-eyed and bushy-tailed with the sun shining down on me.

A couple of miles into my ride, the air began to look strangely green.  Suddenly, all at once, the wind picked up massively, rain poured, lightening struck and thunder pounded.  A small branch fell down behind me.  It was freaky!

I was on a quiet neighborhood road and I started riding toward a bigger street in hopes of finding shelter at a coffee shop.  I didn’t get far before I had to dismount and scurry to the sidewalk.  I stood next to a wind-blocking building for about five minutes, getting soaked.  (Later I read the wind was up to 75 MPH.)  When the wind and rain did not let up, I scurried down the sidewalk to the end of the block, where I found a bank lobby to duck into (the bank was closed but the lobby was open for the ATM).  There I watched the downpour and lightening for 30 loooong minutes.

When the rain let up slightly, I decided to bike the 2 miles back home, drop off my bike, change clothes and take the L train to work.  I did not want to ride all the way to work downtown in the lightening.  I finally arrived at the office at 10:00 – a not-so-great way to start back after vacation.  Luckily, I have understanding co-workers.

I’ll take this morning’s “adventure” as a harsh reminder to CHECK THE WEATHER FORECAST BEFORE LEAVING.  Also, as a WELCOME HOME, SUCKER, from Chicago.

At least I’m not the only one who got stuck in the storm.  Anyone else get caught by surprise lately?  Nah, I’m sure you’re all way too smart for that.  :)

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18 thoughts on “A Chicago Welcome Home Storm

  1. Samantha says:

    Yeah.. it was a bit gnarly this morning! I had decided not to ride for other reasons and I certainly didn’t get to work any faster. The sky turned dark almost instantly and it lightly rained for about 30 seconds then WHAMMO – downpour. I bet you were totally soaked! This is how our city greets us when we try to sneak away for a little vacation I guess.

  2. Tia says:

    I sadly, was the opposite of stuck. I got moving while there was still thunder and no rain, and was too afraid to bike, in case it started raining again. So I took the train and carried an umbrella, only to not get any rain what-so-ever. ._.

  3. GITerDone says:

    Went down the Fox River Trail after the day cleared up and counted six trees down on the trail. That was one heck of a storm! I heard there was even a seiche warning for the lake shore!

  4. Janice in GA says:

    I do my best not to ride when there’s lightning. I’ve had a couple of relatively close calls and I just do not want to tempt the lightning gods again!

    We have a lot of thunderstorms down here in GA in the summer too.

    • @tishushu says:

      We sure do get em something fierce here in GA, ATL especially… But they don’t last that long… The downside to the short storms are their spontaneity…. They just SHOW UP!

  5. Lauren says:

    i haven’t been caught in the rain yet, but i’m pretty fastidious about checking the weather forecast… if there’s more than a 30% chance of rain, i stay in (which usually ends up being a bummer of a forecast & the sun shines all day… grrr). 75mph winds, though! damn! you were smart to stop when you did.

  6. Dave says:

    I rarely look at the weather forecast before I leave the house, so this happens to me occasionally too :) Thankfully, it’s not very often that it rains that hard, and usually when it does, it’s already raining when I leave, so I know to take something to protect myself. This morning it was just kind of a light drizzle, so I took my umbrella :) Actually felt rather nice to get a little wet in the middle of the summer (I like a little respite from the hot days, not being a huge hot weather fan myself).

    I’ve never been caught in a storm so bad I had to turn back, but we also don’t get 75mph winds here (60mph is a rarity, but happens very occasionally) – that would be the biggest deciding factor for me, I think. I don’t mind getting wet, but if I can’t move forward and I’m coming close to getting blown over constantly – no thanks.

  7. Stephanie says:

    i honestly thought i would be able to make it to the train before the storm hit. i was ONE BLOCK AWAY when the heavens opened up and buckets of rain poured down. needless to say, i was soaked through. and the wind! oh my. at least i was able to get a train downtown! i had some coworkers who were late as well. good thing you were able to find a dry place to wait out the crazy storm!

  8. Jesse says:

    Wow…that is one heck of a welcome home present.

    I don’t want this to sound like bragging, ‘cuz I know what’ll happen if it does, but for my Monday morning commute I had high clouds and a temp of about 65.

    Gotta love Seattle summers!

    That said, glad your morning ended up working out OK.

  9. dukiebiddle says:

    Gotta check that radar. Although I’ll admit that I’m lazy about it in the morning, as sudden morning thunderstorms are so rare where I am (is this common everywhere? I can only remember maybe a handful of morning thunderstorms in my life); but I’m pretty militant about it in the evening.

  10. Sally Carson says:

    What kind of bike is that? It’s super cute!

  11. Coreen says:

    I went out on a rainy ride last weekend, prepared to get wet, but when I heard the “ping ping ping” of approaching hail, I had to find shelter in a treeless suburb very quickly. I made it to a bus shelter in the nick of time and watched it pour for 15 minutes, hard enough to flood the street and wash hail pellets into the shelter. Summer storms are awesome.

  12. David says:

    Dottie – glad you were able to come out okay, stay safe.

    I just missed a HUGE storm Monday morning. I woke up, looked the radar on the news, it showed a HUGE red storm system on it’s way. I calculated I maybe had just enough time if I hustled. So I jumped on my bike and went at a fast pace, 12 miles, a little less than an hour.

    When i got to work, the approaching sky was black. I took a shower and when I got out, the massive storm was full force. I couldn’t even imagine riding in that. I was so glad I missed it. Lucky I guess.

    Anyway, always check out the RADAR before leaving, if there are storms in the forecast. If not on TV, you can go online.

  13. Ginger says:

    I consider myself a complete fair-weather rider. I took my bike to the shop and picked it up last Tuesday (tuneup) and carried it on the car to ride home for the evening. It sprinkled on it most of the day as it hung on the back of the car but at 5:00 the sun was shining so I took off. It proceeded to rain on me the entire 8 mile trip (well, 7.9 miles of it). I found out I can ride in the rain and not melt after all!

  14. rebekah says:

    I left early so I would get to work before the rain started but got caught in the middle of my ride. I waited a few minutes for it to slow down but when I looked like it wasn’t going to for a while I went on. I was already completely soaked. Luckily I bring a change of clothes.

  15. Karen says:

    I got caught in a downpour myself last week on the way to the dentist. Soaked to the skin, despite a raincoat. Oh, well, I found myself smiling 3/4 of the way there. One of these days I’ll invest in rain gear. . . .

  16. Krista says:

    That morning was awful. Lucky for me, I left home at 6:25 am. Hadn’t checked the weather. Got to the office around 7 and someone said to me, “You rode in even with that big storm coming?” Checked Tom Skilling and CRAZY RED GRAPHICS. My Gazelle took a beating but by 4 pm, she was all dry and we had a nice ride home.

  17. spandex_speed_racer says:

    Hmmmm…quick drying bike-specific clothing. Its utilitarian and practical.

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