Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

30 July 2015

Riding Through Five-Minute Monsoons

The sky is an iron-gray pall.   Every hour or so, curtains of rain fall from it for about five minutes.  Then it disappears, as if it were merely a hologram and once again the gray sky looms for another hour.

If you happen to be outside when the rain falls, you will get soaked.  Then, when the rain stops, you will ride or walk around sheathed by your wet clothes--if, of course, you didn't have rain gear.

I think now of times I made deliveries on days like this when I was a messenger.  The funny thing was that I could walk into some of the swankest buildings and stuffiest offices, soaked to my skin, and people in suits that cost more than I made in a month didn't blink an eye.  Sometimes they would even offer me a cup of coffee.  

(Once, when I made a delivery at the Pierre Hotel, someone--a manager, I presume--offered me lunch.  I took him up on it and promised that if I ever needed to stay in a hotel in New York, I would not consider any other.  I don't think he held me to it.)

I pedaled and delivered in the most soaking of downpours, against winds magnified in the concrete canyons of Wall Street and Midtown, and with needles of sleet stinging my face. And, yes, in the snow.

But I had nothing on these folks in Mumbai, India:

For that matter, I don't think the US Postal Service does, either. Nor did the US Postal Team:

Those guys were in Indonesia. Isn't it funny that the folks in the background, under an umbrella, don't seem as submerged as the guys on bikes.

When rain comes suddenly and you don't have rain gear, you can do one of three things:  You can wait it out.  You can ride it and get wet.  Or you can improvise:

Today I took a brief ride and packed my foldable rain slicker.  And, yes, I rode through two five-minute monsoons.


  1. Foldable rain slicker, I can only imagine what that might look like...

  2. It's a jacket I bought from LL Bean. It folds into its own front pocket, which makes it easy to carry.

  3. Being truly old fashioned I still have a rain cape for the times I wander too far from home. It catches the wind like a sailing ship!

  4. One of these days, I want to get a really nice cape I can wear while cycling.