And I am celebrating in the downpour.

Note: the title is a quote from the song “Finally Free” by Rend Collective.

Today I worked the lunch/supper shift instead of my usual breakfast/lunch hours. I do prefer working early, but it is nice to get a bit of variety once in a while. My coworker and I were headed out the door at 8:30, which excited me because I knew my ride home would be perfect for watching the sunset. As she got in her car and I pulled my bike out of the shed, raindrops began to fall. Gently at first, but within a minute the rain was pounding the ground with great fury. I was soaked by the time I left the restaurant parking lot.

The road was covered with water and the skies seemed determined to turn it into a river. You know it is raining hard when cars actually slow down and drive cautiously. Then the storm really went for it by sending out a few lightning bolts here and there. Intellectually, I realize that lightning can be a deadly force but I can’t help but be delighted every time I see surges of electricity light up the sky.

Through the rain, I could still see the sun setting with pink and orange clouds across the horizon and it was beautiful. Breathtakingly beautiful. And I felt joy bubbling up inside of me. Sometimes I think God just sets me up to be overwhelmed by the glory of His creation.

Four miles into my ride and the rain dropped from full force to nonexistence. The sky was quiet. I don’t know what it was: maybe the joy, maybe the excitement, maybe I got struck by lightning – but my legs, they wanted to fly. I climbed hills faster then I ever have before and my legs burned but that feeling didn’t seem important so I increased my cadence even more.

I followed a car into town and managed to stay behind it until I reached my apartment and I pulled into my driveway having smashed my previous record for biking home from work by four minutes.

And now I am going to do some quiet reading to calm myself down so that I can sleep tonight. Rides before bedtime are not supposed to be that fast or exciting.

My dogs are going places!

I love living without a car. But my car free life doesn’t come without challenges, probably the single most annoying thing is that if I need to transport my dogs anywhere I have to depend on someone with a car to help me out.

But now everything has changed. Guess what came in the mail last week?

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A little bike trailer.

My dogs have got themselves a brand new ride and so far they seem to love it. They are excited to hop in when I tell them to and once we are out on the road they are very calm and either look out the side or lie down. But as soon as we stop, they want to get out right away, whining and acting like they are going to die if I don’t help them out immediately. Then they act like they haven’t seen me for decades.

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What do you think of your new ride, Shammah?

The trailer weighs twenty-two pounds by itself and Panzy and Shammah weigh a total of thirty pounds, if I bring along a few more items I am easily pulling an extra sixty pounds. But I was surprised at how easy it is to maneuver the little beast and on flat stretches and going downhill it feels great. Pulling the thing uphill though? I can feel each and every one of the those sixty pounds, which is why the granny gear was invented I suppose. It is like weight training for my legs.

Pulling my dogs is only one function of my trailer’s new life in Northern New York. Yesterday I stuffed it full of helium balloons to bring to my church. Biking with helium balloons is an exciting but weird experience, I could barely keep the bike tires from floating off the pavement. I can say one thing, it sure made pedaling easier! (Maybe the effect was all in my head though, since I was only carting around six balloons.)

Welcome to the family, little trailer, I hope you are ready to work hard!

When it rains, it pours.

I arrived back home from work a little while ago and I must admit, I am all tuckered out. The weekend up in Maine combined with sleep deprivation and 15+ hours of riding in the back of a car smushed between two of my brothers took its toll. It was worth it though! The wedding was simple and sweet, the reception was fun and seeing my cousins, aunts and uncles again made my heart happy.

My mom and dad spent the first years of their married life in Maine so every time we visit, they point out different places they worked or houses they lived in. This trip though I found out my dad has been holding on to a secret. He was a bike racer! (It may have been one race but I am pretty sure that still counts.) He took us on the loop the course was on, around Lake Auburn. So beautiful. I didn’t have my camera on me of course, because I make foolish decisions in life.

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I am going to pretend that this is Lake Auburn but it is actually a lake in New York. But maybe no one will notice.

And even though I rode in between my 15 and 18 year old brothers for over 800 miles and we were all pretty squished, the trip up and back was its own brand of fun. We fought over Swedish fish (and named them all), convinced our mom that we had various health problems, planned out a future of petty crime for our 15 year old brother involving tomatoes and cliffs, made faces at cars (that was all them), I sang the educational songs I listened to on car rides in days of yore (they threatened violence so I ended without singing the States and their capital’s song, which made me sad), ate junk food and tried to sleep. It was great.

I was able to crawl into bed at a fairly decent hour last night and when I woke up the first thing I heard (after my alarm clock) was rain pounding on the roof. We have had a dry spring, with a light rain here and there, so this was our first real downpour of the season. At 4:15 I decided it was time to face the storm.

There is something to be said for biking in pouring rain. It makes me feel so vulnerable to be exposed to the weather, but also so strong because I can conquer it. It is similar to the feeling I get biking in a snowstorm, but during the winter I am all covered up in layers of protective clothing. In a spring rain, I get to feel it all, there are no barriers. Water covering my arms and face, soaking through my clothes, dripping into my shoes. It feels like being a kid again, I get to splash through puddles!

And then I arrive at work and I have become the puddle, a walking puddle. I spread the rainwater all over the floors, so much water that once I have changed I grab a mop to clean up my tracks.

“It is nasty out, you should have called someone to pick you up.” My boss tells me.

“But rain is fun, and there are puddles.” I reply.

“Then more power to you, I guess.” She says.

But there is one part of biking in the rain that isn’t fun. That part happens after my shift when I take off my oily, food-scented clothes and replace them with my still wet biking clothes for the ride home. I hopped on my bike as soon as possible to warm up. And all the way home it rained.

After all, if my clothes are wet they might as well get dripping wet, right?