My bike riding these days has been mostly commuting to and from work. And then the rain started, and I hate riding my bike in the rain. My brakes don’t work as well, my glasses get so wet I can’t see, and it is just generally unsafe. No such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing, my dad and many others would say, but I gotta be honest–sometimes it is bad weather for biking. And that is what we had for almost a week.
When I don’t ride my bike I either use the car and put the ladyfriend on the train, or I take the bus. Neither of these are great options, because I hate driving and parking, and the bus is just wildly unreliable. I wish we had public transit options that we could genuinely rely on. Know what the biggest factor is in a person’s ability to get out of poverty? Commute time. I make a good public sector salary, have a flexible work schedule, and am not responsible for moving any other people around–to school, the doctor, to practice, etc.–so I have the time and resources to make my multimodal commutes possible. Most people on the bus don’t have any other choice, and our public resources make clear that nobody’s interested in making that last choice a good one. It is enraging. There’s always plenty of money for war and for rich people to get richer, but imagine how many lives would transform if that level of resources paid for public transit that was reliable and frequent.
But back to my bike. So, on Wednesday the sky was still cloudy and the rain was spitting, but I couldn’t take it anymore. I popped on my raincoat, rolled my bike out the basement door, slipped in the backyard and fell in a mud puddle, and then rolled down the hill to the bike racks at the University of Maryland Medical Center. I lock up by the doors to Shock Trauma and walk a block back to Greene Street to catch the shuttle out to campus.
A guy who works at the hospital generally arrives at the same time I do, and we have given each other the nod and good morning a couple days a week for years. I hadn’t seen him in a few weeks, but I saw him on Wednesday. Unlike me, he had the right clothes for the weather. We nodded at each other, shared a few words about how much the weather had sucked for the past week, and parted ways. I don’t know his name, don’t need to, he’s just a part of my community, and I was happy to see him. We are both still here, I thought, still riding our bikes to work, lucky us.
The weather started to shift in the later afternoon, and I snapped this picture of the sky as I walked back to my bike at the end of the day. Blue sky was starting to poke through, and it gave me the energy to get back up the hill on the bike after a slog of a day. The sun will come out, it always does, and it did, on Thursday. I didn’t ride in it for my own reasons, but today? This afternoon has sunny fall bike ride written all over it, and I can’t wait.