Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Bike Commuter

When I woke up this morning it was cloudy but not raining. I skipped my yoga class (shame on me I know) because I couldn’t drag myself out of the warm bed at 5am. Instead, I decided I would ride my bike to work today, thinking it may be my last chance (since my last day in the office is Friday). Around 7:30am it started looking dreary outside but I figured I could beat the rain (why did I think I could do that?) At 7:45am I set out in the drizzle- donning several layers and a fluorescent orange rain jacket, hoping to be dry and visible. Little did I know in a couple of miles I would be very wet and wishing I was invisible.

The first little bit of the ride was uneventful; I waived at fellow bike commuters, dodged parked cars, and moved with the flow of traffic. As I started the first descent down the Greeley hill the rain picked up and it was quickly pouring. I went back and forth sprinting down the road (hoping to ride faster than the rain perhaps?) and going really slow trying to avoid the splash of water shooting up off of my front tire and smacking me in the face. From ping-ponging back and forth between a sprint and a crawl I succeeded in wearing myself out.

From a distance, I may have looked like a pro-commuter in my Portland-friendly cycling jacket and sweet black cross bike, but upon closer inspection I was the laughing-stock of the biking community. First of all, I didn’t have fenders on my bike. EVERY Portlander, and cyclist for that matter, has fenders to put on their bikes for rain riding. Without fenders you get a straight shot of rain and road grim spraying you in the face for the entirety of the ride. So for five miles, I squinted and snorted and wiped grit from my face.

In contract to the front fender, back fenders prevent mud-butt. What is mud-butt you may ask? Similar to the spray for the front tire, the back tire also shoots up road debris straight onto the rider, specifically in a straight line from your lower back to your seat. So, yes, your crack (I was trying to avoid saying butt crack on my blog, but alas, I just said it). So here I go, squinting and snorting, wiping and grunting, with water in my face and mud on my butt. Lovely.

By the time I got to work I could ring water out of my socks and left a gritty trail through the office to my desk. I am sure my coworkers loved that. But, I survived, and I finally got the guts to commute in a downpour. It looks like I became an official Portlander just in time to hit the road. Good thing I plan to commute in Chapel Hill too- everyone will be so impressed with my skills!

On another note, my mom calls me every morning to ask if I am happy or sad- I think she is trying to gauge the teeter-totter emotions I am feeling right now: happiness and excitement about our new adventure and sadness about leaving Portland and the home we have made here over the past 2 years. So, to get myself pumped up and excited, I have decided to do a daily post about what I am most excited about regarding the move. As I am just now warming up from my ride (3 hours later), here is what I am most excited about today.

Portland 10 day forecast:

Chapel Hill 10 day forecast:

Ross made a comment the other day- “oh man I guess we are going to have to start buying sunscreen again.” Something we haven’t done in TWO YEARS! Bring it on!

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