Sunday, May 12, 2013

Revolution of a cyclist: When it rains you get wet

I haven't written about riding lately and don't want you to think that I'm not riding.....I'm just doing the same old route mostly by myself and I don't think even at my most creative  I can make it sound exciting and interesting. I haven't embarrassed myself, crashed into anything or gotten lost. Nothing has broken (I'm madly trying to find some wood to knock on...don't want to anger the irony gods). Let's not forget my mad dashes across town for work, they are also riding, but there again, they aren't really news-worthy.

I had the sincerest of plans to ride this weekend and make it something worth writing about. But things got in the way. Like rain. Like Leif working and he is my own personal Garmin. Like the Giro D'Italia finishing in Florence on Sunday. (I don't want to brag, but the finish is a block from my house.) Besides, my midwestern work ethic went into panic mode yesterday. Here I am with two whole days off and what am I going to do? Ride a bike?

Without going into details let's just say I didn't ride on Saturday and I was reasonably productive.

This morning I got up and looked out the window and thought "Drat, it looks nice out there. I should go for a ride." Leif was meeting his team and they were all riding up some impossible mountain (Consuma) to see this stage of the Giro outside of Florence. This was not my kind of ride. I kissed him and waved good-bye, then headed to the grocery store after putting the linens in the washing machine. I got back from shopping and put the sheets on the line to dry, because the sun was shining and it was quite beautiful.

I thought, since it was so nice out, that I should ride my city bike to the outdoor market at the big park on the other side of town. I found a place to lock my bike up close to the start of the market (sometimes this can be quite difficult) and started walking the stalls, which stretch for over a kilometer.

I looked at shoes and used clothes and new clothes. I considered handbags and pet supplies and rugs. I looked at lots more used clothes. You find the strangest and greatest things there.

Today I found a pair of winter cycling tights for Leif (his are  worn through in several places) at one stall. I was so amazed that I decided to spend some time there picking up every single piece of clothing to make sure I wasn't missing something else "cycling" that could be useful to me or Leif. Because these just aren't the kind of clothes you usually find for a couple of euro at the market.

All that looking netted me another pair of cycling shorts for Leif to wear for day tours. Sadly, even though I found a few pair women's shorts, they were far too small even when taking into consideration spandex's ability to stretch beyond the possible. Seriously, they looked too small for an eight year old girl, which I'm definitely not.

While I was there I got him a jean jacket to replace the one that he refuses to give up but is more holes than jacket anymore. It was pretty awesome.

So for the bargain price of 7 euro I got two pair of cycling pants and a jacket. It took several hours but I probably saved us a couple of hundred euro for things that had to be replaced anyway.

While I was looking through several hundred assorted sweat pants, jerseys, hoodies and other sports clothing the weather took a turn for the worse. Which usually isn't a problem here. I mean that it threatens rain often but doesn't always deliver actual rain. Today was an exception. As I finished paying for my great finds it started to rain and thunder started to rumble a bit. The closer I got to my bike the harder it came down, till I finally had to huddle under an awning pretending to be fascinated and on the brink of purchasing the ugliest plastic purse on the planet. I did this for the length of the market alternately showing great interest in belts, doggie beds, bras and men's underwear, and shoes.

Eventually I reached the end of the market. I could see my bike from the last stall with an awning, owned by a man who didn't even care if I looked at anything. He just wanted me to be dry....which would happen if only I'd buy an umbrella from his friend. Ha. Not this farm girl.

I put on the jacket I bought for Leif, put my purse into the plastic bag with the cycling pants, buckled my helmet under my chin and pushed my sunglasses firmly on my nose. I mean really, it wasn't raining that hard, we hadn't lost any visibility or anything like that. The lightening wasn't that close.

I rode past bicyclists huddled under trees, under awnings, in doorways and under loggias. People waiting for the bus crammed into storefronts turned their heads as one as I rode by. They all gave me the same look and their thoughts were pretty evident. What the hell are you doing? It's raining. Just pull over and wait for it to stop. It has to stop sometime. Crazy foreigner. It occurs to me now that they might have been less concerned about how wet I was than with how much they thought I was wearing. I had shorts on and the jacket covered them completely. Oh my. Nope, I'll stick with they think I'm nuts, not that they think I'm a nudist.

I'll admit that it might have made more sense to wait, but then again I was already soaked and waiting it out would just make me colder than I already was. So I just kept going, trying to time my approach to signal lights so that I didn't have to stop because I have to get off the seat (the bike is just a tad too big for me) and I didn't want to get my butt wet. Which is retrospect is pretty dumb, when the rest of you is wet they can't tell that your butt is wet too.

I felt something strange on my feet and when I looked I realized that my front tire had a wake and it was spraying my feet. The jacket is thick and incredibly absorbent denim that slowly became heavier and heavier as it gathered rainwater. My helmet didn't stop the water from running down my times I could feel the drops running over my eyeballs. I was kind of afraid of losing a contact so every once in awhile I'd whip the glasses off and gently wipe the soaked sleeve of the jacket across my eyes. It kind of helped.

Taxis passed me filled with dry passengers who either looked at me with great pity or great laughter; ditto for the buses although the bus passengers weren't all dry. I managed to get home without incident and squished up the stairs. I walked into the kitchen silently praying that the sheets I put on the line were dry. If the giant puddle in the middle of the floor was any indication then the answer was no. A thousand times, no.

I looked out the patio doors and watched the water running off the bottom of the sheets. I considered just running them through the centrifugal cycle and hanging them back up, but then realized that the rain had come down so fast and so hard that the gutter above our terrace overflowed and a century's worth of pigeon poop and other assorted city grime had washed all the clean water out of the sheets. So into the washer they went, with a double shot of detergent and boiling hot water. Of course once they come out of the washer they won't get dry anyway. It's still raining.

No comments:

Post a Comment