It rains, you need to go out, what do you do?

The question of whether you should either walk or run in the rain if your goal is to stay as dry as possible, has fascinated people ever since they realized they had more time to spend on the internet than cat videos could provide.

That is a rather convoluted sentence but if you try and attack it a couple of times, you should be able to decipher its meaning. If not, just read ‘has fascinated people a lot recently’.

In 1992 The Straight Dope claimed that running through the rain keeps you considerably drier than walking through it. Sounds plausible. There are variants out there that I am not going to link to that talk about the wind coming from the front (run) or behind (walk) and about the type of rain (big drops v. small).

My problems are different though and as I stare out the window, knowing I should leave the house any minute now, more than four decades of Dutch experience with rain tell me what to do.

Last Friday I was at the worst conference I ever attended. The conference was held in a quaint and utterly charming village just outside Utrecht, 25 kilometres from my home as the crow flies, and it was organized on the same principle as all other conferences before it, i.e. people that matter own a car. I don’t own a car because living in a largish city I don’t typically need one. Long story short, it took me 3 hours and 10 minutes to get there by public transport. There were public-transport-using people that came in after me.

(Just as a public service announcement, the conference was held in an otherwise perfectly charming small convention center called Inn Style in Maarssen. Do not ever go there!)

The first Dutch lesson for avoiding the rain is therefore to neither walk nor run, but take a car.

Since I spend most of my kilometres on a bicycle and since today’s destination is only two kilometres away, today’s dilemma is whether I should walk or ride a bicycle. An added variable is that I will be using an umbrella. Experience tells me that walking with an umbrella will keep me drier than bicycling.

The problem is slightly enhanced by the fact that it rains relatively hard and that it is relatively cold outside. If it would be a little warmer or if it wouldn’t rain so hard, I might as well cycle through the rain without an umbrella because the water would evaporate as fast as it would hit me.

These things you won’t read on your strange blogs from foreign lands where rain is more of a concept than a reality. On the other hand, some people claim it almost never rains in the Netherlands.

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