The wordless concepts of the bicyclers

So I have a bicycle, and Finland has weather. Since talking while bicycling seems to attract street lights, I have realized I have biking-related concepts for which I don’t have words. Such as:

  • The sense in the air when you get out of a market, shopping bag in hand, and notice the air’s gotten mightily darker all of a sudden… and ooh, in-rolling clouds! (It’s not the word for this, but the phrase for this is, “This is gonna suck.”)
  • The special fatalism of trying to outrace the incoming rain.
  • The warm glow when you actually do.
  • The feeling of uncertainty when it starts to drizzle and you try to decide whether to stop (to open an umbrella / zip up the coat / etc.) or not (less time in the incipient rain).
  • The oracular certainty over today’s weather caused by realizing you forgot all your rain gear home.
  • The belief that carrying an umbrella around is a powerful amulet against rainclouds.
  • The feeling of accomplishment and terror when you wheel round a wet corner with one hand holding an open umbrella.
  • The places that get wet when cycling wearing a raincoat.
  • The gust of wind that tells you you fucked up, the rain’s here and it’s going to lick you.
  • The sort of head-tilting squint you do, trying to see through a window whether it’s raining outside.
  • Looking out to see if there are ripples in the puddles. Used to see if it’s raining outside; the most common solution to the previous.
  • The furious swipe of your paw as you gesture a motorist to go on first, because you love being in the rain.
  • The trepidation you feel approaching a blind intersection where every direction seems to be made for hurtling from.
  • A place where something nasty happened with the bike, and your tendency to tense each time you pass it.
  • The belief that if you brake too hard, the brakes will break and then whoopsie.
  • The uncertainty over whether your tires are flat or you’re just tired.
  • The oddly upbeat feeling when something breaks that hasn’t ever broken before. (Usually with respect to the bicycle and not the bicycler.)
  • The Bicycle of Theseus. The culmination of the previous.

I could have taken the method of Adams and Lloyd and appropriated place names for these concepts; but I am lazy. Here are three place names that I found a meaning for, though.

  • Shrewsbury. The mythical origin-place of the people who yell bicycling advice after you. Usually “You’re not allowed to drive here! Go play tag with a truck!” — the latter part is sort of implied.
  • Dawley. The mythical origin-place of the pedestrians who don’t understand their normal walking speed isn’t a fair bicycling velocity. Only a major dawley thinks those bicyclists are rude for trying to pass him and his cute little dog. (Also, him walking at the left edge, his dog at the right, the leash taut between? One wonders if such a morville is really trying to kill people.)
  • Wolverhampton. The higher plane of existence onto which you ascend when, bicycling in morning quiet, with no people, no cars, you see a squirrel. Or a bunny rabbit. Or wolves! (A wolf-related wolverhampton can make you into a wulfrunian pretty quickly.)

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