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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 05-12-08, 12:54 PM   #1
ericy
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Rain, rain, go away...

Because of the distance involved, I usually only commute by bicycle once a week or so. But we have had rain for days straight. We get a letup on Tues/Wed, but Bike-To-Work day is Friday, when more rain is expected . Not just rain - a cold rain.

I may just bail on Bike-To-Work day and ride into work on Wed instead when the weather is far nicer...
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Old 05-12-08, 01:32 PM   #2
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How much is your commute ?

I am a fairly new commuter, and I used to think exactly same as you. Check weather and wait for the "perfect weather" to commute. Wasn't really happening ! I was commuting once a few weeks !

I still check weather, but only to decide what kind of gear I need to load up for the weather ! Now I am doing 3 days a week or so. My goal is 5 days a week ! Lets see how far I go :d

Also it doesn't really rain everytime when the weather report says !
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Old 05-12-08, 01:44 PM   #3
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My commute in this morning wasn't rainy... but my commute home was. But nothing like pedaling in the rain to make you feel like a real man.
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Old 05-12-08, 02:49 PM   #4
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Between March and April, we got 40 days of rain here. Sometimes you just have to embrace to rain and learn to love it.
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Old 05-12-08, 02:50 PM   #5
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How much is your commute ?

I am a fairly new commuter, and I used to think exactly same as you. Check weather and wait for the "perfect weather" to commute. Wasn't really happening ! I was commuting once a few weeks !

I still check weather, but only to decide what kind of gear I need to load up for the weather ! Now I am doing 3 days a week or so. My goal is 5 days a week ! Lets see how far I go :d

Also it doesn't really rain everytime when the weather report says !
About 18.5 miles each way.

I really don't have any rain gear. When I used to go hiking in the mountains I would never bother with a poncho - I would sweat underneath the thing and get soaked. It looked stupid but instead I would carry an old umbrella, and in general I was much happier. That solution just isn't going to work while cycling, but I expect that I would have the same problem with ponchos this time around.

The other problem with the rain is that it is cold - given the length of my commute, it is easy for me to get quite chilled along the way if I didn't wear any kind of rain gear. If I had just 5 miles, I wouldn't worry quite so much about it.
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Old 05-12-08, 02:56 PM   #6
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I enjoy the rain for the most part. Granted I am in Southern California where we never get any. But when it does come I just throw on appropriate clothing and shower when I get home. Honestly I find it refreshing. But I have always been a little odd.
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Old 05-12-08, 08:49 PM   #7
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Well I saw someone on the W&OD in Herndon this morning riding with an umbrella. Don't think it would have worked too well with the winds I had on the way home! Rain jacket and rain pants kept most of me nice and dry - I'd have used booties or bags to keep my feet drier if the ride was longer (like your's). Cold and wet feet for 20 minutes I can deal with, an hour plus is too long!

Wunderground.com is showing high 50s and chance of light rain for Friday morning, but you can't really predict this far in advance. A light wind shell (they come in really handy this time of year!) might be sufficient for you.
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Old 05-13-08, 07:12 AM   #8
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About 18.5 miles each way.

I really don't have any rain gear. When I used to go hiking in the mountains I would never bother with a poncho - I would sweat underneath the thing and get soaked. It looked stupid but instead I would carry an old umbrella, and in general I was much happier. That solution just isn't going to work while cycling, but I expect that I would have the same problem with ponchos this time around.

The other problem with the rain is that it is cold - given the length of my commute, it is easy for me to get quite chilled along the way if I didn't wear any kind of rain gear. If I had just 5 miles, I wouldn't worry quite so much about it.
18 miles is a pretty long distance. I guess it would need some pretty technical clothing ... I have commuted in rain and a little bit cold (around 35-40 F) 32 miles RT. I wear a wicking base layer, a wicking pant, and put rain paint and rain jacket on. Definately I am wet by sweating, but I am not uncomfortable or anything. I just reach work, shower and let the clothes dry. I do wear gloves, and high shoes so that my feet dont get wet because on such long distance, hands and feet should remain dry too ..

Also you can try breaking up your commute in smaller parts -- drive upto somewhere and then ride ... OR ride to work, take public transit home or something like that .. Whatever works for you ..

I used to be scared of rain, but now that I have ridden a few times, I seem to enjoy it ! Lets see where it all goes
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Old 05-13-08, 12:27 PM   #9
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18 miles is a pretty long distance. I guess it would need some pretty technical clothing ... I have commuted in rain and a little bit cold (around 35-40 F) 32 miles RT. I wear a wicking base layer, a wicking pant, and put rain paint and rain jacket on. Definately I am wet by sweating, but I am not uncomfortable or anything. I just reach work, shower and let the clothes dry. I do wear gloves, and high shoes so that my feet dont get wet because on such long distance, hands and feet should remain dry too ..

Also you can try breaking up your commute in smaller parts -- drive upto somewhere and then ride ... OR ride to work, take public transit home or something like that .. Whatever works for you ..

I used to be scared of rain, but now that I have ridden a few times, I seem to enjoy it ! Lets see where it all goes
The only thing that really scares me is getting hypothermia. It happened to me last fall, actually - I thought I had enough layers, but I really didn't. When I got to the office, I felt chilled the whole day. Fortunately the temperatures outdoors had warmed up by the time I had to ride home again. And years ago I got caught up in the mountains when an unexpected rain came up and I didn't have any rain gear. We rode the whole way home with the heat blasting in the car, and it took the whole trip to get warmed up.

Normally I would just ride the whole thing from home to work and back again. Hadn't considered the possibility of driving partway on rain days. If I time it right, I think I could ride up to Reston and catch a bus that would take me to the office - that would cut my riding time in half.

My dilemma is this though. Tomorrow and Thursday will be pretty nice. Not 100%, but good enough for my purposes. If it weren't for bike-to-work day on Friday, I wouldn't give it a 2nd thought, and I would ride in on Wed or Thurs.
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Old 05-13-08, 12:34 PM   #10
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Bike-to-work day is an abstraction. Any day you bike to work is bike to work day. You should ride in on Wednesday and Thursday.
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Old 05-13-08, 02:18 PM   #11
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The only thing that really scares me is getting hypothermia. It happened to me last fall, actually - I thought I had enough layers, but I really didn't. When I got to the office, I felt chilled the whole day.
Hypothermia is sneaky and nasty, all right. Have you considered wearing a wool layer to help keep warmth in even if it gets wet? You can get merino wool bike jerseys, but I've seen wool base layers (long sleeve tee, tights) at hiking stores a lot cheaper. I myself use an old lambswool sweater that belonged to my grandfather . The synthetics are getting there, but they still do not insulate as well when wet as wool does. And cooton will just plain kill you.

For hiking in the rain, I wear (from skin out, top and bottom): synthetic base layer shirt, silk long johns; wool sweater, light polarfleece pants; fleece or down vest; lightweight windproof/rain resistant shell (preferably with pit zips or vents) and pants in the same material. And two pairs of wool socks (one thin, one thick).

I find that with full on rainproof gear, I often end up just as wet from sweat, so I use the next grade down. Breathable raingear is expensive but truly worth it.
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Old 05-13-08, 06:58 PM   #12
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Riding this week in NOVA kind of stunk unless you really enjoy rain-rides. which i do. BTW if you're around Fairfax, you should stop by University Mall by GMU. there's a bike-rally of sorts going on there. or so i hear tell.


EDIT-Forgot about the riding. Try under-armor (or similar fabrics). Works great for me. just bring a change of clothes or leave one at work on thursday.

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Old 05-14-08, 02:56 AM   #13
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Hehe, been commuting since late February in Washington here and the 13th of May was the wettest I've gotten on my commute. Rain was coming down hard on my commute down the hill so my jacket and shorts were wet from that, then I just happened to line up perfect for a truck to run through a large puddle and whoosh, puddle tsunami straight at me and the bike. I laughed the rest of the way to work, but due to the nice jacket I was wearing, my under layers were only wet around my neck and shoulders.

After today though, I may consider getting some fenders if it keeps on raining here in the Seattle area. The commute home though was dry. I'm really enjoying the ride home at night...just enough traffic to keep me attentive, but still peaceful on the commute home.
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Old 05-14-08, 04:37 AM   #14
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Breathable raingear is expensive but truly worth it.
For me, it isn't. I've tried many "breathable and waterproof" jackets and pants, and none have been breathable enough for summer bike use. YMMV. If the rain is truly cold, it actually helps, as I tend to sweat less then. Currently I have a couple of water resistant (and very breathable) shells. But if it's really pouring down and I absolutely have to ride, I'll put on my most recent "breathable and waterproof" shell and ride VERY slowly.

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Old 05-14-08, 04:50 PM   #15
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today was my first ride in the rain, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I used to ride my motorcycles in the rain and loved it - seemed to heighten my awareness and kick up the adrenaline. So, I discovered that it's no big deal and will be looking for a raincoat soon and not worrying about the weather radar as much. We're commuters damit! suck it up and ride that bike mister!
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