23 January 2009
Hard rain's gonna fall, but only 12 times a year
Dishcloth skies and four-dimensional drizzle this morning as I biked to work. Central London was wet, tired and grey. Or perhaps that was just me.
But anyone driving past me, had they looked up from their mobile phone, would have wondered what I was so damn happy about. Because when it's raining, I'm wary of looking miserable. Poor bloke, the drivers might think, he can't afford a car, or the time to be sat in a traffic jam like me. Or worse, ha ha, I'm warm and dry, and he's cold and soaking.
Which isn't the case. I love cycling and that doesn't change given a bit of vertical moisture. All the positives are still there - door-to-door convenience, control over route and timing, speed and cheapness, and arriving feeling alive and well, despite the kebab last night. The only thing that changes is that you've effectively been standing in a shower with your clothes on for half an hour.
Now, given decent waterproofs, you'll arrive at work completely dry. Sadly I've only got half-decent waterproofs, so I arrive with, on average, one leg and one arm sodden.
Figures authoritatively plucked out of the air by the website bikeforall.net say it only rains on 12 commuting days a year. Well, rains hard, anyway. That translates to six full sets of damp arms and legs per annum, which isn't too bad. Today was one of those special days.
But no misery for me in the rain. No clenched teeth, narrowed eyes and hunched shoulders, like a Tour de France rider being hotly pursued up Mont Ventoux by the testing lab. No. I want drivers to know that I'm happy. I don't want to risk their misguided pity or contempt.
So the harder it rains, the more I look like the Dalai Lama in a reflective jacket, smiling away, chuckling when the lights turn red, eyes creasing and shoulders rocking in pleasure when a passing bus launches a puddle at me.
I just wish I could do the same when it's sunny.