Thursday, October 12, 2006

Autumn in Ontario

I haven't written about Peak Oil in a while. It's so hard to say what is really going to happen. Oil will definitely run out, but will technology save us? The U.S. Air Force is trying to run its airplanes on oil synthesized from coal. Will that work? Will that work globally? God knows.
Although I've kind of forgotten about peak oil, James Kunstler sure hasn't. In fact, in his most recent blog posting he states that we are over the peak and on the long descent into demand for oil outweighing supply. It's kind of hard to see that, with gas prices being so low right now. I also don't know why he's claiming that the Saudian Arabian Ghawar oil field has peaked. If it has peaked, the party is over - Ghawar is the most massive of the world's massive oil fields. But what Kunstler is basing his data on, I'm not sure. Even Mathew Simmons' Twilight in the Desert didn't go quite so far as to say that Ghawar had definitely peaked.

Here's a quick link to a website about making furniture out of bike parts.

A few bloggers have been talking about biking in the rain recently. Usually in a positive way. I hate to be grumpy, but biking in the rain sucks. That's it and that's all. It sucks - no matter how happy these two people look.
chinarain
The actual cycling part is the least sucky of the whole process, but even it is no fun. No matter what you wear, you end up soaked, and when it's a cold rain that's even more miserable. The potholes fill with water and you can't tell if that puddle coming up is a nice little one or a deep sucker that's going to send you over your handlebars.
The real problem is pre and post cycling in the rain. The "pre" involves wrapping all your backpack items up in bags, and dressing yourself the best you can in various layers of waterproofness (as opposed to the summer when you pull on shorts and jersey and you're done).
And the WORST is the post cycling stuff. You get to wherever you're going looking like a drowned rat. Your bike is all covered in grime. Hopefully you have access to a shower (which I do, or I couldn't do this commute at all) but you have to somehow dry your stuff in your office, so you spend 20 minutes wringing socks and gloves, trying to hang jackets and rainpants discretely on chairs, and doing the "stuff paper into them" trick (for those of you who don't know - if you stuff crumpled newspapers into soaked shoes and socks and gloves, the newspaper absorbs the water out of them, making the drying process go much much faster).
So you do all that, and then at the end of the day you put your moist clothes back on, and get nailed by another rainstorm on your way home. (Starting my ride in Toronto, then 30 minutes and a Go Train ride later being in Oshawa, I basically have my choice of two weather systems to get beaten up by).

Biking is still the better way. I guess I just wanted to grumble a little bit. Here's a nice photo I found on an Australian news website of an Afghani boy cleaning his bike in a massive pool of rain water.

boypuddle

7 comments:

Vic said...

Yup....rain, especially when it's cold, it far worse than the coldest weather or snow.

I've been pretty lucky lately with avoiding most rain storms, but I got completely, thoroughly drenched on my way in to work yesterday. Good thing I had a change of clothes. I was also able to use a big fan in the computer room to dry out my shoes and socks. :-)

I will probably re-attach the fairing on my recumbent bike later this week. That way, at least my lower legs, feet, shoes, etc. stay dry when it rains.

I'm hoping to extend my bike's fairing into a partial body-sock sometime too. I've been thinking about doing that for a couple of years, but this recent drenching is gonna put me into action soon. This is what I'm planning.

Andrew said...

I've got to agree, at least a little that biking in the rain sucks. I don't mind gentle showers, but buckets 'o rain are just not any fun. I find cleaning drivetrain parts a chore, so I hate it when the bike gets really grimy. I guess I'll never be a mountain biker ;)

However, a brief shower on a hot summer afternoon is quite refreshing.

Susanne said...

You grumble on..... it is nice to read and you're so right about the rain and clothes the won't dry fast enough. But we bikers like to lie a bit on that subject; it makes it a bit more bearable to just deny all those things. There's one advantage: if you arrive somewhere looking like a drowned cat, people are very nice to you (they give you coffee and food). In their eyes you are a very brave person and sometimes I even have the feeling that they are a bit jealous on how you battle the elements.

Regards,


Susanne

Tuco said...

I must be doing something wrong, susanne. When I show up at places looking like a drowned cat(or rat), people don't give me coffee and food, they say "Christ, you look like a drowned rat!"
Maybe it helps if you're a hot dutch girl instead of a short, stout goofy Canadian? : )

Vic - your recumbent avec shelter looks amazing!

Susanne said...

Oh dear, I think I gave the wrong impression here! ...... But maybe I just look very hungry after biking in the rain :)).

Susanne

Melissa said...

i miss ontario in the fall.

Tanya said...

Ooh thanks for the newspaper trick for the wet shoes. Maybe its being a woman biking in the rain, but like Susanne I find often people are nicer when you've biked in the rain. (okay the other half just think you're slightly nutso) I love biking in the rain so much though I don't think I can really say it sucks, but there are some aspects that suck - like biking in the warm summer rain and then going inside somewhere that is over air-conditioned. Or not having the right clothes on and getting caught in the cold fall rain.