Sunday, November 15, 2009

Patience with cats and rain

Patience is the name of the bike trailer that we're using, and she continues to be remarkably useful and sturdy.

On Friday, I had to take our cat, Tycho, to the vets for tests and shots. Turns out the cat carrier fits perfectly into the trailer. I was worried that the ride would be too bumpy, so I lined the bottom with plenty of towels. But with the pneumatic tires, it's really not that bad. I also worried whether the cat would freak out at being in the trailer. Whenever we go for a ride in the car, he yowls and meows and lets me know that riding in a car is a weird, unpleasant experience.

Oddly, he didn't seem to mind riding in the trailer at all. He made one small meow at me, and that was about it. My theory for this is that riding in a car is an intensely strange experience for a cat--the air is still, so it seems like we must be inside a house, but yet there's a sensation of movement. In the trailer, it was clear that we were outside. He could feel the air moving, and he could see me right in front of him. He could hear the sounds of the world. He didn't seem to mind it at all. (And, for the record, it's a pretty short ride.)

Yesterday, I put Patience to the test in the rain. It was pouring out all day long, and I'd agreed to a handyman job out in Newton, 6.2 miles from our house (each way). I wanted to keep the job, and I thought I'd give the trailer and my rain gear a good workout.

It certainly got it. I loaded the trailer with my toolbox and other tools, probably 20-30 pounds of tools, and hit the streets. Remnants of hurricane Ida cascaded from the clouds. Autumn leaves blocked many of the storm drains along the route, making huge puddles and swiftly flowing streams covering the roads. Luckily, traffic was light. Still, I made sure I had all my lights and flashers going so I could be easily spotted.

I didn't mind riding in the rain. My jacket and rain pants kept me pretty dry, and my baseball cap under my helmet kept most of the rain off my glasses, so I could still see. Pulling the cart through the water and up the hills was a pretty serious workout, but within my abilities (funny how you tend to gloss over the hills when you drive a car, but I can tell you that between Cleveland Circle and Newton Center, Beacon Street goes up and down a big-ass hill).

I got to the job with my feet soaking wet, but otherwise dry underneath my gear. And the trailer kept my tools completely dry. Unfortunately, I got a little lost just as I was approaching my destination. I'd printed out a google map of the area, and it lasted just long enough to get me unlost before the rain dissolved it into a soggy clump. Getting lost in the pouring rain on your bike is not a happy feeling.

The rain came down even harder on the way home, and the front seam of the jacket leaked a bit onto my shirt, but the pants were great. I need to find some better waterproof shoes for riding at some point.

It was a good adventure, though I confess that I was awfully tired and wiped out when I got home and had to take a little nap in the afternoon.

The temperature was in the mid 50s, so the ride was surprisingly fine. I expected to be cold and miserable, but I didn't mind riding in the rain at all. (Tracy might just say that shows that I'm a little nuts.) The trailer handled beautifully in the rain--I'm really getting used to hauling it around. We'll see how it goes in the wintertime when it gets old out.

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