Friday, November 26, 2010

soggy once again

Rain overnight transformed the city for the second time in 48 hours, cleaning away the white and returning us to our regularly scheduled grey. The temperature was all of 5 degrees when I rode to work but felt positively balmy in comparison to the first half of this week. Another realization really hit home: experiences are all relative. If you've never ridden below 10 degrees, then 5 will seem a bit crazy, but after motoring happily through -5, it seems pleasant and mild.

There was still slush on the ground, especially through the short 1-block shared pedestrian/bike connector that I ride through each day. At some points I couldn't go around, so it was interesting to ride slowly through the clumps of muddy, mushy ice and feel the increase/decrease in traction under my rear wheel. It never felt out of control (keep your wheel straight, stay off the brakes), but being able to sense the momentary drop in friction was novel. It felt a bit like testing my limits; I know now that I can slip a bit more while still feeling quite secure and upright.

The ride home, however, was a completely different story.

It was pouring.

And it was so much less awful than I imagined it to be.

Setting: Dark. Heavy rain. Urban. Taking a shared-lane route (albeit one where the lane is 50% wider than usual and meant for sharing). Traffic jammed and cars drifting into my side of the lane to either try to get around or see what's going on. Wearing a wool jacket that doesn't cover my legs the way my rain coat does.

Recipe for misery, right? As I made it through the worst, I checked in with my mental state. Was I anxious? No. Slightly annoyed at silly drivers for bending the rules and mother nature for being inconvient, but it felt very "sheesh, whatever". Was I worried about getting run over/into? No. I'd felt very much in control of the situation, comfortable with my route and aware of the behavior of cars at points where I knew myself to be vulnerable. Was I cold? No. Hands, feet, middle-- comfortable. Was I wet?

Yeah, on my knees.

Knees are not the most temperature-sensitive part of one's anatomy. I almost laughed out loud. In conditions that used to vary between "striking fear into my heart" and just plain dread, my biggest concern was that my knees were wet.

Upon arriving home, I changed into sweat pants and ate a hot cheese & broccoli pot pie, coziness epitomized and soggy no more.

Experience. Relative. Totally.

1 comment:

  1. The coziness is so much more cozy when you have been out riding in less than perfect conditions.
    Good post Mandy.