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Commute in rain?

Old 12-08-21, 03:25 PM
  #26  
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I will typically drive to work on the first big rainy day of the season. 1) All the oil that dripped from the cars into the asphalt rises to the surface and makes the road super slippery, particularly at intersections. And 2) Sacramento drivers absolutely lose their minds and forget everything they ever knew about driving in the rain, even though it was less than a year ago.
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Old 12-08-21, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
...Of course, when it's 33ºF and raining and blowing hard, that's about the worst condition to ride in, possibly worse than snow.
Definitely. Once when living in Chicago I rode my regular 7 mile commute in -14 F. Full face balaclava, ski goggles, Marmot goosedown mittens, Powergrip straps w/platforms, silk base layer, gumboots, wool socks, windproof Gortex hoodie, Craft CC ski tights, and, ahem windblocker cycling shorts. Would ride in that weather every day than ride in what you describe once per year. Cold or rain is fine. Cold plus rain is the worst. lol
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Old 12-11-21, 02:14 PM
  #28  
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Riding in the rain totally sucks. You never stay completely dry even if you wear waterproofs and then you've got wet gear that you've got to put somewhere. If it's cold and the rain finally finds a way in you're faced with being wet and cold which is pretty miserable.

But, I still do it cause part of me still smiles through it all and it's quite rare where I live that it rains really hard when I need to commute and it doesn't do it all week usually.
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Old 12-14-21, 04:46 PM
  #29  
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Well I did it on Wednesday, and as I did it, I thought of this thread. It was 37ºF and raining. I didn't even expect rain; it was a surprise. The sun had set. I was underdressed.

Well, it went far better than I would expect. My hands got cold, and near the very end of the ride, they hurt. But that's all that got truly cold.

I've been working on improving my tolerance for low temperatures. I think it's working. In previous winters, one of my biggest challenge was keeping my feet warm. They got painfully cold. Well, unrelated to cycling, at the end of the summer, I decided to find the lowest temperature at which I can tolerate wearing sandals. I'm wearing them with thin wool socks, and I know it looks dorky, but it's comfortable, and most other shoes don't fit comfortably. Well, guess what, I was wearing my sandals and dorky socks on my rainy ride on Wednesday, and somehow my feet did not get cold. I can't figure it out. Maybe it's because my toes are freer to move around? Well, I'll keep going at 37º and lower and see how it goes.

The problem with rain at night is that it's hard for me to see and even hard for motor drivers to see. I was about to take my street route home, and then I realized I could take the park path home instead where there are no motor vehicles. That route is a bit longer, and it's much more exposed to wind, but in cold rain with low visibility, it seems like the best bet. And I survived, so there I go.
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Old 12-14-21, 08:53 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
...I was wearing my sandals and dorky socks on my rainy ride on Wednesday, and somehow my feet did not get cold. I can't figure it out. Maybe it's because my toes are freer to move around?
THIS ^^
The feet are a "terminal circulation" area. Blood doesn't just pass through on its way to another body part; it does a turn-around in the feet. If the blood flow is relatively unrestricted, warmth is maintained.
In really cold weather, stuffing your shoes with multiple layers of socks is counterproductive because of the restriction on blood flow. Thick, or multi-layered socks are fine, but only if the shoes are large enough to accommodate them.
Same thinking applies to the hands.
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Old 12-15-21, 01:06 PM
  #31  
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@sweeks, right, I figured that. And thanks. The hands and feet have a higher surface area to mass (or surface area to volume) ratio making them better dissipators of heat. Eventually, they will need more bundling than the rest of the body. It will be interesting to learn how low I can go like this. Being comfortable at 37º in the rain was a pleasant surprise.
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Old 12-15-21, 04:55 PM
  #32  
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I found that same experience having worn thicker socks but having colder feet. During the cold weather rain I have gotten used to wearing overshoes/gaiters instead of thicker socks, and found that my feet were much warmer, in part as you mention that the feet were not constricted, and the overshoes provided an extra layer of insulation around the shoe.
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Old 12-15-21, 07:47 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
@sweeksBeing comfortable at 37º in the rain was a pleasant surprise.
At those temperatures, near freezing, your clothes have to keep you dry as well as warm. A few degrees lower, and the rain turns to snow (or maybe sleet/hail), and you just need to be warm.
I find it satisfying to commute in any weather... though coming home tonight against high winds was less enjoyable!
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Old 12-15-21, 07:50 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by sweeks View Post
At those temperatures, near freezing, your clothes have to keep you dry as well as warm. A few degrees lower, and the rain turns to snow (or maybe sleet/hail), and you just need to be warm.
I find it satisfying to commute in any weather... though coming home tonight against high winds was less enjoyable!
I'm already more cold- and wet-tolerant than most New Yorkers. But not nearly as good as Minnesotans. I get cold after others do, but I do get cold.

Wool clothing helps a lot. I have a rule for myself, never to wear cotton socks. I have a theory that sweaty feet in cotton socks breed fungus, and I don't want to get that again. Wool is comfy anyway, and when it's 15% nylon, it's also durable and economical.
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Old 12-15-21, 07:50 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by badrad View Post
I found that same experience having worn thicker socks but having colder feet. During the cold weather rain I have gotten used to wearing overshoes/gaiters instead of thicker socks, and found that my feet were much warmer, in part as you mention that the feet were not constricted, and the overshoes provided an extra layer of insulation around the shoe.
My experience is the same. I have loose(ish) shoe covers which I wear in the rain. When the temps drop below zero Fahrenheit, I wear them over my normal shoes and socks.
Keeping the core warm also helps the extremities by providing plenty of warm blood to the "radiators".
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Old 12-15-21, 08:51 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Wool clothing helps a lot. I have a rule for myself, never to wear cotton socks.
Wool is good. I've also had good luck with Polar Fleece, which is somewhat lighter. A Polar Fleece long-sleeve shirt with a vest of the same material under a shell is good down to minus 20F. Below 10F, I wear a pair of Polar Fleece pants over my work slacks, and a pair of nylon shell pants over both. With proper gloves and a balaclava I don't feel the cold. If I get too warm, I just open the zipper(s) on the things on top. My favorite socks are thick ones of a wool blend from REI.
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Old 12-15-21, 10:51 PM
  #37  
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For some reason, my body seems to make a lot of heat. Polar fleece is no good for me. When I exercise a bit, I overheat.
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Old 12-16-21, 08:33 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
I'm already more cold- and wet-tolerant than most New Yorkers. But not nearly as good as Minnesotans. I get cold after others do, but I do get cold.
Wool clothing helps a lot. I have a rule for myself, never to wear cotton socks. I have a theory that sweaty feet in cotton socks breed fungus, and I don't want to get that again. Wool is comfy anyway, and when it's 15% nylon, it's also durable and economical.
My body definitely doesn't like the cold weather. When I would do cold commutes by motorcycle, I would often hold my non-throttle hand down by the engine to keep it warm, and then do my throttle hand when stopped at lights.

On a bike, I have to pull my hands off the bars and shake them to keep the warm blood flowing. Feet aren't as bad, but I find that cold wind really bothers my ears. Anything under 40 degrees and they start to ache within minutes, so I usually wear ear plugs (just a hat isn't enough).

Anyway, all of that is just motivation to ride harder and faster, in order to warm up.
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Old 12-16-21, 08:54 PM
  #39  
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I believe that tolerance to this stuff is possible to build in most people. You have to be willing. I’m living in the country in the woods currently, so I step outside naked for a few seconds every morning. Some people turn the shower to cold in the last few seconds.

And when cycling, if I get cold, I make a note of which body part is cold, and next time I ride in those conditions, I cover that body part up. My ears don’t bother me, but my jaw really does. I can use a gaiter/buff to wrap my jaw up, and I’m happy.
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Old 12-18-21, 09:22 AM
  #40  
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Old 01-08-22, 01:20 AM
  #41  
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Only with an aluminum bike frame for me, had a bike frame rust from riding it for only a few weeks. I use to wipe it down and the water still managed to get inside the tubes.
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Old 02-13-22, 11:20 AM
  #42  
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I commuted in the winter when I lived in Minneapolis MN. Studded tires.

Now (or at least before the pandemic), I commute in the rain or snow because a) anything is easier than Minneapolis in the winter and b) that's just the only way for me to get to work.

It's not unusual where I live.
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Old 02-15-22, 01:58 AM
  #43  
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Riding in the rain is fun, for sure. Wouldn't want to do it everyday, though.
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Old 02-15-22, 02:37 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by tFUnK View Post
Riding in the rain is fun, for sure. Wouldn't want to do it everyday, though.
It is. Everything sounds different, the bike feels different. I think riding in the rain is part of the whole experience of cycling, just like riding on a nice, warm, sunny day.

And within limits, I do think it is possible to stay dry. In Germany, it is not uncommon to see commuters covered head to toe in Gore-Tex or whatever the currently fashionable wp/b fabric is, riding straight through puddles on their bikes equipped with full fenders and Ortliebs.
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Old 05-03-22, 06:10 AM
  #45  
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Highly depends on temperature! I hop on the bus when it's cold with rain; otherwise, fine with a helmet with a bit of a lip over my eyes and a shirt and shorts that wick the moisture away.
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