Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I fought the rain....and the rain won! This time....

You ever have one of those days where so much crazy stuff happens in such a quick succession - you wished you had it on video just so people would believe you?

Today, dear Two Women Four Wheels fans, was one of those days. The bus/bike gods were not on my side, but not to worry, my bus/bike spirit is not deterred!

This morning, I wake up with plans to go to the gym for my morning workout. I do a quick check of the weather and realize it's pretty warm today - for Michigan standards. Yes, I can hear it's raining, but it doesn't look too bad. Plans adjusted = it's a bus/bike day! Hooray!

I'm heading down Rochester Road in Royal Oak and I hit a few puddles. My boots get wet but I have some decent gear. These babies are waterproof and my feet stay nice and toasty dry.

I'm headed south on Washington toward the Transit Center when all of the sudden, it happens. A truck hits a puddle and I am literally overtaken by a small tidal wave. As I stop to recover and assess the damage, another truck hits the SAME puddle and the aftershock tidal wave occurs. This time, I get mascara/general street dirt in my eye, and one of my contacts washes away. I then become mildly smart and move away from the scene of the numerous puddle crimes (I just could not take a third tidal wave) and realize I am soaked to the bone. And covered in dirt/grime/whatever may be floating in Royal Oak's standing street water. Oh yeah, and I can only see out of one eye. The absolute definition of hot mess.

Sadly, SADLY, I make the decision to turn back, clean up at home, and drive to work (so I'm only mildly late vs. mega late).

I have never, ever turned back from a bus/bike adventure. Seven degrees windchill? BRING IT. Rain? You know what, I'm washable. 90 degrees and 100% humidity? You know, you can bike in a skirt w/ bike shorts, ladies. Gets a nice breeze going. I'm just sayin'.

So I pedal home disappointed but still thankful that I have options. I don't have to bus/bike. But I LOVE to bus/bike. And I sincerely hope that through our stories (and yours too), we are able to spur some real transit-based change around lovely southeast Michigan.

Biking home, soaking wet, semi-blind, totally dirty, I think through the lessons learned:
1. Get some waterproof pants and mascara
2. WATCH out for puddles in the street (because car drivers won't and don't really need to)
3. I miss snow! It's January in the mitten state, for cryin' out loud.
4. You may have won this battle rain/trucks/puddles, but you haven't won the war.

And then, driving down Woodward on the way to work, I think about (and see) many of the folks that may not have the option to jump in their car to avoid crappy weather. The weather is just something you have to deal with, as is our transit 'system' - and I use that term very lightly given all of the current holes in service.

I know a lot of our readers out there must have some great weather/bus/bike stories - total fails or total wins! Please feel free to share :)


  1. Well written Julie! (And thanks for the nice visual of the hot mess). I wish there were better options for those who don't have any at the moment.

  2. Ah, my advice for biking in drizzle is exactly what you have. However, my advice for biking when it's been pouring for hours is to just bring everything you need for work- including a towel and different shoes- in a plastic bag and go early so you can just get ready there.

    Even the most waterproof stuff of mine won't survive big puddles and downpours, and once you decide it doesn't matter how wet you get then it's fun again!

    When you get to work, you will feel energized because everyone else's day just started and you've already had a Goonies-style epic adventure, what. Yes, I'd like more coffee, ah warm dry socks! Let's do this job!

    Also be sure to dry off your chain and lube it up after you get home, or it will rust.

  3. Sorry to read your wet report. As you may know, it's not illegal for motorists to splash cyclists. In many cities (including Royal Oak), it is against city ordinance for motorists to carelessly splash pedestrians -- which is what you were as a stopped cyclist during the second wave. However, this driver responsibility is rarely taught in driver's ed and perhaps never enforced.

  4. Rox - thanks for all the great advice! Todd - did NOT know that - but really good to know. And Col - thanks for the support :)