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Downpour-induced blindness and causal creativity in the dark(3 posts)

Downpour-induced blindness and causal creativity in the darkPdxMark
Jan 3, 2003 8:16 AM
I rode home from work last night in a cool winter downpour. Part way home traffic was backing up. I could see a police car with its lights on in front of the back-up. I went a couple blocks around. A bit later my eyes began to burn, badly.

I stopped and tried to blink them clear. That helped a bit, but not really. I was reduced to squinting through one eye, then the other, then closing both for a bit, and repeating. I stopped a couple more times when it got very bad.

As I slowly rode home, I wondered what was going on... was it some car exhaust-based acid rain eye wash? Was it diesel exhaust soot from one those monstrously over-sized compensator pickup trucks? Maybe that police car had been at a police action where they used tear gas that had wafted across my path. I couldn't figure it out.

Anyway, I finally got home. It takes awhile if you want to ride safely in the dark with your eyes closed. I washed my face and eyes, and all seemed better. But what was it???

This morning most of my commute stuff had dried for the ride to work. One exception was my winter cycling gloves. They had been soaked. Another was the front pads on my helmet. Ewwww. Cold and wet at 6AM. But then it dawned on me. I hadn't been maced by the police the night before, the downpour had just washed countless rides' worth of sweat solids from the front helmet pads into my eyes.

Getting a stream of sweat in one eye during a hot summer-time ride is easy to identify. Getting a wash of old sweat in both eyes on a cool winter night was a bit harder.

Be nice to yourself. Wash your helmet pads sometime.
Capture that and send it off to BicyclingMike-Wisc
Jan 3, 2003 8:25 AM
Excellent writing, and I think publishable.
Thank you.
Nothing unusual, it probably was...Fez
Jan 3, 2003 9:13 AM
just like you said - dirt, grime, sweat that just washed into your eyes from the rain.

This used to happen to me in the spring and summer. Dust, pollen, dirt would kind of stick to my face while I rode.

Later, while driving home on the freeway it started to work its way down and irritate my eyes. No amount of tears would help stop the irritation and I really thought I was going to have a crash because I could barely see for about 30 seconds.

After that I brought an extra squirt bottle of water and a towel to wash off post-ride so that never happens again.