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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 07-02-07, 11:27 AM   #1
sdime
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Who here commute in the rain?

I'd like to, but not if I get soaking wet. I've already installed full length fenders.
Cars splashing water will be the biggest issue I guess.

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Old 07-02-07, 11:32 AM   #2
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I commute in the rain since our rainy season is 8 months long. (doesn't rain all the time). But I have a shower and clothes to get cleaned up and our rain is warm.
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Old 07-02-07, 11:36 AM   #3
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You are gonna get wet if you ride in the rain. Fenders keep the road grime to the bare minimum, but the stuff falling from above will eventually find it's way in no matter how good your rain cape/jacket/pants. The best rain gear prolongs the time to saturation, but doesn't keep you 100% dry.

I've never once let rain stop me from cycling. I put on my rain gear, head out the door, and go at it. If it's a cold rain I ride harder to keep the body temp up. If it's 90 degrees out and it rains, I thank Ra for the relief from the oppressive heat. Riding comfortably in the rain for me is 100% mental in the summer, and a 50/50 split of mental and clothing in the winter.

The main thing for me, since I commute in "cycling" clothes and change at the office, is to keep my office clothes dry. As long as what I'm changing into is dry, I'm good to go.
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Old 07-02-07, 11:41 AM   #4
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Once it's over 60 I don't even bother with rain gear, I get to warm. But I also have a shower at work and bring a change of clothes so getting a bit wet/dirty isn't that big of a deal for me
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Old 07-02-07, 11:47 AM   #5
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Of course I commute in the rain. I just have a good rain jacket and I get wet. It's not bad if you stay warm. Ah, you are from Texas. I'm in Portland, Oregon and our cycling season would be all of a month and a half if we only biked when it was dry. Like most, I just shower and change when I get to work.
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Old 07-02-07, 11:48 AM   #6
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Should I install fatter tires. I'm running with 27"x1-1/4" tires from WallyMart.
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Old 07-02-07, 11:53 AM   #7
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Nah, you'll do fine, just take the corners a little slower if you normally power thru them.
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Old 07-02-07, 11:58 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdime
I'd like to, but not if I get soaking wet. I've already installed full length fenders.
Cars splashing water will be the biggest issue I guess.
You don't need fenders, just a rainsuit.

I don't have fenders. I use junk raingear for cycling from Redledge, so that my gtx stuff doesn't get thrashed. I never get wet when it rains. Granted I probably have only 20 rainy commutes a year, but even so, I never get wet. I disagree with the notion that getting wet is innevitable. It's not.

Last edited by littlewaywelt; 07-02-07 at 12:13 PM.
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Old 07-02-07, 12:06 PM   #9
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I commute most of the time in the rain. I have fenders, but they don't do the best job. You just have to realized that when you ride in the rain you will be wet. After you come to grips with that, then the ride is fine.
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Old 07-02-07, 12:09 PM   #10
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I use a cheap Lands' End rain jacket during light sprinkles and a J&G Cyclewear rain cape for real downpours. Both live in my messenger bag so I'm always ready for the rain.
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Old 07-02-07, 12:37 PM   #11
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I commute in the rain; all the way from 80F+ to freezing. My bike only has a fender in the front; I rely on the bike's rack to act as a fender to keep my back from getting sprayed.

I don't care about grime and stuff on the bike since I know I'm going to clean it anyway; I just ride my bike like I intended to when I paid for it.

For me the keys about riding in the rain are:
* lose the fear of water; you're gonna get wet
* it's all in the breathability of the layers
* if you try to stay dry by using a rainproof layer, you'll sweat like a hog
* I'd rather be wet from rain than wet from sweat
* BUT, watch out and stay warm! (especially if you're riding long and it's below 50F)
* VISIBILITY, VISIBILITY, VISIBILITY; it never hurts to be TOO visible... (bright reflective clothing, head/tail lights, etc)
* anticipate and be less agressive, especially during turns
* to keep water from getting into my eyes and hampering my visibilty I wear sky/snowboard goggles
* to keep my feet dry and warm I wear booties (if I have them with me; weather.com is your friend)
* keep your clothes and other gear dry by using water-proof bags or panniers (Novara works for me).
* my bike has disc brakes; great stopping power even in the rain (but don't jam on them or you'll skid big time)

Riding in the rain can be great fun if done properly and exercising caution.

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Old 07-02-07, 12:40 PM   #12
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Raining hard in the morning = no bike commute
Sprinkling in the morning = nice cool bike commute.
But I don't mind a ride home in the rain at all.
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Old 07-02-07, 12:42 PM   #13
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Get yourself full fenders. Don't mess around with clip-on partial fenders like Race Blades.
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Old 07-02-07, 12:45 PM   #14
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I don't have a shower at work, so if it's raining or has rained very close to when I need to leave for work, I'll usually end up driving. Also we've had near-daily thunderstorms recently here, which I really try not to ride in because of lightening, so I haven't biked to work in about a week now

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff
Ah, you are from Texas.
Well, don't necessarily assume it's dry everywhere here. There are areas in the west that are very dry. But other areas like Houston for example, which is generally very wet (on par with or more so than Portland). Up here in Dallas we have wet and dry spells. This June DFW measured over 11 inches of rain...just a couple inches shy of PDX's year-to-date total Although it's pretty abnormal for *this* much here, it's actually not even the record 1-month total for June.
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Old 07-02-07, 12:58 PM   #15
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Does the rubber on bicycle tires provide enough protect against lightning?
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Old 07-02-07, 01:11 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdime
I'd like to, but not if I get soaking wet. I've already installed full length fenders.
Cars splashing water will be the biggest issue I guess.
Rain, snow, sleet, etc. Whats so wrong with getting wet?
Those rain capes look to be very effective at keeping you mostly dry, especially if you are more relaxed in your speeds. I may consider one some day but currently I am happy with my breathable rain jacket for cold wet days. For warm days I prefer to get wet.
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Old 07-02-07, 01:17 PM   #17
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I commuted on 23c tires on a fixed gear all last rainy winter. It doesnt snow in my area...
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Old 07-02-07, 01:18 PM   #18
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If it's raining, you will get wet.
It happens one of two ways: Rain gets through your jacket/pants, or, you sweat underneath your non-breathable rainjacket/pants.

The big thing with rain is to make sure you keep your temperature regulated properly because cold rain will suck the heat out of you like nobody's business. I spent most of the winter commuting in mid 30s to low 40s rain. Make sure to keep a wicking base layer on in conditions like that. When it's warm out (55*F and up, for me) I don't bother with rain pants. Just the jacket is enough. And when it's above 65*F, I don't even suit up; I just get rained on.
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Old 07-02-07, 01:20 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdime
Does the rubber on bicycle tires provide enough protect against lightning?
Don't know. Not too sure I want to chance it, though. I've been in a car that either got hit by lightening or lightning hit a pole very close, and it felt like a bomb went off. Had I been on a bike I think at the very least I would have wiped out...not a good thing in traffic and slick roads.
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Old 07-02-07, 01:21 PM   #20
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I do errands when it rains; but commute to work. Panniers wet, shoes soaked. Not so appealing- bike clothes all muddy. Luckily, I have always lived where rainy days are not more than 30 days per year.
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Old 07-02-07, 01:33 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdime
Does the rubber on bicycle tires provide enough protect against lightning?
I've heard not, but I'm no expert.

+1 on just get wet above 65*F, and bring a change of clothes in a double plastic bag. Below that, you can use some kind of rain cape or something else breathable. I have a clear plastic jacket with netting under the sleaves, which helps it to breathe although it still lets some water in. You will sweat less in colder weather anyway.

I've only ever used clip-on fenders, and they are still much better than nothing.
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Old 07-02-07, 01:33 PM   #22
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Water doesn't hurt, I've heard. I just get wet.

Being afraid of lightning is ridiculous, IMHO. You're many times more likely to be hit by a car on a clear, sunny day than by lightning in a thunderstorm. When's the last time your house was hit by lightning? It's many times taller than you and isn't moving, so ionization trails should have a much better time forming from it than from you when moving on your bike.
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Old 07-02-07, 01:38 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdime
Does the rubber on bicycle tires provide enough protect against lightning?
No, rubber tire do not protect against lightning; with cars it is the metal cage which protects. http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/outdoors.htm#safev

Motorcyclist fatally wounded by lightning while riding in a lightning storm
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Old 07-02-07, 01:59 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdime
Does the rubber on bicycle tires provide enough protect against lightning?
Short answer: No

Longer answer: If an air gap of 1/2 mile doesn't stop ligthning, then an inch of wet tire isn't going to either.

That being said, while I do commute (and ride recreationally) in the rain sometimes, I tend to beg off when there are thunderstorms. It's not the lightning. Around here, thunderstorms often mean crappy visibility and cagers acting stupid.

Last edited by Kotts; 07-02-07 at 02:17 PM.
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Old 07-02-07, 02:15 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ItsJustMe
When's the last time your house was hit by lightning?
Apartment, but April of this year. I don't know, being afraid of something that can kill you doesn't seem to be all that irrational to me...but maybe I'm weird like that. And you're right, you are more likely to be hit in traffic, but traffic is unavoidable, and you can stack the odds better in your favor by riding safely, wearing a helmet and making yourself visible. In terms of safety, there's not much you can do about the weather...you're at it's mercy.

By the way, I don't not go riding if it's just cloudy or something, but if thunderstorms are in the forecast with a high enough percentage or if I see a massive system on the radar about to blow through...I tend to avoid unnecessary outside activities.

Don't get me wrong, I don't mind a little rain anymore than the next person, but when you have some of the weather we've been getting around here recently (including flooding and wind gusts up to 60MPH), no amount of rain gear is going to make riding on a bike any safer.
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