Rainy Days and Bicycles

In a corner of the public library, I look at my watch. It's time to go home.

Packing up my things, I groan as I heft my large handbag. It has to weigh at least 5 kilograms! Horrible. Darn those books.

I pull on my almost-Gore-Tex coat and grab my umbrella as I leave, because the rain was pouring when I came here, and it is still in the process of dousing everything in its wake right about now.

I find my bicycle right where I parked it, untouched except for rivulets of water running all over it.

I press on my gel bicycle seat cover gingerly and wince when I hear squishing noises. Luckily, it is waterproof on the inside, so it is able to actually protect the bike seat from getting too soaked.

I now have to set about the incredibly difficult task of getting the lock off my bicycle while shielding my bag with my, thankfully, huge umbrella.

I manage to get the lock off, the ridiculously heavy bag onto the left handlebar, and to back the bike out of its spot to wait at the zebra crossing.

Holy whatever, but the wind is strong! It's all I can do to keep my umbrella from flying away while pushing my bike across the road.

Once I get to the other side, the challenge begins: riding (literally) single-handedly a bike which has a dead weight on the left handlebar while my right hand busies itself with holding the umbrella in front of me.

All is well as I ride on the empty bicycle lane beside the local forest park, but once I get to the next zebra crossing, it's a whole other story.

Imagine, if you will, steering a very heavy, listing-to-one-side bike with one hand, clutching a too-large and too-heavy umbrella with the other, while right-turning cars narrowly avoid running you over, and you, yourself, have to keep from crashing into the mass of pedestrians on the raod, when the not-flat road itself is practically submerged underwater.

Succeed and you will experience one-tenth of the naked terror I feel now, especially when I narrowly avoid ploughing into the stomach of a woman crossing the road on foot, instead grazing her soft side.

I swear, no, I vow, that I will never again attempt such a risky manuever-riding in the rain with an unbalanced bike and an oversize umbrella.

Even though the colossal umbrella does keep me relatively dry, its size comes with an unfortunate price: it has humongous drag. Or friction with the air, whichever you prefer.

Did I mention that the front sole of my left boot is gaping open? The substandard little thing. My socks are soaked, and anyone who has experienced that knows how incredibly annoying it is.

When I finally get home and park my bike, it falls over flat on its left side, spilling half the contents in my bag onto the floor of our yard.

Never again. I am emotionally and physically exhausted.

And the trip was only a little over 1 kilometer long!