|Not Chicago, but damned if it doesn't feel like it.|
Yes, it is July and much of the nation is in the throes of a heat wave so intense, it borders on the comically ridiculous. Forecasts festooned in red warnings litter the weather.com and (I can only assume) the television. Ideally, in such instances, all travel would be suspended and people would just stay where the air is properly conditioned and life can move on in semi-comfortable circumstances.
Unfortunately, life is anything but ideal. I submit as evidence the aforementioned comically ridiculous heat wave.
For those without a car, this leaves the options of either taking public transportation or biking. Both options are sweaty and uncomfortable in their own special way. Either way, you will spend significant amounts of time out in the sun and the heat. The question is, do you want to be standing there, crammed in next to a bunch of other sweaty people, or do you want to physically exert yourself during one of the most dangerous times to be physically exertive?
If you have decided, like I did just yesterday, that you prefer option number bike, then here are some suggestions to help you cope with your ride.
1: Resign yourself to the likelihood that you are embarking on possibly the worst ride in the entire history of bicyclized transportation. First, better to set expectations incredibly low so that, if anything, you will be surprised that you made it. Second, because this might just actually be the worst ride of your life.
2: On a related note, don’t die. If you feel yourself dying, or as though you might be edging in that direction, stop. This is a good general rule of thumb regardless, but deserves to be restated. Don’t die.
3: Stop for ice cream along the way. Not only will ice cream cool your overheated body, but it will also raise your morale. I like to stop multiple times and will often choose my route home based on the number of ice cream parlors along the way.
4: Do not start screaming unintelligibly. Trust me, it won’t help you. If anything, screaming just disturbs everyone around you – motorists, pedestrians, other bikers, police officers – making your situation more awkward and potentially dangerous. If you feel you have to scream, scream intelligibly.
5: Also, no crying. Crying saps your body of much needed moisture. In addition to that, the evaporation of your tears only adds to the humidity, which in turn heats up everyone else. This may cause people around you to start crying as well, which in turn adds to the humidity and thus creates a snow ball effect. Only, no snow.
6: You can pray to God but it likely won’t help. God most likely will be sequestered away in a cooled portion of heaven and will be unable to hear your cries over the drone of the AC unit.
7: Remove as much extraneous clothing as possible. No, it might not be pretty. You know what else isn’t pretty? A sweat soaked shirt on a panting gorilla-man riding down the street on a piece of metal.
8: Cover yourself in mud. If it works for pigs then it likely works for humans too. Lost that pesky pride.
9: If all else fails, give up. Park your bike on the side of the road, and then find a taxi willing to pick up a grown man, naked except for what caked mud has not yet come loose, crying and blathering unintelligibly about how his ice cream cone melted.