UW News

February 14, 2008

March is perfect for a ‘Ride in the Rain’

UW News

Mark Twain famously said, “Everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it” — but you can do something. You can participate in Ride in the Rain throughout March, and maybe win a prize for yourself or your team.

Now in its fifth year, this is the soggy competition sponsored by Commuter Services where faculty, staff and students keep track of their bicycle trips to and from campus, especially when Seattle’s skies are doing their signature thing. And so while the Eurythmics said “here comes the rain again” like it’s a bad thing, from March 2 to 29, UW Ride in the Rain bikers will actually look forward to it.

You can register online at www.washington.edu/commuterservices. Or you can sign up in person at the Pedal Off, a sort of warmup meeting and celebration of bike commuting, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28, in the Fisheries Sciences lobby and yard. Surplus bicycles will be for sale, as will helmets, lights and bells provided by the Hall Health Wellness Center. Participants can pick up their 2008 Ride in the Rain t-shirts there, too.

OK sure, Bob Dylan sang, “It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall,” but it may not be quite as hard this a-year, because Commuter Services moved Ride in the Rain forward from January. So there will be more light and a bit warmer weather but — let’s face it — no shortage of showers, no paucity of precipitation.

Ride in the Rain was designed to encourage new bike commuters and to let those already commuting by bike have their hour in the sun, er, rain. Prizes will be awarded for the most rides in the rain, the most total commute trips and the most new riders signed up. And then there is the Soaked to the Gills trophy, given each year to the team with the highest average number of rain-riding trips. (They do it that way so that teams of different sizes can compete equally.) The reigning team from 2007 is the fearsome Pansy Riders, from Grounds Maintenance, who averaged an impressive 11.2 rides in the rain per team member.

Ride in the Rain is conducted in the spirit of fun, and its organizers even encourage you to think up haiku about the experience that you may post on their Web site. A few have already been posted.

The witches in Macbeth asked each other, “When shall we three meet again? In thunder, lightning, or in rain?” and it was a good question, but Riders in the Rain need not wonder along those lines. They can all meet again at the Ride in the Rain Awards Celebration and Merchandise Fair to be held in April. Local sports shops also will be on hand, displaying their wares.

Last year, 859 bike riders participated in the competition, 777 on teams and another 82 riding alone. Results are posted each week on the Web site, so that riders and teams can track their progress.

“Thy fate is the common fate of all; into each life some rain must fall,” wrote Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. But why get bummed out about it?

Just ride your bike through that rain.