Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned

Anyone who lives here knows that this past Wednesday (June 9th) was a very rainy day. I’m not talking torrential downpours and raining sideways like most coastal communities consider “very rainy.”

(I can say these things – I grew up in such a coastal community where the rain was SO sideways and fast it stung…or the winds so violent that the ferry wouldn’t run and you got to miss school! Or get stuck on the wrong side of the Strait of Georgia and not go home – pizza sleep over parties! You can see where this is going?)

 So, back to yesterday… It was Damien’s preschool year end party, this year held at a family’s yard (bigger & more private) only a dozen-ish blocks from home. When it came time to leave I checked the skies, saw over cast but dry grounds and decided to bike there.

But the forecast was grim you say? But it had already been raining before you left? Sure….but I’m invicible? Or fearless? Or possibly a little insane? Biiiiiig deal!

The ride TO our party was fine, a bit of spitting, even my glasses didn’t get too splotched upon. The party itself was another story, the spitting turned into good amounts of drops all at once. Not downpour….just a good rain. And then it’d stop. And then it’d start to spit again…and the spitting would again turn into…oh wait this time it’s a downpour.

When it came time to leave, soaked kids, wet roads, and never-seeming-to-end rain was what I had to deal with. I had “offers” (aka people asking if I’d be alright, why did I bike any way?) but nobody was a: able to take myself, my kids, my bike, AND my trailer home safely and b: come up with a better solution besides “waiting out the rain.” So we set out. I made sure the kids were covered with the plastic of the trailer, loaded even my purse and the veggie tray and the dip into the trailer (and a diaper bag!) and set off. In a down pour!

By the time I’d reached the end of the block I noticed right away how much different the road felt while wet. Traction was still just fine, but stopping and starting took just that LITTLE bit more effort. The worst part (for me personally) was how hard it was to see with rain drop covered glasses. I had to stop twice to clean them off on my already soaked sweater. (Oh did I mention I’d dressed the kids properly but not myself?)

It took about 5 minutes longer for the, including having to wait to cross the one major street near our house that unless I can see everyone stopping I won’t bike across (we walked, I’m teaching Damien the “proper” way to bike on roads). 

So lessons learned?

  • If it’s going to rain, wear my contacts, or see if I can fit a hat with a big brim under my helmet.? See if I can BUILD a hat to go under or over my helmet? Ooooh the possibilities!
  • Biking uses completely different muscles than walking. I knew this, but hauling 70lbs of kids plus a few more pounds in additional stuff makes a difference. My legs had a good burn both there and back, and I cannot wait to do longer trips (though I feel it might take some working up to get much much longer). I’m thinking the majority of our trips will stay “local” (aka in Millwoods area or to the in-laws, which I cannot wait to bike!!) so we can avoid using the van unless it’s absolutely necessary.

I posted on my Facebook about my riding in the rain, and got one person “Like”-ing said status and another messaged me and told me I was insane. I don’t see the big deal, it wasn’t a far ride, the rain doesn’t hurt us, etc….but this friend…well lets just say we don’t always see eye to eye on …a LOT of things!

How do you deal with the nay-sayers and doubters and people who don’t get that it’s very easy to bike around? Edmonton is quite flat, even the tiny hills are probably at a 1% or less incline (I might be under exaggerating, but I grew up with BIG hills, and my dad bike commuted well before it was even considered “cool” or “hip.”)

*** I wish I had pictures of my soaked shoes to post, but I was too busy getting the kids inside and dried / cleaned off. Apologies! ***

5 thoughts on “Lessons Learned

  1. I have a special bike specifically for rainy days. So far though, its not really seen the rain aside from one day while we were still building it up and I went for a test run.

  2. Everything is both an “experience” and an “adventure” when you’re biking with kids. For the most part I just laugh it off when people make snarky comments like “you’re insane”. If I had fun, if the kids had fun, and most importantly if not one got hurt, then it’s a win for everyone.
    And besides – it’s just a bit of rain – give it a positive spin: an outdoor shower. With your clothes on. That makes it more fun. 🙂

    And btw: kudos. If the forecast called for more rain I woulda been a wimp and taken the bus. Then again, there’s a lot more hills here.

  3. @MandG : I’ve turned freeloading bike (previous post…somewhere) into my rainy day bike, she’ll need fenders, but I figure her tires are perfect for it, and she’s kinda half ugly so it works!

    @Claire the kids had a blast, especially since they were all dry, and once people realized how close it was and how ridiculous to drive there (not busable unless I wanted to spend twice as much time as crawling would take) they suddenly weren’t as doubtful, but the rain still scared them off. I guess we’ll melt?

    @Deborah lol but who else can I make fun of for their backwards thinking ways…OY!

  4. I don’t get nearly as many naysayers as before. But when you’re new to biking and it’s new to the people in your life you may have to offer measured explanations to the uninitiated:)

    People call me “crazy” for riding, but nobody ever questions the cool factor. Seriously, past a certain point if you’re committed to it, the biking just sort of speaks for itself.


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