Monday, February 16, 2009


A couple of years ago I had a memorable bike ride. I work part-time at a seasonal resort motel "The Soundings" which is located on the beach in Dennis Port on Cape Cod. I would generally work at the front desk from 3-11 or 4-midnight as this shift frees me to work my other jobs during the morning and early afternoon. I live about a little less than 1.5 miles by bike or car from the Soundings and a little closer than that "as the crow flies". The bike ride usually takes me anywhere from ten to fifteen minutes depending on whether I am riding into an offshore afternoon headwind and the amount of time it takes me to cross the stop signs for Upper County road, Route 28, Lower County Road, and Chase Avenue. I generally don't try to ride as fast as I can on my "Guibilato" (Italian brand of road bike) as this would cause me to perspire too much before starting my work shift unless I am running a little late. Sometimes I imagine that I am in a "time trial" like in Le Tour de France" but usually these thoughts occur to me when I'm on the return ride from the Soundings to home while riding in the dark as the car traffic is less so I usually can ride straight through the stop signs .

On this particular late summer day, the weather was nice, with a chance of late evening thunderstorms. I decided that I would bike in to work. At the end of my shift just before 11:00 pm. I started to hear thunder in the distance and see some "heat lightning flashes" as it had been a hot day.

I decided to try to beat the oncoming storm. I started riding and got about three hundred yards from the Soundings when I felt a raindrop fall on my head, then another raindrop, yet another, and another, at a faster frequency. What to do. Should I turn around and go back to the Soundings or continue on home? I decided to keep riding home.

The rain picked up and the lightning started with flashes every few seconds and nearby booming thunder claps. Soon I was riding through about a half a foot of water as the rain was coming down so fast and hard that there wasn't time for the water to flow off the road. Road bikes don't have any fenders so the bike tires were sending up a rooster tail of water up my back. I had never seen so much water fall from the sky in so short a time as in this cloudburst.

When I finally slogged my way to my house I came to appreciate what the expression "like a drowned rat" meant. It was a dark and stormy night....