It actually wasn’t raining that bad. Yesterday when I got up it was raining and my knee hurt. After my trip to Japan in 2008, a cane for a month and a round of therapy, I’ve settled into the reality that my knee is always going to hurt. It’s not surprising. I broke my arm 21 years ago, and it still aches when the weather changes. The knee has the same effect these days, and when we went from crisp to the 70s yesterday, I hurt with every step. Ironically, perhaps, biking hurts less and I probably should have biked (the weather was lovely after the AM rain), but I thought I’d listen to the weather guy about the expected downpour in the morning. I hate going to work wet. Since yesterday was so nice, I decided to chance it today and bike in. And I got wet.
As time goes on, I’m less and less fussed about showing up to work a little damp. It’s only a drizzle today, and it didn’t really start raining until my train got downtown, so I feel it was the right choice today. I’m much better about biking in the rain now than I was back in March. It’s been seven months since I started bicycle commuting, and I average four days a week right now.
I like to look at how much I’ve changed. On my first commute I said:
So today I was a really slow biker, but I made it to the train in 30 minutes (which takes into account the 10 or 12 minutes it took me to sort out the bag situation). It’s 3.3 km (2.1 miles) to the train from home. I walk it in about 40 minutes, so right there is 10 minutes saved. I know I used to be able to run faster, but this is a work in progress.
Now I get home in 15 minutes from the train, on average. I’ve done it in 10, hitting every green light along the way, but accounting for school being back in session and the construction on California street, which makes me go a couple blocks out of my way to avoid biking on the metal ‘hole covers’, I’m back to 15. I don’t like how my bike skids on them when it’s wet, and the dust is insane. I can take the hills without having to shift down, and in fact, most of the time I bike home in high-gear, since it’s a slight downhill after that hill. To work is mostly in my middle gear, though downtown I may up-shift and go faster.
Other things that have changed is I don’t always stop at a stop sign. I will always stop at a light, but for stop signs I slow down, check traffic (since most of my stop signs are at one-way streets, this is really easy), and then zip through. My only problems are when people see me signal to turn, and then decide that they’re going to be nice and let me through, when I’ve judged my speed to be able to turn AFTER they proceed through the stop sign. I try to signal for them to go, since they got to their stop sign first and legally have the right of way, but. They’re nice, I guess.
The title for this blog actually comes from my friend Rae (she who let me use her car for my license exam), who is generally mother-ish about my biking habits. Only once did I accept a ride home from her (it was pouring rain). Usually, even if the weather is iffy, I’m still pedaling to and from work. I’ve only once been caught in a downright deluge (back in April) on the way to work, and the rest of the time, I’ve not needed to worry about silly Gortex pants. One day, we were predicted an outright downpour. When I woke up, though, it was clear skies, so I decided to chance it and biked in. As soon as we walked in, the rain started. It didn’t stop until about 3:45pm, and when I left at 4pm, the sky was clear again. That lasted until I stepped into my apartment, and it poured again.
Sometimes fortune favors the bold.