Sunday, October 18, 2009

First rainy commute

Throughout the months since I rediscovered how fun it is to ride a bike, I've wondered whether my new interest would survive the summer. Riding the 5.5 miles to work and back each day was a breeze in the summer, but would I do it in the cold and rain of winter?

This week presented my first chance to see how fair-weather-dependent my new hobby would be. Our region was swept by wild storms on Tuesday, with four inches of rain and winds gusting up to 55 mph. I rode around the block a few times (on Takumashi), mostly for the right to say I cycled even on this wild day.

Wednesday, though, presented a more realistic test. Rain kept falling, but the winds had turned to breezes. I outfitted in new rain pants and gloves, donned a rain jacket from my Pacific Bell days and set off to work. The rain was almost not an issue. To be fair, it was far from cold, so this wasn't a full-on test of winter riding. Once I became accustomed to rain hitting my face, the day was really very pleasant.

I rode more slowly than usual, aware that braking would be more difficult. Also, there was storm debris on every block and throughout the trail. Once, in an Old Sac alley, leaves obscured a stretch of uneven pavement and I came very close to a spill. A close call, but no harm, no fall.

In the 11-mile round trip, I saw no more than three other cyclists. Perhaps because of this shortage of people -- or maybe due to the newly formed ponds in the river basin -- birds of all kinds were in abundance... a flock of fat turkeys. a pair of egrets, a gangly blue heron.

Tomorrow's forecast calls for rain again. We'll see if it's fun the second time around.

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