Huddled inside a makeshift tent with thirty or so people (who, unlike myself, are just coming in from riding bicycles for 45 miles in the icy rain dreading the next 30 miles they still had to go), one’s words tend to be heard, whether you intend them to be or not. In this instance, a particular phrase catches everyone nearby like a slap to an already burning, wet face. I tell my mom standing next to me, “Don’t worry, the rain is stopping in one minute.” Ears perk, people stop shivering for a moment and turn slowly towards me. A reply comes from someone in the crowd, “That’s a bold statement.”

I’m in this tent with all of these hardcore cyclists because my mom (who is in better shape than I am) has raised $2600 for the John Hopkins Foundation and cancer research for the pleasure to be able to ride along side them for 75 miles today (and another 75 miles tomorrow). Knowing how much she loves cycling, I figured it was the right thing to take a bus down to VA from NYC to cheer her on.

After a while of trying to find her on the course, I end up at the two-thirds mark where everyone in the race is supposed to be stopping for lunch. After her surprise of seeing me fades to enjoyment, it then melds into annoyance. Not at me, mind you, and not even at the course filled with mostly uphill roads. No, she’s annoyed with a certain fickle lady: mother nature. If only it wasn’t raining…

We move into the tent setup for people to get out of the rain and shovel in some carbs before they are supposed to jump back on their bikes and head out for the remainder of today’s ride; it’s full of that same annoyed look I had just recognized on my mother’s face. In an effort to comfort my mom who doesn’t seem to be enjoying herself much at this point, I take out my phone, open a browser window, and head to Forecast.io.

This little site made by two developers works similarly to any other weather app you’d expect, from weekly forecasts, to weather maps, to setting different locations or using your current one. The reason I went to that URL instead of opening any other weather app from my app drawer, though, is because Forecast doesn’t just tell me 1PM = Rain/2PM = Rain/3PM = Cloudy, it shows me a chart of rainfall for the next hour –in minute intervals.

So when I saw that the rain was going to be stopping in about a minute, I thought my mother might get some solace out of that fact and told her. What I didn’t realize was that there were others looking for similar comforting thoughts listening in and they were now mentally teetering between the hope I was right and the thought of how quickly they could remove their helmets to hit me with them.

The minute passes and as my mom and I step outside of the tent and head to her bike so she can set off again, a man yells at us from across the field, “Holy crap, you were right!” Others around him are all in similar awe of the situation and just so darn pleased the rain had stopped. I yell back, “Better hurry, it’s supposed to start up again in a couple of hours,” and everyone hurries to their bikes and hits the road as quickly as they can –all smiles and with more determination to finish faster, if just to save themselves from more rain.

I say goodbye to my mother and tell her I’ll see her at the finish line. As I walk away to my car, feeling like Thor himself, I reach back into my pocket, open my app drawer, and delete my other weather app. Who needs it.

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  • tisch

    This is an extraordinary article in countless ways. It provides wonderful insight to a suburb weather site, but it’s even more insightful about the author’s use of technology to help a group of good-deed-doing strangers… and his mom.
    Thanks

    • Thanks for the feedback, Tisch! Really appreciated!