What If It Rains?

A question often asked on social-media threads by people who want to shoot down walking, cycling, or other forms of transport that are not the private automobile.

If this question were sincere, it’s very easy to answer. (As are the related questions about hot weather, cold weather, or whatever.) But, the question is asked with a derisive vibe, meant as a shamer or “stopper.” We’re supposed to feel ashamed of ourselves for daring to suggest that anything not-a-car is not only a viable mode of transport but also wonderful and in many cases even superior to the private automobile.

If the question is sincere, then the comments I post in response would offer information that the questioner could actually use. Here’s what I posted yesterday in response to the “What if it rains” question by people trying to shame the mayor of Oviedo, FL for suggesting that her choice to do some errands by bicycle is part of the solution:

Not everyone is able or willing to bicycle. But everywhere, regardless of climate (yes, harshly cold places like Montana and Finland too, as well as hot places like Texas and Florida), people who DO get around by bicycle have lots of ways to deal with the prevailing types of weather in the places where they live. Dealing with weather comes with the territory.

In hot places, a big part of dealing w weather is having cool breathable clothing, and maybe a little freshen-up kit (also, many workplaces have showers, or are located near gyms that have showers). etc etc etc.

Rain: Unless it’s a hypothermia situation, I find rain gear more of a hindrance than a help when cycling. What do I do when it rains? Get rained on. No biggie. Rainwater is great for the skin. 😉

A thought that occurred to me later: It’s funny how the car-worshippers are quick to whine that people able to walk, cycle, or take public transport are “privileged.” Those same car-cult devotees seem not to notice their OWN privilege — thinking it’s perfectly OK to keep perpetuating conditions that basically force people to own cars, with no thought of the huge financial burden that places on households of modest means, not to mention the constant worry that a car will break down.

Oh, and another privileged stance of mainstream car-dominated culture is that we shouldn’t have to plan for weather in our daily travels, because we should be sheltered inside buildings and cars the whole time.

And I give Ms. Sladek, mayor of Oviedo, points for setting a good example to the citizens!