Got to work a little later than usual this morning. Apparently, it would not be cool to show up drenched to the bone from riding your bike to school when you are in the 5th grade.
Sara has been leaving early for work the last couple of weeks so I have been riding with Jakob to school and then riding on to work from there. It has been exceptionally mild weather lately so there have not been any conditions that required a different arrangement. Of course in my mind, there is NO condition that would ever stop me from riding my bike. The only thing that differs is the amount of clothing necessary and the amount of lighting.
As we go to leave this morning it is raining and not just a sprinkle either. It is the big fat cold drops. The kind of drops that when you try to run from your car to the door, even though it only takes 2 seconds, you get completely soaked. I had maintained hope throughout the morning that when it came time to go the rain might have slowed enough to get there. It is less than half a mile to school so we wouldn’t need much of a break to get him there dry. As we opened the garage door and saw it coming down in buckets, hope faded and I knew it was going to be rough trip. I suggested that we just wait a few minutes and see if it breaks. After 10 minutes, it wasn’t getting any lighter.
He still hasn’t complained at this point. I can tell he is beginning to get stressed about showing up late. We decided that if he put on other shoes and wore a large rain coat over the top of his backpack, he could probably get there without getting too wet. We put his dry shoes in his pack and pulled the coat over him. His shorts were still exposed on the bottom but we didn’t think they would get to bad. He got onto his bike and faced the opening of the garage and steeled himself to go. I was thinking he would make it. He might be a little damp but its just a little water so no big deal. The rain began to fall even harder.
Not wanting to show up late he says, “lets just do it,” and then rides out into the rain. Before we reach the end of the driveway, my clothes are wet. I don’t wear waterproof clothing to ride unless it’s below 50. I just dress for the temperature. If I had worn a raincoat, I would be drenched from the sweat within so I just enjoy the cool rain and let my clothes get wet. It’s all technical fabrics and dries quickly. However, I don’t have to sit at a desk in my wet clothes or sit under the scrutiny of school age children who mercilessly tease any sort of irregularity.
We had made it a couple hundred feet down the road and riding behind him I can see that his shorts are completely soaked. I ride up next to him and can tell he is fighting back the tears. He never once suggested that we turn back but I could see in his face that he was absolutely miserable. I imagined him sitting uncomfortably in his class wet and cold and suddenly took pity on him. It may have helped that he didn’t complain about it. If he had I might have held my ground to prove a point but he was fully prepared to finish the ride. I experienced a moment of compassion and told him to turn it around.
Once we got back to the house I told him to put on some dry clothes. I got busy taking the tarp off the Jeep, put the top up and replaced the doors. I have just been covering it with a tarp during the rain and leaving everything open for most of the summer. As I drove him up to the school he thanked me numerous times. In the end he may have been 5 minutes late but with the line of cars still dropping kids off, he would not be alone.
After dropping him I headed back to the house, parked the Jeep, got on my bike and rode to work. The rain never did let up.
Week of August 16 – Bike 48, Run 48
Week of August 23 – Bike 84, Run 23