‘You,’ said the other half, greeting me at the door, ‘are insane.’
It’s hard to argue with him, frankly. But you see, the thing is, I haven’t been on the bike all week, what with one thing and another, and I’d already chickened out of getting the bus home from Bigtown on Wednesday because it was raining and I’d stupidly gone out with neither umbrella nor hat, and the walk from the bus stop is 1 1/2 miles. So, come hell or high water, I’d promised myself I’d at least get the paper on the bike today. And of course today duly arrived complete with high water, or at least persistent wind-blown rain, which is bad enough (hell would at least have the advantage of being warm). But I’m nothing if not stubborn, and despite having second thoughts when I stepped outside and saw the sheets of rain driving across the hillside opposite, and third thoughts when crossing the minor burn that our driveway has become and fourth, fifth and sixth thoughts as the rain penetrated my trousers, my shoes and my socks before I’d gone half a mile, on I went.
It was … unpleasant. For a start, I quickly got to the point where I couldn’t – as I thought – get any wetter, whereupon the rain kept proving me wrong. The wind was blowing it into my face so hard it stung, and the roads were quickly flooded so that on the way back I kept finding bits of me (inside left ankle, anyone) that previously had been merely damp and which – after sailing through a puddle that was deeper than anticipated – soon became drenched. My leather gloves, previously impermeable to most rain, quickly became sodden. My feet were blocks of ice. Only my hat really proved its worth and kept the rain out – you can keep your goretex, waxed cotton is the way to go. And – while I may have to rethink my attitude to waterproof trousers – I’m only doing so if they prove more waterproof than my supposedly waterproof jacket.
Apparently the emotion that most people link with cycling as a mode of transport is joy. Yeah well, not today it wasn’t. Or at least not for me. The other half – while being very sympathetic to my predicament and all – couldn’t stop laughing when I arrived in full-on drowned rat mode at the door.
Hmm. Maybe ‘drowned rat’ could be the answer to my new nickname quest?