Cycling in the rain

On Thursday morning I set off in my recently re-discovered Oxford University Women’s Cricket Club 2007 match shirt on my morning cycle. While rain was forecast, the sky was overcast but bright and I was confident there would only be a few sprinkles.

Sprinkling started 2 miles into the 8 mile journey. By this point I was already quite hot and bothered, having already battled with the 25 bus down a chunk of the A11 and been frustrated by Tower Hamlets’ love-hate relationship with cyclists (more on that topic some other time), and I thought it would stop soon enough (it often does) so I wouldn’t bother to pull Cecily over, undo the pannier straps, get the fluorojacket on and get going again…

I regretted that about 30 second later when the heavens punished me for my confidence and opened over my head. By the time I got to the Liverpool St/Bank area, I’m sure my white cricket shirt was translucent and I was soaked to the skin. Even at this point it would have been a good idea to pull over and put the fluorojacket on. But no, reasoning that once I was soaked, I couldn’t get any more wet, I battled boldly on and discovered the strange City cycling contraflow that is Lombard St. (anyone know this street? any thoughts?)

I got to work (late – rain seems to add a good 20% to my travel time) and was pleased to have the jacket to retain my modesty, riding up in the lift with all the impeccably dressed staff in their natty suits, carrying bespoke umbrellas…

Waking up Friday morning, I heard the weather forecast. I looked outside. I sneezed a lot (seriously, a lot). And yet I saddled up Cecily anyway and off we went. It duly rained this afternoon, copiously, as predicted. Enough to give me pruney hands from having wet hands and holding wet handlebars. This time I was smart enough to wear my jacket.

But (whisper it softly) – it was fun! Alison Cohen, the brains behind Boston’s bike sharing scheme, said it all:

“I’ve always viewed urban biking a sort of like skiing moguls”

Sometimes, around Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Road and Holborn (particularly Holborn Circus), it feels just like skiing moguls: hold on tight and just keep going fast (no, I’m not a skier, does it show?). Somehow, being soaked through and shaking your head at every traffic light to fling off the rain that will otherwise fly back into your eyes when you look behind you, just adds to the ambience.

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