Tag Archives: riding in the rain

A bike-only week in Nashville

I’ll admit it—I’ve been a little lazy when it comes to biking lately. It’s just so easy to drive here, so if it was cold, or raining, or windy this winter, I’d been hopping in the car at least half the time. It’s so darn convenient to be able to haul unlimited stuff and wear whatever you want without thinking about the weather. And in my world there’s no paying for parking, not any longer than my bike commute, no traffic to speak of . . . of course, some of these things also make it equally easy to bike, as I have been recalling the past few days. My Mustang needs a new alternator and so my bike has been my only means of transport since last Thursday.

Without the option of a car for getting around, I was soon reminded of the lesson I learned when I went car-free for a short time last fall: It’s not really that big of a deal. While it will be a while before Nashville’s public transportation and bicycle infrastructure renders cars a total luxury item, living where I do I can get a large portion of what really needs to be done done without a car, as long as I’m willing and able to sink in some extra time. So far I’ve walked to the grocery store, taken the bus to Italian lessons and biked to work and social events.

busstop

Of course, taking the bus has its own hazards—here’s the current state of the bus stop by my house. Oops? Me and the two other people trying to catch it moved a bit further down the block…

And none of my excuses have presented any problem so far. Cold? Biking warms you up, and there are such things as scarves, hats and gloves. (Here in the South we like to forget how to use those.) Even rain isn’t too big a deal for a short commute like mine: You just wear the right clothes and watch for a gap in the radar, like I did this morning.

I had fun coasting through puddles with my legs in the air to minimize the spray on my jeans (gotta figure out how to take a photo of that). And listening to the awesome new Kate Nash album. I got to work in the nick of time; it started pouring minutes after I entered the office.

oanda

Really, biking in the drizzle was harder on Kermit Allegra than it was on me.

raindrops

Although I do have the perfect saddle cover for her.

seatcover

French readers: enjoy the pun!

Which is more than I can say for my own self, who is suffering badly from rain hat hair. Why did I get bangs again, again?!?

rainhathair

Car culture and the driving habit really is insidious, even with the best of intentions. I’m sure this is a lesson I will have to keep learning (and that my 11-year-old car will be happy to remind me of by breaking down). Yes, it’s a hair less convenient, but I feel so much more energized when I get to work by bike!

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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.

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