TCI Friday

I made a critical mistake. In bailing on a planned ride, I said, “I forgot I made a plan with my mom.” It was true. I’d committed to helping my mother with a project. She lives two miles away. I had put her off a few times already. But you can’t invoke your mom in an excuse when you’re a grown person.

Apparently, mom jokes then consumed the witty banter of the ride in my absence.

But of course, these are the people I ride with, and what they enjoyed so much last week found its way merrily into the texting to-and-fro of planning this week’s ride. All of this low-level abuse I absorbed cheerfully. As a grown person, comfortable with his choices, it would be churlish to deny them their mirth.

But then I bailed on this week’s ride too. We woke to rain and temps in the high 40s, not the absolute worst, but also not how I wanted my day to start. The original plan was a dirt ride, but soft trails don’t like knobby tires, so a road excursion was suggested. Someone said, “Should we just bail?”

I said, “My mom thinks so.”

But as it went, everyone else was up for clipping on a fender and heading out the door. Ugh. I sipped my coffee. There would be heck to pay (Hell Toupee?), but when it comes to heck, I have deep pockets.

Later in the morning, while busy not chewing on the sand kicked up from the tire in front of me, the dog and I went for a walk. I began to consider my current attitude vis a vis shitty weather. My writing alter-ego is Robot, a name I took from something my brother used to say about me riding during the winter. Whenever anyone wondered if I didn’t get cold, out there pedaling around in the teens and single-digits, he would look at them blankly and say, “Robots don’t feel cold.”

I was tough then. Young too. My kids were small, and I had to take whatever saddle time I could get. Maybe I was pushing my limits, but I sorta had to. The truth is never nearly as glamorous or cool as you wish. And maybe you have to let certain facets of your reputation go, once they stop serving you (i.e. when the coffee is hot and the couch is comfortable).

48F and rainy. My mom didn’t think it advisable.

This weeks TCIF asks, do you ride in the rain? If you do, how low do you go, temp-wise? Are you as tough as you used to be? Tougher? Also, how does your mom feel about all this? Is she as utterly indifferent as mine, as long as the shelves get hung, and the blinds in the living room get fixed?

Join the conversation
  1. tcfrog says

    I have ridden in the rain, but it is never a choice I would make. If it’s raining at the start, I’m out – no need to get soaked and grimy with road oil unnecessarily. If I’m already on a ride and it starts raining, I’ll keep going. These cases are usually when I misread the weather report or a freak storm pops up. The lowest I’ve ridden in the rain was about 40; it was a miserable ride and left me chilled to the bone the rest of the day.

  2. papogi says

    Years ago when I raced, and always needed to train, I would ride in the rain. I actually kind of enjoyed it, as it made me feel tougher. But I was also a bicycle mechanic, and couldn’t get around the fact that riding in the rain is hard on bikes, so put it mildly. Now I’m a dry weather rider (cold is fine though), and make no apologies. I can’t stomach what rain does to bikes.

  3. rich says

    Through the years I’ve ridden in all sorts of miserable conditions. Freezing cold, snow, rain and heat. I much prefer heat. Now that I’m retired and can ride whenever I want I wait for warmer or drier.

  4. TominAlbany says

    I only rarely ride in the rain. 40 and raining I did once and couldn’t feel my hands when I was descending the small mountain I’d just climbed. Scary as hell wondering if I was really squeezing or only thought I was! I got to the bottom and pedaled as hard as I could just to put some heat into my bones. I took a hot bath when I got home to warm up.

    The ride sucked. That bath was the best!

    Dry is better and safer so that’s what I typically do. If I’m caught out, so be it! However, a short ride in 70s rain, no worries. I’d be that wet with sweat anyway.


  5. bluezurich says

    I haven’t started a ride in the rain in 20 years. I do ride in the rain, but never from the get go. In my late 20’s and early 30’s I would ride in everything. Single F digits, snow with studded tires, everything. I also had bikes to match the elements. Now at 56+ my starting temp is 45-48F, that’s what today was, my first outside ride of the year with 1500 indoor base miles. It was very nice, just a bit chilly yet I dressed accordingly and ended up with overstuffed rear pockets when it was all said and done. I ride about half the distance I used to but twice the number of days. Go figure. I’m tougher in some ways, more reserved in others and oh, my Mom is hundreds of miles away and she loves to see me (facetime) when I’ve been riding…skinny and tan!

  6. Hautacam says

    Well, living in Seattle sort of demands riding in the rain, unless you are only going to ride 3 months out of the year. I’ll ride into the low 40’s or even high 30’s, but in those conditions I’ll probably do a shorter, more intense cx ride in the park or some hill repeats rather than a longer tempo road ride. Mostly its the short dark winter days that cut down my riding time, rather than the wet.

  7. Dan Murphy says

    Ride in the rain? Ha! I don’t get paid enough.

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