Saturday, March 27, 2010

Riding in the rain

Tonight I rode home from a meeting in the rain! It was a beautiful experience.
Somehow everything seemed to be timed to perfection. We were sitting outside and at about 9:00pm a cool breeze came through... Then came the gust. Everyone who's lived in Darwin (or any other tropical place I imagine) knows exactly what to expect soon after that blast of cool air arrives! About 5 minutes later it hit! A beautiful tropical shower complete with the most amazing display of sheet lightening.

It came down pretty hard but by the time I was ready to leave the rain had petered out to a light drizzle and the sky was bright with a constant display of sheet lightening behind the clouds. It really is a wonderful experience to be in this kind of weather.

digression - a rant about my bike (and Biopace Chain rings)
I was riding a fairly old Giant Perigee road bike. It was a bike I got cheep from the tip and ended up giving to my mate Martin. Martin fixed the bike up and a friend of his was riding it a couple of years ago but it has since been returned to me and has been sitting in the yard for most of the past year . It was a pretty slick little bike to ride and I was glad that I'd lent/given it to someone who could be bothered to get it into reasonable shape. I hadn't really ridden it much since Martin gave it back so tonight I had an unexpected treat. The bike is quite smooth and fast too. Although it's a much smaller frame size than would normally suit me I felt very comfortable on it... with a good set of tires I didn't feel at all unsafe riding in the rain... Actually I felt like I was just gliding along. The biopace chainrings probably added to this feeling. Biopace is a kind of elliptical cog system that was introduced back in the 80s and lasted only until the early 90s. There are forums full of arguments about their merit, a lot of people don't like them, but as my knees seem to be getting worse, I am finding the biopace more and more appealing, based on comfort. It's funny because I've read the exact opposite in forums but generally the people who discredit biopace rarely seem to have ridden with it and then I keep coming across people who say that they've ridden 1,000s of miles on them and find them to be very good. I can only judge by my own experience and I'm quite happy. Even to the point where I'm contemplating fitting biopace to my Xtracycle.

(The Giant Perigee with Biopace... I know it looks rough and needs oil)

I have several bikes and only ride with biopace occasionally, however I often feel much more comfortable on the biopace bikes, my knees are much happier too. Everything I've read suggests that they had little effect on efficiency or in overcoming any particular problems... People say biopace offered nothing special to the world of cycling and they eventually disappeared from the stores. It seems that the cycling world is quite fashion oriented and often quite fickle so it seems that by 1993 biopace went out of production.

Well I don't care what other people think of them! I like biopace I have two bikes with biopace chain rings and both are far more comfortable to peddle than any of my other bikes. That's good enough for me!

It's evenings like this that make me feel really grateful that I live in Darwin. It's the warm moist air, a mist of light rain as the storm passes, the smell of wet frogs (maybe Cane Toads) , wet vegetation and the amazing light displays! To ride in the rain wearing just a Tshirt and shorts is a very pleasant experience. My ride home brought me past what are usually pretty dark streets. However on this night I could see perfectly well just from the amount of lightening around. With each flash I saw the drops of rain glistening on my skin and glancing down the frame of my bike was beaded with rain drops. A fine rooster tail of water arched from the wheel in front of me as it picked up water from the black shining road. I wish I could describe the euphoric feelings that can be produced on a night like this. It's electric!


yewenyi said...

I think that riding in the rain is a good thing as it is usually cooler and hence more pleasant.

Cookiemouse said...

The rain in Amsterdam falls mainly on yer bicycle seat, which means a wet bum.

David J said...

Yes rain in the tropics is definitely a different thing to rain in Amsterdam!
When it rains in Darwin it's such a great relief that people just go out and dance around in it!
I'm currently in a much colder place and the thought of rain on my bicycle seat terrifies me!