Monday, August 25, 2008

Timing is everything.

The theme of the past week has really been timing. It is amazing how a few minutes in the car-free world can make all of the difference. This has especially been true because of the ridiculous weather that Miss Faye was kind enough to share with us. There is nothing like checking the weather and seeing those little storm clouds complete with lightening bolts with a high percentage underneath; for a whole week. Although what fails to realize is that Charleston has its own, very unique weather system. There can be tornadoes on Savannah Hwy and sunshine at the Battery... so while on one side of town you will need a rain suit- on the other you will want a swim suit. One element of the weather that I had never really considered before was the wind. Ahhh the wind. I had a meeting downtown last week, so I looked to the sky and felt confident that I would have at least an hour or two before the clouds sauntered my direction. The ride started off great, with just enough cloud cover and a nice breeze, but due to my awesome timing, it seemed the storm was actually rolling in fast. When I got to the bridge, well, wow. Holy wind gusts batman. I felt like I was biking through molasses with tires made of glue. I seriously considered getting off my bike and walking because it would have been faster. I pushed through because I figured that it couldn't be as bad downtown. Wrong.

I had forgotten that someone once told me Charleston had been designed to channel wind to keep down mosquitoes and cool down the city- or in this case, create wind tunnels. Needless to say, I hurried to get all of my paperwork done and raced home to beat the storm. I was in the final stretch when the skies literally opened up. I had a rain jacket with me, but as I was frantically pulling it out an SUV nailed the puddle I was standing next to and soaked me from head-to-toe in dirty street water. Awesome. Thanks jackass. I'm so glad you support our troops by putting a yellow ribbon on your gas guzzling two ton, high emissions vehicle. Smack yourself on the back of the head for me. (I am not bitter- just amazed at human stupidity.) What really destroyed me was that at the time, I was standing near a bus-stop where an older lady was huddled under her wind-blown umbrella trying to keep her uniform dry as cars like my SUV friend sped passed, spraying her down. It is now my mission to get every bus-stop in Charleston covered because no-one should have to go through that, much less a seventy year old woman who rides two buses so she can make beds for rich tourists that will later speed by her soaking her clothes.

Side note: My friend and I were talking about classy drivers such as this one today and he suggested that I buy some tennis balls, so I can lob them at the cars in revenge . I was thinking this would also be good for moments when cars almost back over you coming out of driveways.

So... after venting with my bus-stop friend we embraced that there was no hope for us staying dry, looked to the sky and shared a good laugh. How many times do you have a great excuse to play in the rain? I biked through the 4 inch deep high tide puddles on the sidewalk and took my time getting home, letting the rain cool me off. You can see the result of this joyride below:

By the time I got home, the rain stopped and the sun came out. I realized that you just have to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. I managed to make it downtown two times after this without getting rained on and even discovered another fun sidewalk path on Lockwood. As for this week- classes start tomorrow- so let the adventures begin!


UlyssesUnbound said...

Hi! I just saw your blog from the Charleston Moves website. I'm working for the CofC Community Service Center, and one of my side projects is creating a map of the best streets for biking. I'm looking for both resources and personal experience to create this map. If you would be willing to help, that would be great. My email is
Thanks! -Neil Hudelson

Bobby D said...

Thank you for a very entertaining post. I can relate to your comments about rude and inattentive drivers. A pet peeve of mine is the driver, who drives down the bike lanes to avoid being stopped traffic in order to make a right hand turn at an intersection that is several blocks up ahead.
Looking forward to your next post.

Bobby D.

Red-wingedBlackbird said...

Hi Nikki! It's Alison up here in Charlotte. This is great! I was just telling our friend K about my experience going to an actual daytime class at UNCC and how CRAZY it was. It has inspired me to try the bus. I take my first, experimental ride tomorrow. If I weren't about to have a heart attack at any moment because of my profound out-of-shapeness, I'd think about biking. Maybe I can work up to it? And BTW, Ulysses up there looks like he might need a date with a sexy, biker-chic. Take it easy, hon.

Magellan said...

Nikki you have made it big. I was on GO Green doing my Keep Charleston Beautiful thinking for the week (my normally slow Friday thing, a treat to myself you could say) and your blog was front and center. Exciting. Af for that that other mode of Bio fueled transportation. . . you want to go ride Monday before class?