The Chainlink

Were you on your bike when that crazy storm hit last Friday?  I just wrote mine up for the Gaper's Block discussion section, and am curious about how other cyclists handled the storm. So please share your bike storm story!  Here is mine, filled with rain and Good Samaritanism:

I was biking south on Damen, on my way to KitchenChicago to prep cook for my upcoming Gan Project weekend workshop that included a picnic
lunch. When the storm presented while I was at the Addison intersection,
first I only felt a few sprinkles but then saw the black cloud above,
and knew what was coming.

In the first five minutes, it was fun to ride in the storm, the thunder and lightning were really thrilling. But
after five minutes, I felt it was too dangerous to be out there,
particularly because I didn't have confidence that the cars could see me
with the rain falling horizontally onto their windshields.

That said, before I went to take shelter at a minimart at Damen and Diversey, a car
full of Latino men pulled down their window, one man smiled at me, I
thought he was going to say something about me being out there, but
instead, he handed me an unused garbage bag to fashion into an emergency
poncho. I poked a hole for my head and two for my arms, and thought
that was the nicest thing in the world that anyone could have done to me
on that wet Friday afternoon.

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I was riding up north near Gurnee When the storm hit. At first I was scared shift less but after reaching the "safety"of a trail it was mostly ok. The wind was blowing, the ocean was falling out of a portal in the clouds and I was as soaked to the bone. I saw multiple branches fall, and i even managed to see a tree snap at the trunk. good stuff.

Once the weather calmed down to just rain I stopped into a local cafe, grabbed some cookies and enjoyed my well earned squishy pants feeling.

I had just mowed a lawn so in all it felt amazing
Early in the day on Friday, I got an email from the nanny who was taking care of our toddler to say that she had a family emergency, and to ask if she could drop off the toddler at work at 5, rather than home at 6. I said sure, and asked her to bring the child seat for my bike, so we could bike home together.

At 4:30 I sat and watched through the big glass windows as the storm rolled in and I waited for my daughter. We had no rain gear, so biking home wasn't an option. We put the bike in my office, waited out the worst of it, and then went home by bus and train.

Overall, it was fine. Only real bummer was missing Kidical Mass the next morning, because the bike was stranded in Hyde Park! We had our bike home then instead.
I saw the radar and alerts, and said "oh hell no!" and took a bus. Despite all odds, the weather held perfectly for a show at Ravinia.
what about right now???? I'm waiting it out at my office.
Eh, I biked home. It was wet but not too windy. There was some lightening, but it was in the distance. It was actually kind of fun.

Julie Hochstadter said:
what about right now???? I'm waiting it out at my office.
I feel dirty.
I stood under a big entranceway canopy watching Douglas Park, fully prepared to unlock my bike and get soaked and waited for about 30 minutes hoping it would settle down to the point of at least not being dangerous (lightning repeatedly at ground level, and I'm pretty sure a small tornado touched down right in front of me);
Someone struck up a conversation and told me I should see if one of the transport vehicles (PT Cruisers) could run me home . . .I didn't want to leave my bike in the rain but storms like this are preceded by hours of achiness for me and I was way past ready to be off my feet . . .
Called it a day early to get warmed up before the (scheduled) Sodier Field Cycling Series crit. Coming from the North, once we got to Ohio St, some XXX riders coming from downtown were passing on news that event was cancelled. My Half Acre teammate and I turned around, and headed W on Chicago Ave just in time to hear air raid sirens. It was a long CTA ride home. On the bus I set my twitter act to get @chicagobikerace updates via SMS. They made the call (and tweeted it) just as we were heading out.
I rode on Friday to the Auditorium to see Fuerza Bruta...amazing btw. Upon leaving it was crazy raining lightning, decided to wait it out a bit then put on my dollar store poncho and had a beautiful ride home. Unfortunately the next day I was not so lucky, after leaving work at quite a late hour I was passing by Eckhart Park and a wayward telephone wire got caught in my front tire rsulting in a spill for me and a torn mcl...crummy
I was asleep on the beach at 31st street when I immediately woke up to notice that the sun was long gone. I went to go wash off sand when I heard a girl say: "I just felt a rain drop." I looked up and the sky was completely black.

I had to ride to Ukrainian Village so I started on my way. I got to the Shedd right before the wind started to really pick up. Stopping to take pictures wasn't the best idea but I did it anyway. I made it to Michigan and Balbo before the heavens opened up and the wind started to blow over trash cans. Thankfully the nice doormen at the Blackstone let me chill in the doorframe of the hotel for about thirty minutes until the wind and lightening subsided.

A nice guest at the hotel looked at me as I put on my helmet and asked: "Do you really need to be there that badly?"
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I decided not to ride to work that day because I was to sail to St. Joe's, MI in the afternoon and didn't want to leave my bike on the rack at Monroe Harbor. I walked there after work. My dad picked up me and my brother around three. He had just motored down to Burnham Harbor for diesel and had had problems restarting the motor after refueling (we later learned that the alternator was out). My brother and I get on the boat and my dad immediately tells us that the winds could be between 30 and 40 miles per hour between 3 and 4 o'clock. This isn't a big deal. We have dealt with those kinds of winds before. Not a problem. Let's go to Michigan. So we set sail. We eventually realize that we won't be able to get into St. Joe's harbor without a motor. We also realize we have no charts and no way to figure out where we are. My dad makes the decision to turn back (we are less than 5 miles out of the harbor at this point). So we turn around. We get the motor started and bring down the sails. We can see the storm rolling in over the city. It is this huge black mass of clouds. No big deal. We will be back at our spot in the harbor in 15 minutes. It starts to drizzle a little. My dad asks me to go get him a rain jacket. I go from the cockpit of the boat to the cabin, find the rain jacket, and hand it to him. He is soaked by this point and tells me he doesn't need it anymore. So I put on my rain jacket. In the time it took me to walk down three steps, put on a rain jacket, and walk back up into the cockpit, the wind went from 20 to 50 mph. I have been sailing with my father for 20 - something years. Never in my life before the second I walked out of that cabin on Friday had I ever heard him give the command, "Get out the life jackets." My brother pulled two of them out and handed them to me. I put one on my dad and the other I put on myself. By this time our wind gauge had buried it's needle (it's max reading speed is 60 mph). I later learned that less than a mile from where we were, the wind had been clocked at 77 mph. At this point, we had no control over the boat. We were being whipped around willy-nilly. We were trying to make our way into the wind, but it kept taking us broadside to the wind (not a good situation, in case you are unfamiliar with boating). Sail boats pitch naturally; they are designed to do this. When we were broadside to the wind, we pitched further than I have ever seen that boat pitch in my life. Water was flowing freely into the cockpit. I actually was so convinced that we were going to tip that I had started making a list of things that I will need to buy to replace the things that I lost when the boat went down. 1. New pack for biking. 2. New phone 3. Cancel and replace debit card, credit card, and wallet etc. The wind came and went we were being blown in circles. I finally said to my dad, "Let's just go with the wind. This storm is moving faster than we ever could. It will die down. Let's just wait it out and we will motor in after it's done." So we head further out onto Lake Michigan. We see a Coast Gaurd boat, so I fire some flares at it. They do nothing (I later learned that they were responding to a sinking vessel). At this point, the wind is starting to die down and we are sctually making headway back into the harbor. We get the boat onto our bouy and the sun comes out. Of course, it does. So we immediately start drinking. All is well. The boat and all three passengers will live to sail again. The best part is that today (Weds, June 23) I got a text from my dad that read, "Guys, want to go sailing winds are 70 again." HAHAHAHAHA! Of course, I do.
It was roughly 5:00 and I got a text from a friend telling me it was going to storm so I high tailed on my bike and road down damen going north. It was a light sprinkle that felt wonderful with the muggy heat, but it picked up once I hit Lincoln Square. The rain was pelting me and the lightning was close, but I chose to keep riding. And i rode 6 more blocks before I reached my house. Every street seeing people ducking under bus stops. When I made it home I felt accomplished, scared and had a slight adrenaline rush. Then I checked the time, 5:15, I clocked in the fastest time getting from damen and addison to my house that is 2.8 miles away!
Re: the Air Raid sirens . . . last night was the first time I've heard them in my life other than on a Tuesday morning. What's the criteria for using them for a storm? Are we to the point where we're like, "hey, might as well use 'em for something?"

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