11 Nov 2010
The Rain Bike. Yes, here in the NW, we have rain bikes. This is mine and I love her.
I actually can’t even remember the last time I rode her but I think it had to be sometime last winter. I can’t be sure; my memory is not that good. My lovely Gunnar Crosshairs originally did start out as a ‘cross bike. Aside from some math-like geometry stuff I don’t really understand, a single chainring up front, knobby tires and SPD pedals, the Gunnar makes for a pretty sweet road bike. [Oh, and the super ridiculous cantilever brakes but we won't talk about those.]
After only 4 CX races, (I really don’t appreciate CX racing), she was retrofitted with slicks, road pedals, a front derailleur and the double chainring was restored to the crank. With fenders installed she was ready to take on the somewhat ominous distinction of being “The Rain Bike.” A bike to ride in the rain. A bike where your riding partners don’t get a face full of water and grit from the road. A bike you can beat to hell in adverse weather and not feel bad because hey, it’s your rain bike. A bike you leave the lights on because after daylight savings ends you never know when you’re going to get caught out in the dark. A bike you stash a $20 bill in so you can stop and get a shot or two of whiskey on your way home when you find you can’t feel your fingers and toes and the ice cream headache you have won’t go away. Actually, it’s not that bad yet but it’s what we have to look forward to with winter bearing down and this bike makes it all better.
The Gunnar is steel and really, what’s not to love about steel? She’s also rigged up with a 7800 DA group and Shimano RS80 wheels. The ride is ultra smooth, super fast and downright lovely. I know how lucky I am to be riding such a thing decked out in better than good components but there is a certain amount of kicking and screaming that goes along with pulling the rain bike out for the first time this season. It’s an admission that for the next 3 or so months the riding will be wet, mind-numbingly cold and quite likely not at all comfortable.
Throughout Fall I have been slowing inching my way toward coming to terms the seasons changing. First it was the leg warmers, then full-fingered gloves, then shoe covers and finally the rain bike. She is the very last piece to the puzzle that states I have given in.
So be it.
At the current rate time is going by, it’ll be Spring soon enough and the rain bike will be forgotten. Until then, the rain bike and I will get reacquainted, fall in love all over again and choose to suffer through another dark season together. After today’s wet and rainy ride, I am happily reminded there is no other bike I’d rather suffer through winter with.