Friday, June 18, 2010

Yet Another Learning Experience

Occasionally, I use the car enough that it needs fresh oil. It's rare -- I wash and lube each of my bikes about 10 times more often. And it's more expensive than bike maintenance. And -- unlike bike maintenance -- it's something that I don't care to do. This is probably because I equate working on a car with driving a car and working on a bike with riding a bike, and the only time that I like to drive a car is when I've got a bike in the back and I'm going somewhere fun to ride, and that somewhere is too far away for me to bike there given the time that I have in my busy schedule.

Anyway, when the car needs to have it's oil changed, I usually just load the Salsa into the back, drive it to Firestone in Brentwood, and leave it with the mechanics there while I bike the last five miles to work. This was what I did yesterday, and I had a really nice ride in to work from there.

And then the clouds moved in.

So, here are 25 things that I learned yesterday:

  1. When the guy in your office who fixates on the weather tells you that you had better get on your bike soon and head home, you should listen to him.
  2. The guy who is over the data center fixates on the weather for a good reason, since power outages seem to screw things up.
  3. You cannot finish up a few things, change into biking clothes, load up your stuff, and roll out on your bicycle in less than 15 minutes.
  4. When you are leaving and the security guy says, "You're gonna get rained on," odds are that you're gonna get rained on.
  5. You cannot out-run a thunderstorm within five miles. Even if you are going south and the thunderstorm is going south.
  6. A thunderstorm moving in the same direction that you are moving gives you a great tailwind.
  7. When you turn right to get on that less-busy road to the east, that thunderstorm will give you a nasty crosswind.
  8. A nice heavy commuter bike does not get blown around in a crosswind as badly as your race bike does.
  9. A pannier gets a lot of wind. Particularly in a crosswind.
  10. Trees block wind nicely.
  11. Small limbs blow off of trees in a thunderstorm and end up in the road.
  12. It's kind of fun to ride and bicycle and dodge small limbs blowing across the road.
  13. Trees also block the rain when it starts.
  14. When the rain starts, it tends to beat down the wind a bit.
  15. When you come out of the trees, you will discover that it's been raining harder than you thought.
  16. Most cars behave pretty well around cyclists in the rain ... maybe even better than they behave when it's not raining. I think that they believe you must be insane, and that it's bad luck to kill crazy people.
  17. Always turn on all of your lights in the rain. It's the law, and it makes you more visible.
  18. When it's 85 degrees outside, being soaked for a few minutes is not that bad.
  19. A well-made road is "crowned," so that the water from the middle of the road flows to the edges. This is good, since it keeps the water from pooling in the road, where cars would then hydroplane.
  20. Lots of water flowing to the edge of the road will get dammed up by the grass and dirt on the shoulder, so that cyclists there get to ride through what appears to be a small creek.
  21. No matter how dorky they look and how much trouble they are, fenders are worth it.
  22. Sandals are still the best cycling shoes for commuting, since the water that gets past your fenders pours right out of them.
  23. If you are riding a bike in traffic in the rain and you come to a red light or stop sign, put your foot down and whistle to yourself or sing (I prefer "Yellow Submarine"). Grin like an idiot. Drink from your bottle. Tilt your head down so that the water pours off. If you act miserable, the people in cars will feel justified. If you act happy, you just might find that you are happy.
  24. Those people in cars that think we're crazy may be right.
  25. Crazy ain't that bad.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, we've all had those thoughts, just not all at once.