Interfacing With the Non-Cycling General Public

Corrective Action Bicycle Club Commuter Tip Series #64: The Rain Commute.

The key to a successful rain commute is gear. There are over 4,592 blogs on the internet discussing rain gear. Half of them are wrong. Part of the ‘fun’ of commuting is figuring out which aren’t. We won’t discuss gear here as that’s been covered. We’re going to discuss your duty with regards to PUBLIC OUTREACH WITH THE GENERAL PUBLIC (GP).

Members of the non-cycling GP can’t fathom cycling in inclement weather. Even some ‘fair-weather’ commuters pack it in when the rain starts to fall. It’s our duty to reach out to these people and let them know the joy of cycling while Mother Nature is literally pouring herself out on you. First, approach the GP where they converge for their daily coffee fix – the corner store, Tim Horton’s (or Dunkin Donuts for my ‘Merican friends), or your local art house/coffee shop/music venue/hipster hang.

Enter the place fully kitted up and soaked to the bone. Be boisterous and attract as much attention as possible. Present a wide, shit-eating grin. Obtain a coffee and load up your arms with as many pastries as you can carry. Whistle gayly or mutter to yourself during this process. Take your place in the queue to pay. As you stand juggling your coffee and pastries in an ever-growing puddle, invariably one of the GP will look up from their phone and say, “you’re riding a bike in THAT?”

Stay calm, THIS IS YOUR MOMENT, THIS is where the PUBLIC OUTREACH MAGIC happens. Look them dead in the eye, and loud enough for everyone in line to hear – loud enough to startle – reply, “YEAH! IT’S AWESOME!” This next part is key – punctuate your statement with a short, abrupt maniacal chuckle, and then, without breaking eye contact, make that face a person makes when they’re not sure if they’re going to laugh or cry. Hold it – HOLD IT – for a few more seconds, then exhale.

Usually this is enough to make the desired impression on the GP. In addition, you’ve done them the favor of having something to post about on social media that day other than politics. Once you’ve paid for your goods, when exiting into the fray, an added loud “WHOOOP!” is an effective conclusion to the exchange.