The cliché wisdom around here in the summer is that “it isn’t the heat, it’s the humidity” that’s so uncomfortable. Never more true than on a day like today, when the sun rose in near-solstice earliness after a night of very warm, damp air and lots of thundershowers had wetted everything down. Clouds came and went, blanketing the damp earth and keeping the moisture saturating the air. When I rode out at 8:30 to beat the prophesied heat, the asphalt of roads and trail was still damp almost everywhere, because the sun hadn’t been able to shine directly on it very much to work its drying magic.
Slick bicycle tires pick up moisture quicker than Saudi cops pick up women drivers, so my Michelins were wet most of the trip, despite the total absence of rain or drizzle. Dirtying my just-washed Trek, spraying walkers I passed, making me wary of sudden moves or emergency braking, they added a “degree of difficulty” or two to my trip thanks to the humid morning.
When I got home I was dripping, because sweat and condensation do not evaporate efficiently if the air is already nearly saturated. Not that I sweat more; it just stayed around.
How humid was it, you ask?
It was so humid that I should have worn snorkel goggles instead of my shades.
it was so humid I didn’t dare breathe through my mouth for fear I’d swallow a lethal lungful of water.
It was so humid that the relative humidity was 110%.
It was so humid that on the W&OD they made us ride using the buddy system.
it was so humid fish were jumping out of the water into the air to find a wetter medium.
it was so humid people were going into Turkish Baths to dry off.
it was so humid that “all wet” applied to everything about me, not just these quips.
©Arnold J. Bradford, 2011.