Posted by: emilybybike | August 6, 2010

Rescue Mission

Right around 3:30 yesterday afternoon, the DC area got slammed by a line of massive thunderstorms. And when the skies turn gray at 3pm and the power flickers in your building, most people, and especially those of us who go by bike start to get a little wide-eyed and nervous. The big question – how do I get HOME?!

At first I figured I could wait out the storms – since typical summer storms pass in about 30 minutes, but this was no ordinary storm, it kept coming, and coming, and raining and thunder. I would later find out that the storm ripped through Alexandria so bad, the mayor equated it to being worse than when Hurricane Isabel came through back in 2003. Yikes. Waiting was turning into a non-option, unless of course I wanted to wait and ride home in the dark. Another option was metro, but with recent fare hikes and stories of Smartrip cards not working, massive lines and metro also not working right in the wake of storms, I didn’t want to turn that route – plus, I was not inclined to the idea of leaving my bike at work over night.

Enter Kat!

My constant mountain biking and other shenanigans partner in crime, Kat works just around the Beltway from me in Greenbelt, and when the storms hit and the sever thunderstorm watch (From National Weather Service : THIS IS A DANGEROUS STORM. IF YOU ARE IN ITS PATH… PREPARE IMMEDIATELY FOR DAMAGING WIND GUSTS AND FREQUENT CLOUD TO GROUND LIGHTNING. MOVE INDOORS TO A STURDY BUILDING AND STAY AWAY FROM WINDOWS) was issued, she was not going to let me chance fate and pedal home through heavily wooded Rock Creek Park.

Fate was playing her cards today as well, with my commuter bike resting up after getting some TLC, I had ridden my road bike to work for a slight change of pace, so when Kat arrived in here eco-friendly Prius (aka “Blueberry”), we were easily able to pop the bike in the back and try to skirt the swirling storm. We were quite proud of the fact, that even without a bike rack, we were able to fit TWO bikes in the back of Kat’s car – her mountain bike, and my road bike. The behaved quite well together in the back and who knows – we probably could have fit another!

Who needs a rack? Two bikes staying nice & dry and out of the storms in the back of “Blueberry”

It wasn’t raining when Kat picked me up from Silver Spring, but not even 10-minutes later as we cut through the ‘back-roads’ of DC to avoid the inevitable mayhem of I-495 during a rainy rush-hour, the skies opened up again, raining so hard we could barely see out the windshield, and turning DC’s gutters into mini rivers (and giving the undercarriage of Kat’s car a nice cleaning!).  As we crossed Chain Bridge and back in to Virginia, it was obvious the storm had been even worse on the Virginia side of the river. Trees (yes, trees, not just tree branches) were down, stop lights were blinking and the sound of sirens in the distance was near constant.

Luckily, we made it to my building with no more trouble than a slight detour around a blinking stop-light and some random road cones (traffic control maybe? it was silly….) where I unloaded and got home, only slightly damp from the intermittent rain now falling. Next time – I may have to do a little more foresight into the weather forecast before heading out! But – I am incredibly thankful to have such an awesome, and caring friend as Kat. If it wasn’t for her, who knows how, when and in what shape I would have gotten home last night! Kat rescued me from what could have potentially been an awful commute, and we turned it into an afternoon adventure full of laughter.

My bike did take me to work today, and in a sense, biking also brought me safely home, as it was mountain biking that got me to meet such a great friend!


  1. Great post Emily… I love your writing style too!

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