Thursday, May 03, 2012
Oh, the joy of an active lifestyle. Too bad I did not start earlier in life. I would not be learning these lessons in my 50s!
In case you’re wondering, I do have some new insight for mid life fitness. Today’s topic will be bike riding in the rain. You see, I am a bit stubborn at times. My son replaced the wheels on my bike this past weekend so that I could ride again – he harvested my wheels during the long winter months when he damaged his. Since we have the same brand and wheel size (my frame is a bit smaller and more girl-styled) and I had no intention of riding in the frigid temperatures and snow, I figured he might as well save his money and order new wheels for me in the spring. Anyway, since he put the new wheels on, I felt I should make use of them right away.
A bit of background here – until almost 2 years ago, I had not been on a bike since about 1998 – and then, I was simply riding around the block with my youngest son. Prior to that, it was probably about 1972. I didn't ride much the summer we bought bikes. Last summer, I rode a little, but not much. I have been out 3 times this year – each time, riding a total of between 6 and 8 miles. My son basically got brand new wheels and tires when he harvested them from my bike. I am not an experienced rider by a long shot.
Today’s goal was to get the riding in before the thunderstorms arrived. The weather channel said to expect light rain to begin at 9:45 this morning. Well, I left the nursing home on my return trip home at 9:25. It takes me a little longer than 20 minutes, but I figured if it started at 9:45, I would only have to ride a short distance in “light rain”. Hmm… imagine that – the weather channel was a little off on their prediction. It was already raining when I walked out the door. I decided to take the longer route home on the bike path rather than the steep hills on the heavily traveled streets.
My advice for riding in the rain is simple:
1. A tip my son provided prior to me leaving the house – wet bike brakes do not work very well. Test them before you need them so you know how they react. (I did this because I trust his advice – it was quite enlightening!)
2. If you are dependent on bifocals, seriously reconsider the idea of riding in the rain. Most bifocals do not come with windshield wipers. You will not be able to see after the first few minutes. If you aren't completely dependent on them, go ahead… just know that you will either have to take them off or look over the tops of them for much of your ride, so avoid high traffic areas.
3. If you are riding in the rain, expect to get wet… and realize that sweatpants are heavier when wet and they do not dry quickly. If you expect rain, wear something less absorbent.
4. If you run into a friend who is walking her dog in the rain, seriously consider whether or not you really want to stop and chat for 10 or 15 minutes in the rain. You may enjoy catching up with each other, but know that it will make your clothing wetter, your bifocals will be useless sooner, and the length of time out in the rain is increased in direct correlation to amount of time you spend talking… not to mention the fact that “light rain” may develop into “heavier rain”.
5. When you arrive home, don’t let your son (or anyone else) talk you into helping them while they learn how to adjust (remove, clean, figure out how to replace) the front derailleur on their bike until AFTER you change out of the wet sweatpants! Trust me, they don’t feel any more comfortable while you are doing that than they did while you were riding!
5. Most importantly, if you are going to ride in the rain, be sure you are someone who can laugh at yourself!
It was fun. It was rather invigorating. I may not do it again anytime soon – temperatures here were in the low 50s today and it wasn't too bad, but any cooler and I might have been quite unhappy. Still, it was something I never would've considered a year ago. Can hardly wait to see what silly trick I attempt next! Hint: it will not be hitting the bike path on roller blades or a longboard!