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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 10-05-07, 07:34 AM   #1
one_beatnik
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How about when it rains?

I have a hard time (impossible time...) getting motivated to ride in the rain to work. My commute is about 12 miles, rural, on a US hiway. There is a decent shoulder, but here in western Iowa, folks don't get the whole idea of biking at all. It just frightens me to even think about it in the rain with the lower visibility.
Also what rain gear do you use, if any?
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Old 10-05-07, 07:41 AM   #2
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Tough question !

You need REALLY GOOD fenders WITH mudflaps - SPECIALLY on the front wheel.

There are tons of choices for rain gear, you should look at outdoor stores that sell fishing gear, they sell rain-gear there but it may not be perfect, but still useable.


Good luck !
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Old 10-05-07, 07:43 AM   #3
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-Mountain Hardwear shell over whatever temperature-appropriate top I would usually wear: Amazing thing, this thing.
-Performance Illuminite Helmet Cover: Works fine, but if I were doing it over again I'd get a GoreTex one.
-Usually nothing to cover the legs (I do have the Performance brand rain pants, but they don't breathe AT ALL and wind up raining more inside than out).

Ari
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Old 10-05-07, 07:55 AM   #4
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Gear depends on temperature. If it's warm enough, I have no change over my normal outfit, once it starts to get colder (low 50s and colder) then I'll start to wear some water proof stuff so I'm wet from sweat instead of rain water.

You don't need fenders if you don't mind the spray from your tires hitting you. I have a shower at work, so I could care less, most other people seem to disagree with me though.
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Old 10-05-07, 07:58 AM   #5
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.......

You don't need fenders if you don't mind the spray from your tires hitting you. I have a shower at work, so I could care less, most other people seem to disagree with me though.
The main problem is keeping my feet dry.
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Old 10-05-07, 08:01 AM   #6
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Fenders and a good blinkie. Planet Bike Superflash. And a reflective vest.
I have an almost identical ride; 11 miles, almost all rural. No shoulder for most of it. I do have a xenon strobe on the back, though I generally have that off in the summertime and just use the PB SF.
Not a problem really. At least, with the drivers around here. It's your job to make sure they see you. Use a mirror, if they are too close to you, do what you must to get their attention. Riding on the shoulder is fine, but if they're hugging the fog line, push them left. YMMV.
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Old 10-05-07, 08:02 AM   #7
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The main problem is keeping my feet dry.
Depends on the weather really. If it's over about 55*F, who cares if your feet are dry? At least, for a 12 mile ride where you can put on dry socks and shoes at the end. If I were touring and had to keep the same shoes on all day, I'd worry about it because your feet could get blistered and nasty.
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Old 10-05-07, 08:02 AM   #8
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The main problem is keeping my feet dry.
Easy: wear cycling sandals! Bring your shoes and socks in a water-tight bag. If it's too cold for that, then waterproof overshoes will work.
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Old 10-05-07, 08:23 AM   #9
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You don't need fenders if you don't mind the spray from your tires hitting you. I have a shower at work, so I could care less, most other people seem to disagree with me though.
So you dont find getting sprayed oily water in the face and getting your clothes dirty annoying? What is so tough about putting some fenders on?
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Old 10-05-07, 08:33 AM   #10
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So you dont find getting sprayed oily water in the face and getting your clothes dirty annoying? What is so tough about putting some fenders on?
when oily water gets on your skin, it absorbs into your bloodstream.

Not good to have all that old carcinogenic oily residue in your blood eh ?
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Old 10-05-07, 08:35 AM   #11
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when oily water gets on your skin, it absorbs into your bloodstream.

Not good to have all that old carcinogenic oily residue in your blood eh ?
The exposure level is so low I can't imagine it would be a problem. You probably get more oil on your hands opening the hood and checking the oil via the dipstick.
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Old 10-05-07, 09:09 AM   #12
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It's not so much oily as gritty. I'm selling my regular commuter, so I have been riding my road bike. It's a good opportunity to see the advantages of fenders. The best part about fenders is that they keep your bike clean. Second best, is that they help keep your clothes clean.

One thing is - I don't ever wear a helmet cover. A little rain in the vents doesn't bother me, because the rain can't run into my eyes. Am I alone here?
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Old 10-05-07, 09:22 AM   #13
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Like everyone said, fenders, mudflaps, and some good blinkie lights. While you're at it, consider a helmet that will accept a rain cover and has a place to attach a blinkie light on the back. I use a Bell Metro helmet with the Bell rain cover, and I have a Planet Bike Superflash blinkie permanently attached to the back of the helmet. I also have a Cateye TL-1000 bolted to the rack of my bike. Bot of these lights will show up nicely on an overcast day.
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Old 10-05-07, 10:01 AM   #14
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I too am confused by this abundant concern over keeping dry. When it is cool (below 50 F) I can see it but in the summer, when I get to work, I am wet, whether its raining or not. That being said I am a big proponent of fenders.
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Old 10-05-07, 10:19 AM   #15
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One thing is - I don't ever wear a helmet cover. A little rain in the vents doesn't bother me, because the rain can't run into my eyes. Am I alone here?
Helmet cover seems like one more humidity trap to me. I should get back to sandals, but I am really happy w/ my mesh shimano mtb shoes, they drain fine. That plus wool socks...

Cascadia fenders, they are so very amazing to me. Best mudflap ever, it curves forward under the tire. These fenders have just made my week.
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Old 10-05-07, 10:33 AM   #16
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Get fenders and raingear. It takes no motivation to ride in the rain. Just roll out the bike, swing your leg over and ride off unmotivated.

The only time to really question it is during thunderstorms.
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Old 10-05-07, 10:43 AM   #17
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The worst part about the rain isn't the rain. I can always deal with that. Fenders and raingear take care of any issues.

My commute, like the OP's, is partway on the shoulder of a state highway. Fast cars plus wet nasty roads equals lots of spray from those cars. It's terrible.

That, and the roads in this god-forsaken place don't drain, they simply flood. Ever been splashed by an SUV hauling it through a foot and a half of water? Or felt like your wheels were about to get swept from under you?

Where I used to live I was proud of my all weather ability. Here I've given up. (I hate this place.)
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Old 10-05-07, 10:51 AM   #18
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I too am confused by this abundant concern over keeping dry. When it is cool (below 50 F) I can see it but in the summer, when I get to work, I am wet, whether its raining or not. That being said I am a big proponent of fenders.
Agreed. If warm enough, resign yourself to getting wet (Sometimes I even look forward to it!), and bring a dry change of clothes in a double plastic bag, if you don't already keep some at work. Keep a towel at work too, even if you don't have a shower. Shoes can be a problem, especially if it rains for more than one day in a row. But I have plain platform pedals so at least I have more choice of footwear. I usually wear boots when it rains, so I don't get my regular riding sneakers wet.

Also +1 on the fenders. Keep them on even when it's not raining, in case it comes up suddenly.

Wearing rain gear in warm weather will just get you sweaty - you're still wet, and now you're smelly too!
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Old 10-05-07, 10:54 AM   #19
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Planet Bike fenders with the flaps, Goretex jacket, Goretex pants, either Goretex socks if cold and/or rain booties, helmet rain cover, Goretex or neoprene gloves , and lots of lights. If it's warm I might drop some of the stuff. The helmet cover is particularly nice to have. If it's really warm that's all I use.

All the Goretex was a bit pricey but I'm pretty comfy riding in the rain, and I use the Jacket and Pants during the winter.

Night is still a problem, rain on the glasses really picks up the oncoming lights. I have to stop and wait for traffic to clear at times just to see road.
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Old 10-05-07, 11:05 AM   #20
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As has been said get some good fenders. SKS and Planet bike are great. On the rear I'd go with two blinkies. A Planet Bike Superflash on the bike and a second up higher. Maybe on your bag/pack or helmet. I'd also have one white light up front. A 5w+ LED are great. I'm a fan of Dinotte.

As for staying dry...and jacket made from eVent fabric. So much better than Gore Tex. SHowers Pass makes a great jacket.

This all adds up quickly. The way i started was to buy the things of which I had no substitue and made due with other gear i had. As I learned of things wore out I upgraded.

As for motivation..just suck it up one day and give it a try. Maybe on a day off so you can turn around if it just doesn't work for you. I think you'll find that after the first 5 minutes you won't mind the rain and may very well enjoy it.

Couple notes: road paint is slippery when wet and so it metal. Avoid!
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Old 10-05-07, 11:10 AM   #21
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IMO, proper raingear (jacket/pants) is more important than fenders. I also don't get the "just get wet" mentality. Maybe that's because it doesn't rain much in the summer here, but it rains all winter long.

I like my winter shoes a lot, but they are expensive. I use Scirocco gloves from Performance, and my hands don't get too cold.

I have an eVent jacket, and it's pretty good, and Performance Naniamo rain pants - not so good, but they are cheap.
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Old 10-05-07, 01:49 PM   #22
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Just wanted to second the warnings about paint and metal, can and will send you flying when you least expect it.
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Old 10-05-07, 02:22 PM   #23
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IMO, proper raingear (jacket/pants) is more important than fenders. I also don't get the "just get wet" mentality. Maybe that's because it doesn't rain much in the summer here, but it rains all winter long.
Yes, summer rain is different than winter rain. Trying to ride in summer with raingear on will get you wetter than riding in the rain. And rain is generally nicer than sweat. So that's my angle. I get wet in summer and put on gear in winter.
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Old 10-05-07, 03:31 PM   #24
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Hi viz jacket with reflective stripes, really bright rear taillight, booties to help reduce the wetness/cold somewhat. In storms at night, visibility in the front is also terrible, so don't cheap out on your headlight.

Just stick it out. You'll get used to it.
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Old 10-05-07, 04:48 PM   #25
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If it is just raining (not windy and stormy) then my motivation is knowing that traffic will be extra awful if I drive to work. The car vs bike commute time is about even for me on sunny days . . . when it rains the bike always wins.
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