The past few weeks have been extremely hot as the summer has officially arrived in Bangladesh through countrywide celebration of the first day of Bangla Year. The city life had become hell as frequent power-cuts (otherwise known as load-shedding) left us only about 12 hours out of 24 with electricity. Yesterday was the same when I came back home from my college.
I planned to go to the office of bdnews24.com, a news agency where I write as Contributing Reporter for its Technology section. It’s only at a little distance away from my college. I could easily go there straight from the college but I was all sweaty and tired after the college hours that I didn’t have the stamina. So, I caught a mini-bus back to home.
At around 4.30 in the afternoon, I decided to take out my bicycle and go to office. It’s been a few days since I last rode. I learned that I need to ride regularly otherwise I lose the habit and therefore get tired easily. If I ride constantly, I don’t feel any pain in my legs or thighs because I get used to it. As planned, I got out with my bike and went to office.
Fooling Around the Office
It was about 10 km distance from my home. It took me about 45 minutes. If I’m right with the calculator, the average speed was somewhat 13 km/h (I’m a newbie rider and the streets of Dhaka have the most stable traffic ever). By the time I got there, I was all sweaty and I felt really awkward. I didn’t enter the office immediately. I stopped by a general store, bought a bottle of water, splashed onto my face, and then left by bike locked besides footpath.
Everything went as usual in the office. I worked. I chatted. I ate. And then I came to know it was raining cats and dogs outside. Because I was inside a building I didn’t understand that. But when I went ahead and moved the curtain away, I saw the highway was flooded.
Now, street flooding is nothing new in Bangladesh. 5 minutes of rain can cause this. But Mohakhali is one of the developed areas, at least when it comes to roads, where flooding as a result of rainfall is quite rare. So, at first glance I realized it was stormy weather outside. I was a bit worried about my cycle as it could fall on the streets due to the flow of air. But I didn’t go down to check.
Lastly, around 8.45pm, I prepared to leave. I went downstairs and luckily, right in front of my eyes, a huge wave of air hit my bicycle and it fell on the ground. Good that it happened as soon as I got there. I picked it up. It was all clean and washed. I stood there with others for a couple of minutes hoping that the rainfall would slow down. They said they’ll get an auto and go home while I will have to wait. But luckily, the rain slowed down and I took the chance and started riding.
Journey Through Thunderstorm
But, just after a few minutes of riding, it started again. This time, heavier. It was like thousands of showers are on full force right above my body. Along with the rainfall, there was lightning, thundering and cool breeze which made me shiver. I was worried that this may cause me lose control. So, I got down from my bike and walked with it for a couple of minutes.
The worst of all, my glasses were wet so I couldn’t clearly see what was ahead. But after a few minutes of walking, I decided to get back on the bike and ride. I was slow, steady and careful enough not to fall from the bike or lose control. It was raining real heavy and the road was like knee-deep in water. At some point I felt a little too hard to pedal, but that was okay.
In just around 50 minutes, I got home. I rode my bicycle in the midst of thunderstorm in knee-deep water during a weekday evening. If I didn’t have the bike, it would take me a minimum an hour to get my feet on a bus and another hour or two to get to nearest bus stop to my home. But my bicycle saved a huge chunk of time and gave me a thrilling experience that I will remember perhaps forever.
I never went out with my bike on bad weather before yesterday because I was afraid of losing control and slip down. But as it turned out, I can ride even when it’s raining. All I needed to stay safe was concentration on what’s ahead of me (and what’s coming from behind me) and not to take up too much speed. And then I enjoyed this thrilling ride from office to home in a memorable evening.
Thoughts That Should Be Shared
Bicycle is really a great way to commute. If you’re not the type of person who would go out and spend hours regularly just to enjoy biking, you can take it just for your daily needs. It may seem silly, but if you are properly dressed with proper gears, you won’t look as bad as most other bicycle riders out there. Even big companies like Google use bicycle for internal purpose. Someone at BDCyclists — the group of bicycle riders where I learned bicycling from — said that when you’re properly dressed and wear helmet, gloves and other protective gears, drivers from other vehicles will know that you’re not the person to underestimate. It is also great for health and provides fun. When you’re learning, you may not have as much fun as you’ll have when you’re comfortable with this. And if you want some adventurous ride, you can always look out for some local cycling community and go out for beautiful trails with them. Trust me, it’s a great way to enjoy the nature in another way you’ve never thought of before.
Note: If you are from Bangladesh and interested in joining a bicycle community, I would invite you to take a look at BDCyclists’ Facebook group. They arrange weekly rides as well as training for beginners at totally free of cost. And make sure you look for me if you’re joining on my recommendation. I’d love to meet a reader someday who I’ve helped to become a cyclist and contribute to the environment and towards keeping the planet green.
P.S.: After a rainy ride, you should always lube your bike, chain, cassettes, cables and other parts with proper oil. I’m gonna do it tomorrow morning. So, if you already have a bike, make sure you don’t keep it in your garage after a wet ride.
Optional: Take a look at my bicycle.
Even more optional: Say hello!