Cycling in the Rain Brings Out the Inner Child

Groggy at 5:30 AM one recent morning, I didn’t bother to peer out the window to survey the weather conditions as I usually do.  Jumping on my bike, I headed out into the dark accustomed to cycling in the rain. Something was different.

Instead of the gentle on again-off again showers we’d been having, today’s dose of Pacific Northwest drizzle descended as stinging rain driving itself right into my face.

Cycling in the Rain is Challenging

Cycling in the Rain is Challenging

It was raining, raining, raining hard.

It was falling on my head.

It was falling on the stars.

It was falling on my shoes.

I got soaking wet

I got soaking wet.

But I stayed outside.

I stayed outside.

I’d donned my fleece balaclava but the visor didn’t reach out enough to protect my eyes. I chose not to go back and change headgear. Determined not to be a wimp, I would tap into the Viking in me and show the elements who was boss.

Cycling in the rain at two gears lower than usual (I only have seven) along the slick black asphalt the thought dawned on me that I could be hit by a vehicle since the rain and wind would also reduce the visibility for early morning drivers.

I quickly pedaled onto the adjacent sidewalk smug in the thought that I was putting safety first.

The rain was sweet.

The rain was warm.

The rain was soft

It reminded me of home

It was raining, raining, raining hard.

It was falling, falling, falling on the stars

It was raining, raining, raining hard.

It was falling, falling, falling on the stars.

With each push forward I felt increasing discomfort. Darn it, I wasn’t enjoying this experience in the slightest. The incessant rain was taunting me and my inspiration waned. I really wanted to be sitting in a warm café sipping on gourmet coffee while savoring an apple-cranberry muffin.

But the determined Viking in me pushed the thought aside:

“Ok, Miss Wimp. Seriously, you want to be disciplined, well, here’s your opportunity.”

I answered back with a few choice words.

#%*!#@&*!

“Got that out of my system,” I told myself aloud.

But the double layered raingear wasn’t working. Cold water was creeping into my underwear now. Yuck.

“Put mind over matter Miss Wimp. Think about where you’re going.”

Like a sail boat tacking to windward, I maintained my ziggety-zag course over the irregular concrete surface, dodging navigational hazards such as overhanging branches and the fire hydrant  . . .

And there it was, smack dab in the middle of the sidewalk! What the . . .

I hit the stupid thing dead on with my right knee and followed my act with a sideswipe grazing the right side of my leg as well.

I gasped and stopped to meet the pain that set in immediately.

It took hold at the bone and pushed waves of more pain outwards around the point of impact.

Soft rain

Raining, raining

Sweet rain

Raining, raining

Warm rain

Raining, raining

Sweet soft Raining, raining

Warm rain Raining, raining

Sweet soft Raining, raining

Warm rain Raining, raining

It hurt like the dickens and the inner child in me felt the pain too. That same little girl who always had scabby knees from falling down stairs slipped easily into crying mode.
I wanted my mother to kiss it and magically make it better.

The Motherly Embrace is Always Welcome (Image: Mama Bambino Arte)

The Motherly Embrace is Always Welcome (Image: Mama Bambino Arte)

I was alone atop the saddle of a bike coasting down a slick, rain drenched sidewalk.
Disgusted at myself for being such a wimp I called back my Viking Journeywoman while the inner child interrupted with indulgent tears of self pity.

Growing anger took over so I had a good talk with myself:

“Stop being a baby. Recognize that this discomfort is training you to be disciplined. You have free will and only YOU have decided to cycle through this winter rain in the cold of a BC December.”

It’s funny, but when you’re distracted from the pain with other thoughts it doesn’t hurt as much.  Big sister archetype took over and I focused on some fast pedaling.

I started thinking about what I was grateful for. . . strong legs and improved stamina from cycling for the last two years was on the list I mulled over in my mind.

As soon as I reached my destination I put an icepack on the knee.  I stopped feeling sorry for myself and focused on being responsible. I not only avoided any swelling but also any bruises as well.

We respond so much to emotions from pre-programming. We carry old habits of thinking around like talismans and are loathe to let go of them.    Navigating through life with old programming is like relying on outdated sea charts to find our way through unfamiliar waters.   We’ll waste less time on being angry when we use our free will to choose an attitude of gratitude.

That’s not to say a good cry isn’t ok. It cleanses from within as the rain cleanses from without.

My wide brimmed helmet is now by the door and Santa is bringing me new rain gear for cycling in the rain.  This Viking is going to become a wet weather professional and the inner child can play in the puddles!

 

(nb: The jazz chant included in this post is called Rain created by Carolyn Graham. I used it extensively when I taught ESL in Estonia. I’m still using it with students I tutor today since it helps non-native speakers to get into the rhythm and music of English more naturally.)

 

 

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