I rode my Vespa in the rain today, more or less for the first time. I rode once before in wet weather, with a rain jacket on and got my pants wet, but today was definately what's reffered to as “rain”. Tropical rains at that. I'm not talking the slow, misty, last-all-goddamn-winter-long, embarrasing-West-Coast-wetness that you see in Vancouver. I'm talkin HOLLYWOOD rain. The kind of rain that hammers down and makes a lot of noise on things like roofs and hoods of cars and bounces six inches back up when it hits the road. The kind of rain that soaks you to the bone running from the car to the big, dark, scary house when you have a flat tire...
I was sitting upstairs in my “office” (which is STILL 'temporary accomodations', 16 months after Hurricane Ivan) which has no windows when someone else came up and said “Man it's POURING out there.”
“Great,” I thought. Riding in the rain. I packed up my things, put my laptop into the giant Ziploc bag that I carry around in my laptop bag and got my stuff ready to go. I went downstairs and left my backpack and helmet at reception and went outside to get my rain gear out from underneath the seat. It HAD rained hard, but was just lightly sprinkling at the moment. I went back inside and pulled on my rain pants, zipped up my DiveTech rain jacket that I got for xmas, slipped on my non-tinted glasses, pulled on my helmet and steeled myself for “Teh Suck”.
I hopped on the scooter and made my way out of the carpark to the road. At that point, the rain started coming down harder. And harder. And even harder still. We were approaching tropical monsoon rains, and as I turned into traffic, I put the rain at my back. No big whoop, but I was a little concerned about my laptop and other electronic bits in my backpack (digital camera, 4G iPod Photo, PSP and a few cables and adapters). I was tempted to ride down the middle and get out of the stopped traffic, but North Sound Road is quite narrow, and pretty extensively damaged by so much traffic and heavy trucks travelling it over the past 16 months. The intersection at AL Thompson's is probably one of the scariest intersections on the island, too. All things considered, I sat there in the rain inching forward. I got past the intersection and stopped again at the big roundabout. I noticed that I had gotten ahead of the big rain cloud, but as I sat there, it caught up to me again.
At this point, I realized that when I lifted my foot up onto the running boards, my rain pants came up over the tops of my boots, and the water was just running down my pants and into my boots, making my socks wet. I got through the roundabout and onto the “highway” and accelerated ahead of the rain cloud again. The lighter rain, at 40mph managed to push it's way through the teeth of the zipper on my rain jacket and soak through my shirt and my undershirt, just in the front.
Traffic was backed up along the bypass, and when I got to that part of the bypass, I did ride up the side of the traffic most of the way. One lady saw me coming in her mirror and edged over to block me from passing. Thanks a lot, you douche bag! When she saw me move over to the other side of the road, she actually tried to get back across to block me there, too but didn't have enough space to move forward and do it. So long, sucker! After that it was a quick five miles in light rain up Seven Mile Beach into West Bay, and home. I got in the door and called to Seb “Well that was The Suck” and he started laughing at me. By the time I peeled off the wet rain gear, took off my shoes and hung stuff up to dry, the rain cloud caught up with me and started hammering on the tin roof.
It only lasted a few minutes, but Im glad I didn't stop anywhere on the way home. If I have to go out anywhere tonight, I'll make sure and take the Jeep, which should be dry, even though my back flap was open and facing south (the direction the wind & rain came from).
As much as it sucked, it really wasn't that bad of a commute. I was more worried about people seeing me in the limited visibility than I was anything else. I'm glad I keep rain gear under the seat, and the ziploc bag in my backpack. I don't think I'd CHOOSE to go riding in this kind of weather for fun, but such as it was, it still beat sitting in traffic.