It rained today

We knew it was coming. The weathermen (who couldn’t miss a front this size) warned us. This morning I wore a long-sleeved shirt and packed my raincoat. At lunch, I knew we were in for nasty weather when it was cold enough to put on my beanie and big-ride vest.

All afternoon it came down. At 5, I girded my loins and suited up. Cycling has, in my daydreams, been a knightly equivalent – with the iron horse and suit of lycra armour. We battle the traffic and (today) the elements. The people waiting at the building entrance looked at me as if I was mad, to deliberately enter the torrent outside the glass. They may never know the exhilaration of meeting the challenge.

Once I left the technology park and hit the road, I immediately entered a stream of water which reached the pedals. So much for overshoes. Water trickled in around my collar and would have made me shiver, had I not been concentrating on the traffic. At the roundabout, a car who should have given way, who might have given way in proper daylight if I had not been a cyclist, turned in front of me. The soggy brakes seemed to take forever to respond, while I manouvered past him.

Riding up the hill to Newtown, the washed-clean air was tainted by an acrid oily smell wafting up from tracks. Normally the exhaust fumes would disguise it but today it had no competition. I forced my way up the hill along the roadway, worried about glass in the gutter. Most of it should have been washed away, but it’s the only place I have ever had a flat tire on the ride between home and work. The footpath, a generally good alternative, was worse due to a broken bottle spread across the asphalt .

Enmore Road was a river in the left-hand lane. There was no alternative to riding in it, but the current showed the bumps and bottles with clarity. Again, the water was up to my pedals, and the speeding cars produced a wash of water like that behind a speedboat. My glasses started fogging up from the inside, and the water spray became diamonds on the outside. Better to have them on, than rain in the eyes.

When I got to the front door, I was wetter and drier than I thought. My arms had felt wet-through but it was just the clammy material of the raincoat confusing my senses. My feet, which hadn’t felt wet, were soaked as rain had wicked down via my socks. A hot shower never feels so good as at the end of a ride in the pouring rain. I don’t often feel as virtuous as at the end of a ride in the pouring rain.

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