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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 06-03-14, 03:18 PM   #51
wilfried
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Originally Posted by zacster View Post
Indeed. Tonight in fact, as torrential rain is minutes away, just as I'm about to leave work. It takes a lot to make me take the train.

What are opinions on Gore and the like? I suspect the consensus will be that it's overpriced. There was a Gore shell on Amazon at a pretty good discount, so I thought I'd give it a try. If it breathes, it's hard to tell, and mine gets damp on the inside; I'm not sure whether it's from condensation or leakage. Still, it's not bad in cool weather, for wet and wind, but I'm glad I didn't pay full price for it.
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Old 06-03-14, 03:30 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by mgw4jc View Post
Has anybody ever tried one of these?

Waterwear Guide - Waterwear - Ponchos - Rain Capes

I could see me using something like this before a jacket that traps the heat.
That looks too short. I have a J&G cape which is a bit longer.

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Old 06-03-14, 04:14 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by wilfried View Post
Indeed. Tonight in fact, as torrential rain is minutes away, just as I'm about to leave work. It takes a lot to make me take the train.

What are opinions on Gore and the like? I suspect the consensus will be that it's overpriced. There was a Gore shell on Amazon at a pretty good discount, so I thought I'd give it a try. If it breathes, it's hard to tell, and mine gets damp on the inside; I'm not sure whether it's from condensation or leakage. Still, it's not bad in cool weather, for wet and wind, but I'm glad I didn't pay full price for it.
I'm sitting in my office looking west out the window at the rain, just waiting it out. It isn't as torrential as the radar would suggest.
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Old 06-03-14, 04:37 PM   #54
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Indeed. Tonight in fact, as torrential rain is minutes away, just as I'm about to leave work. It takes a lot to make me take the train.
Just got home, and with my perfect timing caught the worst of it. It was a nice warm soaking rain. Other than a minor case of dishpan body, it wasn't bad at all.
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Old 06-03-14, 05:38 PM   #55
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you're on a bike, you're not in an enclosed, sealed space so you're going to get wet.
Nope. I've managed to stay quite dry many times with my umbrella.
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Old 06-03-14, 06:51 PM   #56
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I ride to work year round in Portland, so that means riding in rain during the winter, during the spring, during the fall, and during 9/10ths of the summer. That's a slight exaggeration but only slight. Anyway, I wear

- Old Burley rain jacket (Showers Pass is the current equivalent). The key is the jacket must have a big back vent and huge armpit zippers. When fully open, the pit zip openings are some two feet long. That's a lot of airflow, and little to no rain comes in. Someday I will have a seamstress install a zippered vent in the forearms too, for even more airflow. With all zippered vents open, I find I can ride fairly hard, like at 7/10ths, and still not "boil in the bag".
- Light rain pants that you can pull over your trousers and shoes. Keep them rolled up in your bag, and if it starts to rain, it only takes a couple minutes to pull over and don the pants. Unfortunately, no rain pants come with zippered vents. They really should.
- Cap under the helmet. Because all those helmet vents let in plenty of rain.
- Neoprene booties that velcro over your shoes. Also carried in the bag and deployed as needed.
- Neoprene gloves, not really for rain but for cold.
- Fenders. Very important!

This works great for light rain, heavy rain, cold rain, warm rain. No matter how hard the rain, I get to work or home either completely dry or slightly damp, depending on how hard I've been riding.

It is never very hot + very humid + raining in Portland. I can't imagine what would work under those conditions short of a cycling cape. Which seems like a pretty cool alternative to my head-to-toe-rain-gear technique, if you ride upright at a moderate pace.
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Old 06-03-14, 08:14 PM   #57
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I decided ultimately not to wait for it to stop and while I initially got wet, it slowed enough that I didn't get completely soaked. In fact, when I was riding uphill on the Manhattan Bridge I was getting soaked from sweat. It was a little on the muggy side.

It was a good excuse to thoroughly hose the bike down when I got home in any case.
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Old 06-04-14, 04:22 AM   #58
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I'm firmly in the "rain cools me off" camp. I only wear rain jacket if i plan to be inside somewhere with AC or need to be somewhat presentable upon arrival. Usually if it's cold out i will all ready have some kinda jacket on & sure that'll get wet, but it usually makes no real difference as i'm generating so much heat from pedaling.

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Old 06-04-14, 04:37 PM   #59
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Originally Posted by lost_in_endicot View Post
I'm going to start riding my bike to work, and I was curious what you guys do for rain protection? This is the time of year when we start getting storms in the afternoon, about the time I'll be leaving for work. I've got fenders on the bike I'll be using, and a waterproof cover that will fit over my bike rack. I just wonder what you guys do to cover yourselves.
Looking at the posts that have locations, all of you are on coasts or at low altitudes. I'll provide a perspective from higher up. I've ridden in most of the rest of the country and I can attest to the difference. I have a rain jacket and pants at work (I actually have 3 rain suits at work which I loan out). At 5000 feet, there is no such thing as a "warm" rain. When it rains here the temperature drop can be on the order of 20F to 40F. Even after storms, the temperature can take a while to recover. A comfortable ride goes to hypothermic ride in a hurry so it is prudent to have proper foul weather gear.

Of course, our weather is a bit funky. We winter ended for us just over 3 weeks ago. I've had 2 days since last September that I've been able to ride to work in shorts and that was last week.
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Old 06-04-14, 05:06 PM   #60
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
Just got home, and with my perfect timing caught the worst of it. It was a nice warm soaking rain. Other than a minor case of dishpan body, it wasn't bad at all.
If I had just gone home, I probably would have just braved the rain. But I was going to a friend's house, and I thought it best not to show up looking like a drowned rat. The rain had just about passed when I got out of the subway.
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Old 06-04-14, 05:18 PM   #61
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Originally Posted by lost_in_endicot View Post
Thanks, everyone, for all of the info! Maybe I'm just over thinking this and don't really need anything for warm days, but I can't help thinking that I'll want to try a light waterproof jacket.
The issue with most rain gear is that you'll get just as wet and clammy inside of it (i.e., sweat from riding) as you would have been from the rain without it. If you're riding in cold downpours where hypothermia is a real danger then rain gear has some advantages... Otherwise... just ride.

I have ridden many, many miles over the years without rain gear, trash bags or anything. Just get wet.

If you're commuting in high-traffic areas, then lights or something for higher visibility is advised as motorists expect you even less when it's raining.
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Old 06-04-14, 05:55 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Looking at the posts that have locations, all of you are on coasts or at low altitudes. I'll provide a perspective from higher up. I've ridden in most of the rest of the country and I can attest to the difference. I have a rain jacket and pants at work (I actually have 3 rain suits at work which I loan out). At 5000 feet, there is no such thing as a "warm" rain. When it rains here the temperature drop can be on the order of 20F to 40F. Even after storms, the temperature can take a while to recover. A comfortable ride goes to hypothermic ride in a hurry so it is prudent to have proper foul weather gear.
You don't have to be at altitude to get cold rain, and see temperature drops of 40°, though it helps. I've gone from sweating a climb in 80°+ heat to descending in a cold mist where ice crystals would form in the hair on my legs. Likewise I've led rides where we prepared for hyperthermia, and ended up treating hypothermia.
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Old 06-04-14, 05:59 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by wilfried View Post
If I had just gone home, I probably would have just braved the rain. But I was going to a friend's house, and I thought it best not to show up looking like a drowned rat. The rain had just about passed when I got out of the subway.
I don't know how I'd handle weather if it weren't for NEXRAD. At the end of the day I pull up a radar map, animate it and plan my ride home around conditions. Over the years I've been pretty good (lucky) at spotting holes in the rain pattern and riding in them most of the way home.

It doesn't work as well for the AM commute because my time window is more constrained, and because I'm riding against the typical movement of rain patterns.
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Old 06-04-14, 08:26 PM   #64
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I don't know how I'd handle weather if it weren't for NEXRAD. At the end of the day I pull up a radar map, animate it and plan my ride home around conditions. Over the years I've been pretty good (lucky) at spotting holes in the rain pattern and riding in them most of the way home.

It doesn't work as well for the AM commute because my time window is more constrained, and because I'm riding against the typical movement of rain patterns.
Thats me to radar watcher....
i try to avoid rain

I think its different for everbody.
the drenching rains i sometimes go through
a lil more sweat aint nothing
i like the rain suit...
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Old 06-05-14, 02:49 AM   #65
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Just rained the whole way home tonight on my 12.5 mile one way commute so I am fresh on what I do. I use Frogg Toggs top jacket (with hood under my helmut) and bottom pant. For my feet I use double plastic grocerie bags on each foot with one rubber band at the ankle, and one around the bottom and top of the foot with the plastic bags tucked in under the pants. For the hands I use my normal biking gloves and double plastic groceries bags with a rubber band around each wrist.

This is a very effective, easy, inexpensive, recyclable, easily replaceable way to keep your feet and hands fairly dry. Your hands may perspire a bit but still stay fairly dry. You can also add more bags for even more protection and better wind breaking abilities when colder. Obviously you don't have quite the dexterity with your fingers but it still works pretty good. Store the rubber bands inside each set of bags and roll up and keep in your panniers (for me) or back pack.
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Old 06-05-14, 05:52 AM   #66
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
You don't have to be at altitude to get cold rain, and see temperature drops of 40°, though it helps. I've gone from sweating a climb in 80°+ heat to descending in a cold mist where ice crystals would form in the hair on my legs. Likewise I've led rides where we prepared for hyperthermia, and ended up treating hypothermia.
You do need altitude, however, to have a drastic temperature drop with every rain storm. I have never experienced a "warm" rain in Colorado. Warm before and warm after but never during.
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