We've been having alot of rain in the Houston area the past couple of weeks. Personally, I enjoy rain, especially at night. When it interferes with my riding, however, that's another story altogether. I packed up the bike and headed to Memorial Park for a quick 20 after work last Tuesday. It was dry as a bone at my house, but the scene at the Park, only 5 miles away, is shown in the downpour below. These days, an essential part of my pre-ride prep is checking the weather radar. It's a pretty good tool for telling you it's raining where you want to go, but not as reliable when it looks like it's not raining at your destination.
The weather looked passable for yesterday's ride in Fulshear, for instance. My routine is to call my stoker and the rest of the ride group about an hour before we're going to ride. Then we make a collective determination about whether we're going, based on the weather radar. Yesterday it was a "go." Ken, Debbie, Pat, Ben, me and my stoker met Gordon, a new recumbent rider at the Fulshear City Hall parking lot at 7am. It was already getting very dark off to the east when we mounted up. Five miles into the ride the rain started. My stoker and I elected to turn around but the rest of the gang continued. By the time we reached my truck we were drenched. My stoker was coming down with a cold, so I didn't have any second thoughts about returning to the truck. Ken reported that the rest of the group rode in the rain for about 30 minutes before it dried up. They finished up with 40 miles.
Gordon on his new Bacchetta.
One of my biggest concerns about riding in the rain is lightning. I don't want to be out in the open when a thunderstorm is passing through if I can help it. While the cooling from a good rain can be refreshing, the bike is a little trickier to handle on wet roads. Further, cars can't see you as well and can't stop as quickly as they can on dry pavement.
Today was another story. The radar didn't look too promising but Ken, David, Aimee and my stoker headed out to Fulshear anyway. We figured we'd get a few miles in before the skies opened up. Our luck held though. Thirty six miles in cool overcast weather with nary a drop of rain.