mercredi 7 avril 2010

A wet commute

This morning I had planned to grab my camera, leave a bit earlier, and take some pictures of my ride in to work. Every morning for the past few weeks that I have been biking to work, I marvel at how beautiful and serene the Ottawa River is early in the morning. The pathway I take to work follows the Rideau Canal to the river, and the best section I would have to say is behind the Parliament buildings, right when I get to the river.

Last year, I took a more direct route to work, but this year, I decided to start staying on the bike path. While it is a bit longer (a little over 7 km), it is a MUCH more enjoyable ride. No stopping at traffic lights every few minutes, no watching out for cars and trucks zooming past me, no rough pavement. (It was especially bumpy on Somerset Street, in Chinatown.)

I get to go at my own pace, I have only two lights to cross, and I don't have to share my pathway with motorized vehicles. AND I get a beautiful view.

French friends of mine (from France) used to marvel at all the wildlife in Ottawa, especially right in the downtown core. Every morning, I see squirrels, mallard ducks and Canada geese along the path. And sometimes a rabbit or two.

I wanted to get pictures of all of these -- especially the geese that don't even move as you zoom past them, sometimes only inches away! But this morning, Mother Nature had other plans. It was pouring rain out. And I mean pouring. As in, water was dripping down my nose and my chin and squishing between my toes when I got to work. As in, I was squinting to be able to see through the downpour at one point. I have to admit the rain on the river was a pretty spectacular sight, but I'm not sure I would have been able to capture it on camera. At least the thunder and lightning only started as I was locking up my bike at work.

It was a good test of my new cycling jacket, which was an unexpected (but appreciated!) Christmas gift from my godmother. As I geared up this morning, I almost went with the "valeur sûre" (safe bet) that is my plain old Gore-tex shell, but I figured I should give the new jacket a try. Turns out it's waterproof enough, but somehow water made its way in through the armpit zips (I think). My forearms were completely soaked, from elbow to wrist.

My Gore-tex pants, on the other hand, held up just fine. My mascara too - the funny thing is, I pretty much never wear any. But this morning, of all mornings, I decided I had to do something to make myself look more awake - I was up ridiculously late last night working on my thesis. Luckily, the only thing I had was a tube of waterproof mascara (which I usually wear at weddings and other such occasions where I might cry). And it held up!

Cycling in the rain this morning, as it turns out, was quite refreshing. It wasn't as cold as I thought it was going to be (although I'm shivering now). As for pictures of the bicycle path, that'll be for another time! There's still all summer...

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