Love the Rain

Yesterday started as one of those days that made me rue
thoroughly backing myself into a corner by fielding a team for the Bike to Work Commuter Challenge. When I woke up it was raining. Again. My stomach was reeling from the ill-effects of Tuesday evening’s “Asian food” potluck. And on top of that, I was thinking too much about
Eric’s keyboard exercise. (Okay, not too much — ewwwww.) I plodded into work at an uncharacteristically late 9:30, unsure if I’d need to stop to avail myself of the seemingly ubiquitous Honey Buckets dotting the construction areas.

Remarkably, I felt a lot better after getting into work. By lunch, the sun was taunting me and I was feeling human again.

The Scary Tunnel
(in daylight)

I planned to leave at 5:30, but wanted to finish one… last… quick… thing. It wasn’t quick. I was finally out the door at 6:45pm, but the sky was looking very gray and, almost on cue, the rain was on again.

The rain picked up as I worked up the hill on SE 38th, the road Claire mentioned yesterday. By the time I got to the light, the wind started gusting, too. A thunderstorm was moving in.

Hairpin
(also daylight)

As I glided down the bike trail on the north side of I-90, my sunglasses got splattered by the mist kicked up from the road. I finally had to take them off. Nobody else was on the trail today.

The switchback is a tree-lined canopy bordered by stone walls. There are two hairpin turns, so it pays to take it slow. The edges of the path were lined with the remnants of the fluffy, white dandilioncottonwood seeds. If it were thirty degrees cooler, it could be snow. This section of the trail has a magical ambience when the patter of rain washes out the highway noise above.

The rain came down in sheets along Lake Sammamish State Park. The storm grates were backing up, and I had to ride left of the white line where it was shallower. I couldn’t see how much was being deflected by the fenders, but each time I hit a pool, water kicked up onto my legs. At each break in the highway barrier, the wind pushed me further out into the road. A thunderous crack roared at my favorite intersection. Today, there were no problems. I was given plenty of berth.

Wednesday’s trip was a little more spectacular than normal. Had there been more thunder, I would have hung out at PCC or one of the coffee shops until the storm blew through. However, I’m starting to enjoy biking in the rain.

Questions for bikers:
1. Any recommendations for bags? I’d like to get a handlebar bag to carry all my miscellanous daily junk (keys, cell phone, wallet). Also, I probably need to replace my clothes carrier. Everything inside was wet.
2. Why do brakes get squishy in the rain? Each time, I have had to clean out the grime from the rims and tighten the cables. This has happened often enough that I suspect I may need to replace the cables. Is there something to prevent it?

9 thoughts on “Love the Rain”

  1. Jim,

    I have a set of panniers (or, more correctly, my wife now has a set) that have a plasticy surface and fold over at the top. They’re about as waterproof as you can get.

  2. The white fluffy stuff is cottonwood tree flowers/seeds. Even our front yard doesn’t have enough dandelions to account for the cottonwood fluff that’s blowing around these days.

    Ortlieb panniers seem to be the most waterproof ones, and have an incredibly useful attachment system. REI sells them. I have a pair of the ‘front rollers’ but I use them as rear panniers.

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