The delights of modern day communication technology have given rise to numerous social media platforms who feed us all a totally NON-sustainable perfection. Whilst I choose to have more perfect days than not, the reality is that the rainy days do come. I guess that sad, bad, gloomy reality pics are not as uplifting as the saccharine ones are…
If no other year in modern history has taught us the meaning of “rainy days” then it’s this year 2020, thanks to the arrival of the coronavirus covid19!
Today is a proper rainy day, in weather terms and also a day for me to get myself into Haarlem for a tour at the museum where I volunteer as an English tour guide. This requires donning the full bike kit: rain pants, over my smarter jeans for the guide job, making me look somewhat like a Michelin man advert except mine are a navy blue colour. Fastening them at the ankle to prevent the hem of my jeans from getting wet and also to stop the rain pants from flapping about as I cycle along; raincoat which I am grateful for being longer with zip and press-studs to keep it closed and of course, the hood with drawstring to keep it on. Since my raincoat does not have a little peak attached, it means that I look something like an elf peeking out from somewhere, only my face visible, making me feel a little vulnerable or exposed, much like one feels at the hairdresser with everything else stripped away from one’s face!
The tricky bit about the raincoat with hood in place is the visibility when on the bicycle: the hood creates something of a blind spot, similar to that when driving a car and requires some dexterity to twist around to check for cars approaching when the bike is required to give way (not often thankfully as the bike rules here!)
Specs are a challenge in the rain and I’m grateful that my multifocals are not necessary for distance and I can manage without for the ride as they become a minefield all of their own in these weather conditions!
The simple answer is to wear a cap over or under the raincoat hood but then one needs to cycle at a slightly slower speed in order to prevent the cap from flying off!
(Headgear, apart from a beanie in winter, is a tricky item of one’s wardrobe to negotiate when one’s mode of transport is a bicycle…)
We are privileged to own a small car, which is my pride and joy, but with the restricted space for parking and when that is found, it is frightfully expensive (though less expensive than paying a parking fine – all traffic fines are hysterically high here in The Kingdom of The Netherlands which is why traffic is so well behaved!) It is thus easier, simpler, faster and more cost effective to ride my bicycle, rain or shine!
In fact, I am so used to taking my bike into Haarlem that on the occasion of taking the car, I have to use the maps app to help me find my way as bike routes are far more direct than one way streets, canals and bollards allow with cars which is why rainy days here in NL are not always as gloomy as one expects them to be!