Looking Down at My Wet Self After a Bike Ride in the Rain

Looking down at a a bike handlebar and my wet skirt and dirty leg from biking in the rain.

I watch the weather, but what I’m looking for changes with the season. It’s bike riding time, so now the only weather I pay attention to is rain and sometimes wind. I kept hoping the Thursday forecast would change because I had an 8am dentist appointment over in Hamilton, and I didn’t want to ride my bike in the rain during rush hour, especially on busy streets like Walther, Echodale, and Harford Road.

But alas, the rain came as predicted. The ladyfriend needed the car, so it was the bike or the bus. I didn’t even look at bus schedules. It is rarely worth it for me to wait in inclement weather for an unreliable bus than to just get wet, cold, or whatever on the bike. She looked it up, though: “It’s just two buses, and it says you can get there in 31 minutes.” Yeah, nope. I have never successfully transferred buses and made it anywhere in this city in less than an hour. This would be a different city if we had reliable public transportation.

So I put on my rain coat, a lil bike hat with that tiny brim to keep rain out of my eyes, and took the long way over to Hamilton, worth the extra mile and half to avoid some high trafficked streets. Googleymaps will have you riding on 33rd when a block over you have Lakeside all to yourself, for example.

I thought what I would have to say about this ride would be all about the rain, but what it was really about was a tour of some of our bike infrastructure. I was most excited about the lane across the Harford Road Bridge. That thing has been closed for several years, and I might not be as excited about its reopening as drivers, but I was thrilled to roll down the street on the east end of Lake Montebello and take an easy left into a lane to myself for a few blocks. I’m sure there are a zillion things wrong with it because it’s infrastructure and that’s how these things go, but I loved it.

The Walther Avenue bike lane? Not so much. The difference between a bike lane without any bollards or borders one that’s just right next to speedy cars who don’t care about the bike lane is a big one. Echodale was even worse, but that left onto Harford Road, its divided bike lane with regular bike racks and elevated bus stops? Chef’s kiss! These lanes have been there for awhile, but I’m never over in that neighborhood because of the aforementioned Walther Ave, which also has “uphill” going against it for random rides. But now I know it’s worth it, just for the lanes, and I look forward to rides over there for lunch and baked goods and coffee soon. Bike lanes, good for business.

The ride home was much wetter and colder than the ride to the dentist, but I was still glad to be out there, pumping my legs and feeling like a bad ass because I am willing to start a bike ride in the rain. My dad’s rule was never to do that, but sometimes you’ve got no other choice. I snapped this picture of my wet dog dirty self before heading into the house for a warm shower and pjs for a few hours of work alone at my desk, grateful for all those who fight for complete streets infrastructure to make things safer for all road users.

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