Sunday, December 2, 2012

Rainy Day Bike Fun

We finally ended summer here in sunny California, and the rain came this week, we just had two nice storms blow through that dropped a lot of rain.  It looked like the weekend was going to be a bust for riding, but we got lucky and the rain fell all night and stopped each morning, so I got out for two nice sunny with wet pavement rides around my hometown, which is flat as a pancake.  Wet pavement is a bit of an understatement as in places there are temporary small lakes up to 4" deep.  Of course no one wants to ride their nice bike through water like that, so one needs a proper rain bike.  So without further adieu, I present my Fast Commuter bike redux as a rain bike.

Improvements since the last time include a modern stem and adapter to get the bars up, a nice detachable luggage rack on the rear, traditional pedals and toe clips, and the most important thing, FENDERS front and rear.

 Did I mention the Scuba Wrap I gave the frame?  Using old 700c tubes, I wrapped the frame making it waterproof and saltproof to 50 meters below the sea, should I find myself suddenly riding off the end of a pier.  Or something.

Here's my view at the end of the Island... San Francisco, the Bay Bridge, and Mt. Tam to the right.  Lots of people fly here from all over the world yet they don't know about this world class viewpoint.  In summer I like to ride here after work, sit on the bench and have a beer.  Just like Otis Redding sang in "Sitting by the dock of the Bay".  Very nice.

So yesterday while riding in this area, I spied a large bird in the road ahead.  As I cycled closer, I could see it was a Red Tailed Hawk sitting on top of a dead seagull.  Right in the middle of the road, and cars were going by, but this hawk did not want to part with the most potentially Epic meal he ever encountered.   A woman and her young son were in a parked car nearby, and when I stopped she told me the hawk was trying to carry the gull across the road to the other side.  Not wanting the hawk to get killed by a car, I decided to carry the gull across for him, where he could then safely stand on it all he wanted.  The hawk gave me a dirty look as I approached, and he tried to fly off, but no way, his talons might as well have been embedded in a sandbag, he could hardly budge it.  He did let go and flew up, circling me, so I grabbed the gull, which must have been a 10 or 12 pounder, and carried it to the parking lot across the road.  Meanwhile, cars coming started pulling off and parking, curious about what was going on and wanting to see the hawk closeup.  The hawk alighted on a streetlight right above the woman's car, and started preening himself, the gull easily within view.  I waited a bit to watch him fly down but he didn't, so I rode away.  That's the closest I've ever been to a raptor, and man, they are magnificent birds, as noble as they are gorgeous.  Nice to see them making it in the urban environment too, they never used to be around the city.

So the rains have come but there are respites, times to get out for an hour or two and get a little wet, the world is still turning out there.  It certainly beats sitting indoors on a trainer.

Pedal On when you can,

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