Thursday, April 10, 2008

Just a Little Patience

It was a bike commuter's worst nightmare tonight. Just as I stepped off the elevator, headed toward the locker room to change, CRACK! Serious lightning.

Now I don't go all Wicked Witch of the West when it rains. I know I'm not going to melt. But an electrical storm when I'm straddling something conductive? That's another matter entirely. So I immediately shifted to panic mode: "Get a ride from your wife, no, you'll make her late for class, ride the bus, no, they're always late when the weather's crappy, and besides, you don't want to subject the bike to front-of-bus spray, find a ride from a co-worker, crap, they're all gone already."

I'd narrowed it down to "saddle up and take your chances" when it hit me: Why do I need to leave downtown the instant I'm released from work? So I wandered the deserted Des Moines Skywalk system (a giant ant farm for humans), found a sandwich shop that -- unlike the rest of downtown -- didn't pack it in at 5:00, ate dinner, and watched the rain.
By the time I finished, got back to the locker room, and changed for my ride, the storm had blown over, and the sun was shining. Nice little reward, there.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a classic dilemma here in the mid-west. Don't worry too much about the bike making you more of a target, though. The lightning may be influenced a small amount by the metal in the bike, but unless you are the only thing sticking up out of the prairie for miles, there are other good targets. It's a game of odds, and the risks are high!

My habit is to watch the weather radar on the web to get some idea of when the storm will blow over, and where the lightning is.

I think you also had the option of calling up the Mrs. and asking "Honey, would you like to see my smoking carcass on the 10 o'clock news, or would you like to swing by and pick me up?" The option to use the bus is probably a better choice, however.

For the future, maybe you can talk Carradice into sewing a metal mesh into their rain capes... look partway down this page:

stay safe,
Steve Kurt