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Old 12-23-15, 01:04 PM   #1
Andy_K 
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How committed are you to riding in the rain?

Let me start by acknowledging those of you who are car free. I know you're committed. I salute you.

Next, let me say that I don't consider myself a fair weather cyclist. My primary commuting bike is purpose built for riding in the rain. Of course it has fenders but also disc brakes and the best wet-traction tire I could find. Even the drive train is selected with the thought that it's going to be used in the rain a lot. I see myself as someone who bikes to work in the rain. Normally, I only look at the weather forecast to see how I should dress.

I live in the Pacific Northwest. Those of you who also live in the PNW probably know where I'm going with this. Those who don't at least know that it rains a lot here, right? We're known for our rain. When I moved here from the east coast my old co-workers gave me an umbrella as a going away present. I thought "50 Shades of Grey" was going to be about our fall, winter and spring weather. People say it only rains once a year here...but that "once" September to June. It rains here. It rains a lot. But this month...this month....

It rains a lot in the PNW. Historically December is our rainiest month, so you know we get a lot of rain in December. This December we've had more than twice the amount of rain that we get in an average December. We passed the mark for the most rainfall ever recorded at PDX airport in any single month at 6:53 AM on December 21. That morning the NOAA forecast showed that the next time the chance of rain for any single hour was going to drop below 50% was 4 PM on Thursday.

Today is our 24th consecutive day of rain. It may be getting to me, just a little.



Like I said, I think of myself as someone who bikes to work in the rain, but this month my resolve has failed. As of today I've driven to work more days (9) this month than I've biked in (8), and I'm on vacation for the rest of the month so my shame is permanent. Does anybody else in here feel the way I do?

On the bright side, the ten day forecast shows eight days with 40% chance of rain or less. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go sit in front of my happy lamp.
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Old 12-23-15, 01:14 PM   #2
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You should sell your bike and go hide in your car, cager!
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Old 12-23-15, 01:26 PM   #3
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Time for N+1! I can see the questions now - Do I need a mountain bike if the waves are only 2-3'?



Back on topic, reasonably committed - there are plenty of times I don't want to start a ride, but I'm always glad I did after the first mile.
I'd probably hate the fourth or fifth wet commute in a row.
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Old 12-23-15, 01:35 PM   #4
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I've ridden more than I've driven this month, but not by much.

I figure I will go through two chains (from two different "rain bikes")and two full sets of brake shoes this winter. In addition, my Showers Pass Elite 2.0 jacket has finally met its match, and I will likely have worn through two rear rims by spring (each has ~8,000 miles). Although I brake more with the front brake, the rear wheel gets much more road grime so the pads and rims wear faster.
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Old 12-23-15, 01:37 PM   #5
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I am pretty committed but understanding the excessive amount of rain you folks in the PNW have had recently, my resolve might be called into question. It is an interesting query you have made, as my wife and I are considering moving to the PNW, so right now for me it is an academic exercise, but may become more relevant. Ride safe.
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Old 12-23-15, 01:41 PM   #6
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I am not committed. Although here in CA I don't have to be since it hasn't rained any significant amount in what feels like 5 years...
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Old 12-23-15, 01:44 PM   #7
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I'm not car free, but we just have one and my wife uses it, so I don't have much choice. Luckily (or not), it's not much of an issue where I live in CA. I bought a rain jacket, rain pants, and waterproof messenger bag for when it does rain. I use the bag and jacket all the time but only carry the pants when rain is in the forecast.

But if I happen to not have to ride in it then I usually don't. My wife works close to my office and a couple days ago was headed home about the time I'd be leaving. I opted to hitch a ride with her instead of riding in it.
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Old 12-23-15, 01:50 PM   #8
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I commute year round here in Ohio, rain, snow, sleet, etc. I am committed but we do not get the rain that the PNW gets. Generally, I would say 80% of my rides are dry.
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Old 12-23-15, 01:55 PM   #9
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if it's down-pouring when i'm about to leave in the morning, i'll just grab an umbrella and walk over to the train station instead of biking.

if it's a lighter rain, i'll just ride.

if it's down-pouring when i'm about to leave work, i'll usually wait it out. most down-pour events don't last more than 15 minutes around here.
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Old 12-23-15, 01:58 PM   #10
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I'll ride in this for commutes:


but mainly because of those nice 60's and 70's. Other than commuting I'll mostly stay out of it so I can't claim to be very much committed.
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Old 12-23-15, 02:02 PM   #11
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Time for N+1! I can see the questions now - Do I need a mountain bike if the waves are only 2-3'?



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Back on topic, reasonably committed - there are plenty of times I don't want to start a ride, but I'm always glad I did after the first mile.
I'd probably hate the fourth or fifth wet commute in a row.
This is pretty much where I'm at. I'm usually glad when I talk myself into riding in the rain. Sometimes I even enjoy it. What I really don't like is getting to work with everything wet and not having it dry by the time I'm ready to go home.
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Old 12-23-15, 02:04 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aggiegrads View Post
I've ridden more than I've driven this month, but not by much.

I figure I will go through two chains (from two different "rain bikes")and two full sets of brake shoes this winter. In addition, my Showers Pass Elite 2.0 jacket has finally met its match, and I will likely have worn through two rear rims by spring (each has ~8,000 miles). Although I brake more with the front brake, the rear wheel gets much more road grime so the pads and rims wear faster.
I've been using my singlespeed a bit more this month and it has rim brakes. I should probably consider swapping in the wheels with the cheaper rims.
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Old 12-23-15, 02:09 PM   #13
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I am pretty committed but understanding the excessive amount of rain you folks in the PNW have had recently, my resolve might be called into question. It is an interesting query you have made, as my wife and I are considering moving to the PNW, so right now for me it is an academic exercise, but may become more relevant. Ride safe.
It's usually not this bad here. Even though it feels like it rains every day here through most of the fall, winter and spring it usually isn't actually every day and it's usually only part of the day. While the roads stay wet here for 90% of the winter it's not at all uncommon for it to not be raining during my commute. Except this month.
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Old 12-23-15, 02:14 PM   #14
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I generally prefer snow over 36 and rain like we've been having this month. That said I do ride in the rain but my resolve would be fading after a few straight days of it.
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Old 12-23-15, 02:22 PM   #15
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We've been having odd weather here in Minnesota. This month has included many rainy days in the 30s. I've ridden in all of them.
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Old 12-23-15, 02:30 PM   #16
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I generally prefer snow over 36 and rain like we've been having this month.
Glad to hear you say that. 36 and rain is a common winter morning here. I usually think, "At least we don't have weather like Minnesota does." Sometimes I do miss actual winter though.
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Old 12-23-15, 02:33 PM   #17
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I'll tolerate rain if it is over 45 degrees out. Otherwise, it is just cold, miserable and not worth the effort. It's going to be a soggy ride home, but it's also 59 degrees out right now.

edit: I'll also do precipitation if it is below 32 and in the form of snow. Snow won't soak you through and make you sick if you're stuck out in it too long.
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Old 12-23-15, 02:37 PM   #18
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We don't get that kind of rain around here, but for me my resolve gets tested when we have extreme cold and/or snow. Rain is tolerable, but in the cold if you're not covered up adequately it can be downright dangerous.
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Old 12-23-15, 02:47 PM   #19
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when it rains here, both hubs and i always ride anyway. our commutes are about 20-25 min on way for me 35 min one way for him (5 and 6.5 miles respectively) so they are short enough that we'll just go anyway and we have showers at work and at home and indoor bike storage at both locations. we have ridden in 10-20 F and rain.

i also ride if there are strong winds.

but if there are 30 mph winds gusting to 50, plus heavy rain (or even really slick roads), i will sit it out in the AM. however if it's the PM, i will just ride home really slowly and take the long route on all the protected lanes b/c i want to ride the next day and taking the bike on the train at rush hour isn't really an option.
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Old 12-23-15, 02:49 PM   #20
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OP, what fenders do you have? mostly b/c i need a good fender recommendation but if your fenders aren't helping keeping you dry as much as possible, this could be a source of the pain u could easily fix.
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Old 12-23-15, 02:57 PM   #21
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OP, what fenders do you have? mostly b/c i need a good fender recommendation but if your fenders aren't helping keeping you dry as much as possible, this could be a source of the pain u could easily fix.
I've got Planet Bike Cascadia fenders. They do well enough that I haven't felt motivated to replace them. My rear wheel is usually covered in grime and my feet get a good bit of road spray, but otherwise it's mostly the rain coming down that gets me.

If I were going to buy new fenders I'd probably go with SKS Longboards because they appear to have a slightly longer mud flap than the Cascadias, but it's not so much longer that I'd buy them while the one's I have are in working condition.
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Old 12-23-15, 02:58 PM   #22
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I've got Planet Bike Cascadia fenders. They do well enough that I haven't felt motivated to replace them. My rear wheel is usually covered in grime and my feet get a good bit of road spray, but otherwise it's mostly the rain coming down that gets me.

If I were going to buy new fenders I'd probably go with SKS Longboards because they appear to have a slightly longer mud flap than the Cascadias, but it's not so much longer that I'd buy them while the one's I have are in working condition.
ah i see, got it
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Old 12-23-15, 03:03 PM   #23
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I am from Vancouver. I’ve peddled through many downpours. In Toronto, when I started bike commuting, I find that rainy days are the best days to ride because there are no pedestrians in the MUPs.
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Old 12-23-15, 03:10 PM   #24
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If I were going to buy new fenders I'd probably go with SKS Longboards because they appear to have a slightly longer mud flap than the Cascadias, but it's not so much longer that I'd buy them while the one's I have are in working condition.
I've got PB cascadias on my winter bike and SKS lonboards on my regular commuter. the longboards are better because of the longer mudflap, but it's not a huge difference.

the cascadias on my winter bike work well enough and, like you, i'm not about to change them out while they're still in good and serviceable condition.
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Old 12-23-15, 03:23 PM   #25
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My choices are a bike or motorcycle, so it doesn't matter. I ride a real Dutch bike, therefore it's fully equipped for the type of weather we have in the northwest, built to withstand harsh conditions, and be free of the typical issues with the drive line and brakes in such conditions.
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