Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Here Comes the Rain

It's finally happened! The skies have opened and are raining down on central Texas with enough frequency that I'm finally getting sweet justification for my fenders and raingear (which the rest of the year just seems like paranoia).

The weather lately has been fairly opposite to summer - cold and rainy, grey, and not terribly many sunbeams in sight. After the summer though, the sight of creeks and lakes with water in them more than makes up for the inconvenience of getting out in the weather.

That said, I've had a lot of moments lately where I felt unbelievably grateful both for the existence of raingear, and the type of bike I ride. My two best cycling friends each respectively own a racy Cannondale roadbike, and a singlespeed road bike, making my Surly easily the most laid back bike of the bunch. But when the skies open, I'm suddenly the fastest, driest person in the group between the bigger tires, long wheelbase, and the fenders.

What makes the weather in this part of the country unique is the unpredictable nature of it. In Texas, it can go from grey and overcast to hailing and thundering in 10 minutes, and if you're out in it, you had better be prepared. This is particularly highlighted on Thursdays, when I normally stay downtown because drinking and driving is a bad idea. A couple weekends ago, my friends and I finished up the ride and as usual I parked my bike outside their building and went upstairs to crash out. When I left, this was the scene:

Ahh, so tranquil

When I stumbled downstairs the next morning to head home, it looked like this:

Honey badger don't give a shit. In this scenario, the TARDIS represents the Honey Badger

By the time I got home from riding to the train, taking the train, then riding from the train to my house, I looked like this:

That's happiness. Really!

Later that day I ended up running an errand to the grocery store. When I got to the store, it was dry, but by the time I'd gotten my stuff on my bike and was ready to head back to the house, it started to rain again. Never fear, my dear, delicious groceries, because waterproof panniers are here to save the day and keep you delicious:

I can definitely see why most people don't regularly bike throughout the year - whether I like to admit it to myself or not, I'm just as susceptible to the effects of bad weather as anyone else in the world, I just have all the gear available to make it tolerable. After all, if there's any one lesson this year has really driven home for me is there is very little truly bad weather, just bad clothing.

But all this gear took me years to acquire, and I rode when all I had was basically a backpack lined with plastic and a poncho, so you don't necessarily require all the gear to ride. How do you roll when the weather gets nasty?

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