Waterproof

After pedaling through the drizzle of Hilo yesterday, I found myself grateful that my skin is waterproof.  We are sensitive, porous creatures, absorbing both toxins and medicines from our environment every day, but if you douse me with water I won't melt.  I also won't become so heavy and waterlogged that you have to squeeze me out, like a sponge.  Although I pictured that for a moment, when I got home and Alex pulled me in for a soggy embrace.

On my cross-country bike tour, I rode through all kinds of weather. Sure, there were times that I didn't want to ride under the hot sun in Kansas or through the cold downpour in Tennessee, but waiting out the weather didn't seem like a good option. There was always the chance that the sun or rain would be just as unrelenting the next day. And I didn't want to wait it out: the forward motion towards my goal was addicting.

 Me and my bike bags are besties.

Me and my bike bags are besties.

My skin, tent, and bicycle bags (called panniers) were all equally waterproof. I could roll through anything, it seemed, and have clean, dry clothes to change into afterwords.  That's what kept me going, sometimes: knowing that fluffy, warm socks were tucked safely in the depths of my pannier, and I wouldn't be sopping wet forever.

 Miya the bicycle, loaded with all 4 bike bags, my tent, and my sleeping pad.

Miya the bicycle, loaded with all 4 bike bags, my tent, and my sleeping pad.

I purchased four yellow Ortleib bike panniers from REI six years ago.  It cost $300 for the set, which felt like a big investment for me as a senior in college.  I have never once regretted it.  I use them every day, to carry everything from mangos to laptops to potted plants to pumpkins. They are as waterproof as they day I bought them, as cheery as ever, and have the same magical, limitless capacity as Mary Poppin's bag. So often people ask me, "How are you going to get that home?"  I stand there, holding the three smoothies I just purchased from Sweet Cane Cafe or the armload of frozen beef ribs I got from the butcher shop, and tell them, "they'll fit".  And somehow, they always do.

 How does it all fit in those two little bags?! Magic.

How does it all fit in those two little bags?! Magic.