There’s a forgettable movie (Ishtar) with a memorable scene. Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman play two songwriters who are lost in the Sahara desert and as they’re crawling to an oasis with their last breaths, they start to write a song and trade rhymes back and forth.
So yesterday afternoon, we got caught in a rip-roaring thunderstorm. Out on our bikes in the middle of the proverbial nowhere, no shelter within miles and no idea what to do. The lightning seemed to be flashing dangerously close and the thunder roaring over our heads as we biked through a birch forest in the pouring rain 5 miles from the town of Blaksta, where there was a church we thought we could take sanctuary in.
It potentially was a life-threatening situation and I found myself like Warren and Dustin in the movie, singing some songs and thinking of clever titles for my eventual blog about the experience. That's pretty weird. But hey, it seems to be a big part of who I am. Some of my potential titles:
• Get Me to the Church on Time
• Celebrating Plastic
• What to Do When Out Biking in a Thunderstorm
We did make it to Blaksta Church, but by then the thunder and lightning and stopped and it was more important to soldier onward to our accommodation still two miles onward. We arrived with sopped shoes, dry shirts and backpacks (hence, “celebrating plastic”). After a welcome dinner, I looked up the answer to that last question.
Basically, everything you might do is wrong. Don’t be out in the open, don’t be under a tree, don’t be under an overhanging rock, don’t think rubber tires will make a difference to a lightning bolt (it won’t), don’t stop riding if the rain is strong and you’re in danger of hyperthermia from being wet and chilled or swept away by a flash flood, don’t keep riding, seek shelter in someone’s house but if there are no houses then…
Like I said, everything you might do is wrong. The most concrete suggestion was to park your bike away from you and crouch down until it passes. But they forgot the most important part. Crouch down and…
Preferably in a dry church giving gratitude to plastic.