So the weather has been pretty grotty recently. It’s not been long since we were all out getting sunburnt and looking forward to a long, hot summer – but it’s July and it feels like autumn is drawing in. The graph that the BBC recently put up showing the monthly rainfall as a percentage of normal certainly backs up the feeling that summer came early. (The eagle-eyed scientists amongst you will, of course, realise that extra rain in the summer, when it is normally dry, leads to a much higher bar on that chart than the equivalent extra rain during an already-rainy winter month, but nevermind).
What is has done is made cycling to and from work distinctly unpleasant, but thankfully this week it’s been mainly on the way home. On Monday after climbing it was dark and heavy rain, and I was completely soaked (and had a crick in my neck from trying to shy away) by the time I got home. Today was similar – lighter rain, but a strong headwind meant I had to pedal downhill coming over Wandsworth Bridge.
Tuesday was ten times worse. After waiting until a heavy downpour had passed at around 5pm, I went to the DramSoc first-Tuesday barnight. Cycling home at about 10pm, I decided to ride down the Kings Road, to avoid the underpass at Chelsea Harbour. Just after the turning off down Wandsworth Bridge Road there was an unexpected giant puddle across the road – the streets had been dry up to there. Cycling into it at speed, I simply lifted my feet up and coasted through about 3 inches of water down the middle of the road.
Moments later approaching Parson’s Green there was another giant puddle, but as I went in I quickly realised it was much, much deeper, and seconds later it was above my axles and my feet were hardly clearing the surface on the upswing. As an oncoming taxi passed in the middle, I tried duck the wall of water (a bit like this guy), but failed miserably. By the time I made it to dry tarmac, I felt like I’d been swimming in it. Which isn’t far off, come to think of it.
Pictures from the downpour made it to the BBC news, which went some way to explaining the size of the puddles!