Thursday, March 09, 2006

Cars, Cycles, & Kaleidoscopes

Rain, and darkness. Not my favourite combination.

Again I experienced a dry ride cycling in the morning, but the weather later turned around and begun raining for my evening cycle home. Fortunately because the temperature in the morning was only 3.5degC I wore my waterproof jacket, trousers & gloves simply for their thermal insulation. Which came in handy later on when riding home in the rain.

Today the moisture was both on the road and falling in the air with a misty property. Comfort-wise this was fine, as I was completely dry underneath my outer clothes. It was just the small things which make a big difference, namely rain on my visor. Through error & experience I have learnt that no matter how bad your rain-obscured visibility seems, trying to wipe it clean while riding will only make it worse!

Least-Worst Choice

This situation leaves me with a decision to choose the least-worst option. Either riding with a rain-affected visor (making the street & car lights feel spacey and like looking down a kaleidoscopic tube. – Great for its artistic qualities, not great for seeing where you are going!) Or just riding without a visor or glasses, which gives me 100% clear vision until a splash of water or muck flicks up in to your eye resulting in 0% vision.

Now if my visor is like a kaleidoscope, then logically a car’s visibility through the windscreen is also diminished. True, cars have gadgets like screen wash and windscreen wipers to negate this problem, but various cars of various makes and ages, are achieving varying quality of visibility. E.g. old wipers, smudging, dirty screens, etc. Which is probably why rain and darkness conditions always seem to yield the most road accidents. Which as a cyclist, I don't want to be anywhere near to!

Being tired anyway, in the end I settled for a slow cruise home, rarely progressing out of my middle chain-ring. Too slow to flow safely with busy traffic, on some roads I retreated to the quiet, wide pavement and slowly rolled home. Which seemed the best policy in the conditions, as I heard various police and ambulance sirens heading to some car crash or other.

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