Biking in the rain

I just got caught in the rain, big time. It’s one of these weeks where it’s raining every day, and if it’s not raining, it’s constantly just about to rain, the sky is gray and the wind is blowing, it’s an ever-present threat. And I guess it’s good, you know, for the environment, for my garden. Every day I try to make a point to go outside and hose down the plants, but even when I do it, I’m probably not out there for as long as I should be. I keep meaning to buy a sprinkler, but it’s been so rainy lately that, one, I don’t really have to, because nature is taking care of it, and two, I don’t want to leave the house unless I really have to, because it’s so gross out.

So today I went to meet one of my friends downtown for lunch. The sky was cloudy but for some reason I was optimistic, like come on, it already rained yesterday and the day before. Today is going to be different. I rode my bike. I love riding my bike. I always know exactly how long it’s going to take me to get anywhere. I don’t have to worry about the subway being late or not paying attention and missing my stop.

And it was fine, I made it downtown fine. But after lunch I headed out to bike back home and it was starting to rain, just a misting so far, so I was like, OK, I better book it before I get wet. And that was stupid, because I started getting wet immediately. A lot of the time I’ll travel with this emergency biking-in-the-rain outfit, some waterproof pants, a couple of plastic bags to wrap around my backpack. But I didn’t have anything with me today.

Still, I should have just gotten off of my bike and taken the subway. It’s totally acceptable to bring your bike on the train. But it’s just such a pain in the ass. First of all, if it’s raining out, everybody’s going to be looking for shelter underground. Time to get off the streets and get back inside. And so the normally crowded subway system gets even more crowded. And I have my bike with me. Do you know how difficult that is, trying to maneuver not just yourself, but also a huge bike through a crowd of wet people?

It’s like, what’s the correct way to get your bicycle through the turnstile? I have no idea, so I just pick it up and kind of shove it through which, depending on my angle, depending on how many people are simultaneously trying to come and go, it might work or it might not. It might get stuck, and then I’m causing a little traffic jam, and then people start yelling things, not the people immediately behind or in front of me, no, that would be a little too confrontational. But the people two or three back, safe enough to lob whatever insults they want without any fear of repercussion or altercation. They’re like, “Move your bike asshole!”

And also, whenever it’s really wet out, I have such a hard time getting my Metrocard out of my wallet. For anybody not familiar with the New York City subway, the Metrocard is a credit card shaped piece of plastic that holds money for passage. I don’t know if I’m the only one who experiences this problem, because I’ve never even really consciously thought about it until I started writing this out, but it’s impossible to get a grip on it when it’s wet. And my wallet, it’s like I need to use the tips of my fingers to pull the card out. And I can’t. And I have my bike. I’m just standing there at the turnstile, “Let’s move it jerkoff!” shouted at me from every direction.

Getting the bike on the train, it shouldn’t be a problem, but again, when it’s raining, the platforms are jam-packed. So even when the train eventually arrives, what am I supposed to do, push people out of the way so I can take up three spots, one for me and two for my bicycle? Everybody’s crammed in, wet, cold, and they see me standing there occupying all that space, I can just hear them screaming in their heads, “Way to go, jerk!”

So I toughed it out and rode my bike in the rain. It didn’t let up until I was like three quarters of the way home, but even if it’s not directly raining, all you need to make the ride really inconvenient is a layer of rain on the street. Your tires will constantly splash it up along your back, in your face, soaking your feet from underneath. It’s not pleasant. But whatever, I’m home. I have to leave for work in like half an hour. I guess I’ll bike, because if I wanted to take the train, I should have left like five minutes ago.

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