It was raining steadily, but not hard when I left for my ride yesterday. I stepped outside prior to getting on my bike and scanned the sky in 360° fashion. I easily made the decision to go out. At worst, I would come home wet and a little more tired than usual, but perhaps a little bit cleaner behind the ears.
There was little wind and the temperature was in the low 50s, so it wasn’t like anything bad was going to happen. I have all the appropriate rain gear for cycling so this would be just another ride.
Besides, it’s not like rain pierces the skin, attacks the central nervous system, ceases muscles from functioning or causes sudden blindness when it touches the eyes. It’s just rain. It hits the teeth some — that’s kind of a funny sensation at 25 mph, but it’s never caused me to crash. It causes me to blink a little bit more when it hits my eyes, but that’s okay. It might make my feet a bit heavier on the pedals, but it’s just rain.
I don’t know that this has ever been tested, and I’ve never discussed it with other cyclists, but when I ride in the rain, I always feel like my drivetrain — my gears and my chain run more smoothly for the moisture that flows through them.
In truth, I enjoy riding in the rain. As long as there isn’t much wind and it isn’t too cold, it’s fun. Another aspect of why I enjoy it is because I know most people would never do it. People question me and caution me against it. Some openly question my intelligence when I ride in the rain.
Not to be judgmental, truly, but not riding in the rain or not riding at all is easy. Riding in the rain is a test of my fortitude, and that translates to many other things in life. I become mentally stronger from riding in the rain, better skilled at riding when it’s not raining, and more confident in my ability to stand up to discomfort.
Standing up to discomfort, by the way, is a character trait that I began developing when I was a teenager, have never quit trying to improve on, and has served me well. Too many people I know struggle with standing up to discomfort.
At some point I will ride from coast to coast, and regardless of what time of year I do that in, there will be days when I will ride in rain, wind, snow, and possibly worse conditions. So going out for 25 or 30 miles when it rains is honest work toward that goal.
And getting a flat tire on a rainy day ride…? Well, that’s also a test, and one I passed yesterday — with flying colors. Another mile-marker on the road of hardening me against discomfort.
This is also why I ride at night at least one or two nights per week — in the dark, but on a very well lit bike. I like to do things that other cyclists — that other people would never do.
I guess I’ve just got a chip on my shoulder. A Chip, actually. His name is Chip.
I spent much of my early life, well into midlife, being doubted and written off by others, even by people close to me. As far back as I can remember, few people have believed in me, and many more have doubted me in most all of my ambitions. As a result, I’ve spent the latter part of my adult life giving people reasons to never doubt me. I dare you to tell me I can’t do it — I double-dog dare ya.
That’s why I intend to live in a camper someday — to retire in one actually, and a small one at that. I want to prove to people who live in 5,000 square-foot houses or even 1,500 square-foot houses that I can absolutely live in an 80 square-foot camper and be happy doing it — just as I can be happy riding my bike in a rainstorm while somebody else is inside binge watching Game of Thrones in front of a fire.
Not that there’s anything wrong with Game of Thrones or a 5,000 square-foot house. That’s just never been my priority. Okay, Game of Thrones is stupid, but there’s nothing wrong with 5,000 square-foot houses. It’s just not my shtick.
I like living my life with Chip. He sits up there quietly on my shoulder. He’s always there. He doesn’t speak often, but when he does, I listen. Chip not only reminds me who I want to be, but daily he also reminds who I don’t want to be.
Chip oversees my independent streak. I will be the Captain, but he will draw the chart, sailing into destiny…
This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb
Last Week By The Numbers…
Bikes ridden: 4
16.0 mph avg
Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there is this from Rush. Enjoy…!
5 thoughts on “Life With Chip…”
Having run many times in the rain, I get it. That said, when the track people in Oregon invented Gortex, it made my running in the rain easier. Dealing with discomfort is a concept I’ve also often thought about. perhaps it should rank right up there with grit and drive in terms of qualities that enable us to succeed.
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Dealing with discomfort I always think of Epicurus. One of his great meditations was on physical pain almost always being very temporary, and most often a lot less severe than we make it out to be or perceived it.
When I was 13, my diving coach actually suggested I come in close on a dive and hit my head on the diving board on purpose. The position he put me in made me scrape the back of my head and I actually did it. Of course that was ignorant on his part because if I had come in too close I could’ve broken my neck. But he wanted me to experience what it was like to hit my head on the board so I wouldn’t be afraid of it anymore. It almost worked…?
Good job it was fun reading. Don’t forget to tell us all about your. Coast To Coast trip with chip I believe .
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Thanks, Coal. Probably not going to do the coast to coast trip this spring, though I still think there’s a possibility. Obviously, I would need to get coverage for my mom for eight weeks. More likely, I’m going to do it next spring, and have a better plan in place for her, but so much of it depends on her health.
Thank you very much for taking the time!
Riding and running in the rain is invigorating and does indeed bring you Closer to the heart 🙂
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