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Cycling in the rain

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Cycling in the rain

Old 10-21-10, 08:10 PM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by zeppinger View Post
So I guess you profess to know exactly what everyone, throughout recorded history, has thought about being out in the rain? I think you might be over generalizing just a tiny bit there guy.

For me personaly, I find that I don't enjoy the transition from being dry to being wet. I think that is what a lot of people don't like, though I wont claim to "know." Once I am wet then I hardly even notice that I am riding in the rain. The drying out part at work is actually kinda fun too.
Must have been all of those anthropology classes I took. Just about every studied culture created shelter to protect them from the weather. As we advanced we got better and making weather proof shelters. If most or even if a significant portion of the cultures throughout the ages found people would rather be outside when the weather was bad then we would have fewer shelters and more people living in the splendor of the open air.
Even in the south pacific they may not have full walls on many of their buildings but they all have a roof to protect them from something.

There is no old folk idiom that says” a person doesn’t have the sense to come out into the rain” is there? You all know what the idiom says don’t you?
Like I said they sell rain gear in places it rains and the sales tend to be quite brisk. I believe in rain gear and it can allow more to ride if they so wish.

I had to go out and pick up my wife from getting her hair done today. She was not about to walk the five blocks home because it was raining so I got the car out and went to get her.
Now guess how many cyclists I saw on the street while I was out?
I know what rain is like, I used to Live outside of Seattle.
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Old 10-22-10, 03:09 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
Must have been all of those anthropology classes I took. Just about every studied culture created shelter to protect them from the weather. As we advanced we got better and making weather proof shelters. If most or even if a significant portion of the cultures throughout the ages found people would rather be outside when the weather was bad then we would have fewer shelters and more people living in the splendor of the open air.
Even in the south pacific they may not have full walls on many of their buildings but they all have a roof to protect them from something.

There is no old folk idiom that says” a person doesn’t have the sense to come out into the rain” is there? You all know what the idiom says don’t you?
Like I said they sell rain gear in places it rains and the sales tend to be quite brisk. I believe in rain gear and it can allow more to ride if they so wish.

I had to go out and pick up my wife from getting her hair done today. She was not about to walk the five blocks home because it was raining so I got the car out and went to get her.
Now guess how many cyclists I saw on the street while I was out?
I know what rain is like, I used to Live outside of Seattle.
That isn't rain that is a heavy, continuous mist...

I had that argument with a certain engineer that designed a roof drainage system. He was from Seattle and of course someone from Seattle knows all about rain. Problem is Seattle only gets about 36" spread out over the course of a year. I was working in Mobile, AL were the average rainfall is 68" and you usually get a lot of it at a single time. I won the argument.

As far as riding in the rain, I use a bike with roller brakes, run my lights, slow down, avoid certain routes and wear bright colored rain gear, typically a rain cape.

Aaron
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Old 10-22-10, 08:27 AM
  #28  
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Traditional notions about being out in the rain don't really apply to cycling because a cyclist is more like a cyborg than a person. When cycling 75% of your pedaling energy goes towards body heat (over and above the heat normally generated when sitting or walking). That's about as much power as a microwave oven (on low if you're riding slow and on high if you're riding hard) and the heat is well insulated in the core of your body where it must pass through your entire body before escaping. That's enough heat to keep you and any water sticking to you warm down to freezing and to evaporate any water off your skin once indoors. So don't try to block the rain because it'll only block evaporation and cause more sweat and leaking water to accumulate than your body can heat up. Your skin is perfectly water proof by itself.

Of course, it's illegal to ride naked in most places and the loose spongy clothing most people wear also holds a lot of water. So the best thing to wear for riding in the rain is the thinnest, least spongy clothing you can find. Tight fitting polyester and wool (with as little lycra/spandex in it as possible) is best. Cotton is the worst possible thing to wear. I like to wear duofold brand ski thermals, but check the fabric content because they're not all the same (remember 95%+ polyester or wool).

Of course it takes a few min to heat yourself up, but, trust me, after a few miles you'll be comfortable and warm. Besides, the heat lag is necessary or else you'd never dry off once you arrive at your destination.

If this sort of outfit isn't appropriate for your destination then bring a change of clothes in a waterproof bag (you can use ziplock or something swanky and expensive if you want to waste money).

If you HAVE to cycle in your fashionable clothes the next best thing is a bike poncho, but make sure it's made for biking or else it won't completely cover you in the riding position, rain will get in the arm holes, and without arm/leg straps gusts of wind will blow it up.

Last edited by chucky; 10-22-10 at 08:31 AM.
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Old 10-22-10, 08:31 AM
  #29  
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Depending on where you are and how cold the rain is, wool can be very advantageous.

Here on the coast, once winter sets in (read: lots and lots of rain), wool as a base layer will keep you feeling warm, even when wet.

Another thing that I use quite a bit in winter, both here and when I was in Toronto, is a buff. It's basically a long, micro-fibre neck tube that you can fashion into many different versions of head and neck wear. Anyway, I hate getting a cold neck, and it works great for keeping your neck warm and dry in rain.
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Old 10-22-10, 08:38 AM
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P.S. Don't listen to nonsense from roadies about "base layers" and other crap like that.

Roadies overdress because they don't seem to think they're exercising unless they're a sweaty mess at the end of riding, but the nice thing about cold is it can balance out the extra body heat you're generating so you don't have to sweat while riding.

You could ride naked down to about freezing. Below that a single layer of "expedition weight" polyester or wool ski thermals along with a good pair of earmuffs and a good pair of gloves is all that's needed in most parts of the US.
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Old 10-22-10, 08:57 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by chucky View Post
P.S. Don't listen to nonsense from roadies about "base layers" and other crap like that.
I'm not sure if that comment was directed at me, but I'm not a roadie

Last night I cycled back in the light rain/drizzle (~25km) into a light headwind (20kph). I wore two light layers of merino wool over my gortex jacket with pits open. It took about an hour and a quarter. Sadly I missed the 10 pm ferry and had to wait for 45 minutes for the next one. I took off my jacket while waiting in the designated building. Except for my shoes and knickers (I opted not to put on full rain gear because it was a light drizzle), I was dry. Oh, and I was also wearing wool socks. Temperature was around 7C.
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Old 10-22-10, 03:39 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by nostalgic View Post
I have not ridden my bicycle in the rain yet. I'm taking the bus today because there is a 60% chance of rain. I'm unsure as to how to ride in the rain, so...

Would it be best to wear a raincoat and poncho? Or what?
It depends on how hard you'll be riding, how hard it will be raining, and how cold it is out.

Where the answers are closer to riding hard, light rain, and not cold don't wear cotton, just ride, and put on dry clothes + shoes when you get where you're going. If you wear rain clothes you'll be hot and very wet from your sweat; if you don't you'll be between a little cool and comfortable, just damp except for a few wet spots, and a lot more comfortable.

Where the answers tend towards an easy spin, raining hard, and too cold a cycling rain jacket (with a long back flap and zips for ventilation), cycling rain pants (tight at the ankles), helmet cover, shoe covers, and gloves are nice.

I usually ride my 12 mile morning commute at a 140-150 bpm heart rate which is about as hard as I can go without being slower in the evening or next day. It was raining lightly this morning. The temperature was 55 degrees. So I wore a short sleeve jersey and cycling shorts. I need new cycling socks though - the cotton ones were like dirty wet sponges by the time I got to my office.

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 10-22-10 at 03:55 PM.
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Old 10-22-10, 04:31 PM
  #33  
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Most people never get to know what it's like to ride a bike on a "perfect" day because they're stuck in their cars. I pity these ones! Even in michigan, which is famous for "bad" weather, we get at least 5 nice days for every crappy one. The thing is, if you have a car, you're in it for the good and the bad days--and the same with a bike--you have to take the bad with the good. That's what life is all about.

If you ride in a snow storm, you have something to brag about and something to whine about. And bragging and whining are two of the funnest things in life!
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Old 10-22-10, 04:45 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by Drew Eckhardt View Post
It depends on how hard you'll be riding, how hard it will be raining, and how cold it is out.

Where the answers are closer to riding hard, light rain, and not cold don't wear cotton, just ride, and put on dry clothes + shoes when you get where you're going. If you wear rain clothes you'll be hot and very wet from your sweat; if you don't you'll be between a little cool and comfortable, just damp except for a few wet spots, and a lot more comfortable.

Where the answers tend towards an easy spin, raining hard, and too cold a cycling rain jacket (with a long back flap and zips for ventilation), cycling rain pants (tight at the ankles), helmet cover, shoe covers, and gloves are nice.

I usually ride my 12 mile morning commute at a 140-150 bpm heart rate which is about as hard as I can go without being slower in the evening or next day. It was raining lightly this morning. The temperature was 55 degrees. So I wore a short sleeve jersey and cycling shorts. I need new cycling socks though - the cotton ones were like dirty wet sponges by the time I got to my office.
I think it's more like:
hard riding, hard rain, not too cold (which is given since rain freezes when it's too cold)
vs
easy spin, light rain, too cold

No amount of "rain wear" will keep you dry if you jump in a swimming pool. It only works for light rain and light riding, which is why I recommend going straight to the ultimate solution: clothes that don't sponge up water. Cycling specific clothes aren't very good in this regard because they have too much lycra which seems to cause wicking/sponging and they're also usually short sleeved/legged. You really need 95% hydrophobic fiber content or more and even at that it can't be too thick or the water will get trapped in the "fluff". That means 95%+ fabric content of polyester, polypro, and/or wool with long sleeves and pants and the only garments I have found like this are marketed as ski thermals (and the only ones appropriate for outer clothing are duofold...other brands have crotch flys).

If you start out warm/comfortable then first 5 miles should be comfortable, next 5 miles should be cold as your skin gets colder and your body core is still warming up, and after 10+ miles the furnace is stoked you'll be comfortable for any temperature which can support liquid rain. Then when you get back indoors your body heat will evaporate any sweat/water left on your skin and clothing within 30 min.

That's my experience at least.
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Old 10-22-10, 04:46 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by zeppinger View Post
So I guess you profess to know exactly what everyone, throughout recorded history, has thought about being out in the rain? I think you might be over generalizing just a tiny bit there guy.

For me personaly, I find that I don't enjoy the transition from being dry to being wet. I think that is what a lot of people don't like, though I wont claim to "know." Once I am wet then I hardly even notice that I am riding in the rain. The drying out part at work is actually kinda fun too.
This reminds me of my 11 year old grandson. I asked him if he was going swimming. He said, "No, it's raining a little and I don't want to get wet walking to the pool."
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Old 10-23-10, 01:02 AM
  #36  
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One of the great things about cycling is that it can work in many areas. If there are roads, it's almost always possible to get around by bike. Smooth pavement and flat areas? Sure. No problem. Hills? We've got bikes that do well on the climbs. Rough pavement, gravel or dirt roads? There are tires designed for those conditions and bikes designed for tough surfaces. Rain? Easy enough with the proper clothing, lights and possibly fenders. Cold weather? There is clothing to keep a rider warm well below freezing. Snow? There are bikes designed for snowy conditions. Night riding? There are all sorts of lighting systems and reflective gear available.

That said, some riding conditions will be more pleasant than others. But it's also possible to have a good ride on a cold or wet day.
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Old 10-23-10, 10:29 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Yep. I always dread going out for a ride when it's raining, and I'm always glad I did.
You dread it? you live in seattle i thought all you guys love the rain
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Old 10-23-10, 04:46 PM
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I have to confess that I don't much enjoy riding in the rain. I prefer a raging blizzard to even a light sprinkle. I usually try to rearrange my schedule, or use alternate transportation on rainy days.

Nevertheless, one of my most pleasant riding experiences was in a sudden rain storm. I pulled up under a bridge on the Grand River to sit out the worst of it. The river and the misty green banks were beautiful viewed from the darkness under the bridge. The sound of the water and the smell of rain were indescribably lovely. It seemed like the whole world had turned to silver and green liquid.

A different sort of poeasure was trying to ride out a bad storm that was blowing in from the west. I have never ridden faster in my life, and with that strong tail wind I've never felt stronger on the bike. There were only a few raindrops falling but each "drop" was huge, and seemed to hold a half cup of water. I thought I could smell dust in the rain, maybe from the western desserts and plains. I made it home just as the clouds burst forth. I had to leave my bike lying on the ground to keep from getting too wet.

My point is that sometimes the best things happen in the worst times. You never get to experience these things unless you are open for adventure, and outdoors a lot of the time. And for me, being carfree is one way to keep myself out for adventure and out-of-doors, even when I think I might not like it.
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Old 10-23-10, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
That isn't rain that is a heavy, continuous mist...

I had that argument with a certain engineer that designed a roof drainage system. He was from Seattle and of course someone from Seattle knows all about rain. Problem is Seattle only gets about 36" spread out over the course of a year. I was working in Mobile, AL were the average rainfall is 68" and you usually get a lot of it at a single time. I won the argument.

As far as riding in the rain, I use a bike with roller brakes, run my lights, slow down, avoid certain routes and wear bright colored rain gear, typically a rain cape.

Aaron


Yes but if you take in the number of average rainy days, 150 or so, the number of cloudy days, 200+ and partly cloudy days 90+ they still have a firm grasp of rain. I used to ride a motorcycle from Seattle to Bellevue and I can remember getting home and my whole body was like your hands get when they have spent too much time in the water.

Last time I visited Alabama it was in the early summer when it was just about a humid as rain with no clouds in the sky, nothing like the west coast or the North West. I am planning on getting rain gear this year but I am not sure about fenders for my MTB. I guess I could get some snap-on fenders for my back up road bike? But I don’t start out in the rain I get caught in it and have to make my way home.
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Old 10-23-10, 10:58 PM
  #40  
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Riding in the rain is partly a mind game: you have to let yourself get chilly and wet when common sense says get out of the rain. I wear a rain jacket (inexpensive lined one from Lands End) and wool socks with my skateboard shoes. I ride everyday regardless of the rain or wind because once you've ridden in bad weather a few times, you don't mind it as much. On warm rainy days I wear my windproof jacket because over 5 Celsius the rain jacket makes me sweat way too much. I change into dry clothes once I get to work or go home.
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Old 10-23-10, 11:09 PM
  #41  
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Where I live rain gear is unnecessary because you don't get cold even when soaking wet. I find a helmet visor is useful in the rain because it helps keep water out of your eyes (or goggles).
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Old 10-24-10, 04:33 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
Yes but if you take in the number of average rainy days, 150 or so, the number of cloudy days, 200+ and partly cloudy days 90+ they still have a firm grasp of rain. I used to ride a motorcycle from Seattle to Bellevue and I can remember getting home and my whole body was like your hands get when they have spent too much time in the water.

Last time I visited Alabama it was in the early summer when it was just about a humid as rain with no clouds in the sky, nothing like the west coast or the North West. I am planning on getting rain gear this year but I am not sure about fenders for my MTB. I guess I could get some snap-on fenders for my back up road bike? But I don’t start out in the rain I get caught in it and have to make my way home.
Mobile averages rain on 120 days out of the year...the difference is once the storms pass the sun comes out

I like humidity, I spent a week in Phoenix a few years back and was uncomfortable. Denver I did a bit better with, Charleston, SC or Savannah, GA work great for me.

Aaron
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Old 10-24-10, 06:07 AM
  #43  
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full on rain gear head to toe such as:
cheap motel style clear shower cap for helmet
bike specific rain reflective jacket
2 pair gloves 1 for the ride in and either dry them or wear another pair for the ride home
rain pants for hiking or biking with reflective tape
rubber over boots like totes for the shoes
ankle straps with the pants over the boot tops
use waterproof strobes and fenders
then go kick some serious year round biking butt!
once the black ice shows up get some studded tires but by then they may be hard to find, get the studds early
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Old 10-24-10, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
Must have been all of those anthropology classes I took. Just about every studied culture created shelter to protect them from the weather. As we advanced we got better and making weather proof shelters. If most or even if a significant portion of the cultures throughout the ages found people would rather be outside when the weather was bad then we would have fewer shelters and more people living in the splendor of the open air.
Even in the south pacific they may not have full walls on many of their buildings but they all have a roof to protect them from something.

There is no old folk idiom that says” a person doesn’t have the sense to come out into the rain” is there? You all know what the idiom says don’t you?
Like I said they sell rain gear in places it rains and the sales tend to be quite brisk. I believe in rain gear and it can allow more to ride if they so wish.

I had to go out and pick up my wife from getting her hair done today. She was not about to walk the five blocks home because it was raining so I got the car out and went to get her.
Now guess how many cyclists I saw on the street while I was out?
I know what rain is like, I used to Live outside of Seattle.
Equating cycling in the rain with the desire to live, eat, and sleep in the rain is silly. Yes, every culture builds protection from the elements but that doesn't mean they were afraid to get wet during the day when they needed to be outside for one reason or another. Thats great that you bring up an old "idiom" but that's is from your own culture and not every culture. I know what rain is like too. I lived in Puyallup near Tacoma. Again, its just not as big a deal as everyone makes it out to be. I think just about every culture is afraid of spiders too but for the vast majority of spiders that fear is completely unfounded such as is the case for one of the most feared spiders of them all, the tarantula. Even if you were to convince me that every culture views getting wet in the rain to be undesirable, which it obviously is not since there seems to be a "sub culture" here on this forum who love it, then it would still take a lot of convincing to get me to believe that there is any logical reason behind this apprehension. Certainly no just cause for owning a resource draining, two ton automobile.

Last edited by zeppinger; 10-24-10 at 07:27 PM.
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Old 10-24-10, 09:34 PM
  #45  
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Poncho, they look cheesy and stuff but they work!
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Old 10-24-10, 09:40 PM
  #46  
bragi
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I don't think rain is any reason to avoid riding. About a year ago I bought a car, and for a while I drove it when it was raining hard (yes, it can rain heavily in Seattle). Every time I did, I regretted not riding. Now I ride no matter what the conditions, and I'm much, much happier. I sometimes think Americans have had it so easy for so long that we've become total wusses. A little bit of moisture, or any other minor discomfort, is no reason to change your plans.

That said, I'm a big fan of rain gear. I don't always use it, especially not on long, hard rides in fairly warm weather, but if you're going to meet friends at a movie theater or a pub, it's a bit awkward to show up dripping wet. It's much easier to wear rain gear, ride a little more slowly, and take off the rain gear wearing dry, socially acceptable clothing. (which in Seattle pretty much means shorts and a nice wool sweater...)
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Old 11-04-10, 05:19 PM
  #47  
billew
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Most people never get to know what it's like to ride a bike on a "perfect" day because they're stuck in their cars. I pity these ones! Even in michigan, which is famous for "bad" weather, we get at least 5 nice days for every crappy one. The thing is, if you have a car, you're in it for the good and the bad days--and the same with a bike--you have to take the bad with the good. That's what life is all about.

If you ride in a snow storm, you have something to brag about and something to whine about. And bragging and whining are two of the funnest things in life!
The facts of life Roody? I ride in whatever conditions there are, today was rain and it wasn't really cold to me.
Now I love riding in snow storms except when the snow gets deep and the sand/salt mix and it get's too squishy.
Ice doesn't make me scared enough to blow money on studded tires. But I do have a lifetime of winter riding experience. I've put the bread bags over my shoes in heavy rain or wear over shoes.
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Old 11-09-10, 09:18 AM
  #48  
Porteño
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But what about those of us riding to work, or who have to go to work meetings (or in my case - I am a journalist- do interviews)? It is one thing to ride in civilian clothes and get a bit sweaty, nothing an inconspicuous spare shirt rolled into my bag and one minute in any toilet cannot handle, but arriving in a soaking, muddy, sweaty mess in conditions nothing short of a full bath and new change of clothes will repair is just not an option on a working day... Weekend/fitness rides are a different beast, sure, but I still haven't found clothes I can ride in on a rainy day that still make me look some kind of business casual without 15 minutes in a changing room.

Plus, I don't know about where you live, but biking in a busy, bike-unfriendly city in the rain (Buenos Aires, Argentina, in my case) can get pretty unsafe: most of my close calls with cars have been on rainy days, when they ride more dangerously, the traffic is heavier and my handling/braking on the bike is affected by more slippery streets, puddles and the like. I do most of my riding in busy/downtown areas without bike lanes, which only makes matters worse.

I don't own a car and hate buses/subways, but in those days I suck it up and ride public transport...
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Old 11-09-10, 11:04 AM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by Porteño View Post
But what about those of us riding to work, or who have to go to work meetings (or in my case - I am a journalist- do interviews)? It is one thing to ride in civilian clothes and get a bit sweaty, nothing an inconspicuous spare shirt rolled into my bag and one minute in any toilet cannot handle, but arriving in a soaking, muddy, sweaty mess in conditions nothing short of a full bath and new change of clothes will repair is just not an option on a working day... Weekend/fitness rides are a different beast, sure, but I still haven't found clothes I can ride in on a rainy day that still make me look some kind of business casual without 15 minutes in a changing room.
Cool + rainy is much easier to deal with than warm + rainy. When its warm its pretty much impossible to stay dry - you either end up wet from the rain or sweat from the rain gear. With fenders though you should not end up muddy.
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Old 11-16-10, 01:00 AM
  #50  
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I always pack a pair of safety glasses and that makes me much more comfortable, I avoid squinting. I wear them on walks in the rain, too. I get $7 ones from Lowes or what...clear or yellow, yellow works well at night: cuts headlight brightness. In the pnw, I can't stop for the weather, and if I do have to fire up my van, in winter I typically have to get the windows unfogged and by that time I'd already be on my way home were I on the bike. Being used to going about in the rain makes me so much more comfortable when camping, too. I've continued to develop tolerance for the weather and enjoy the seasons instead of being averse to them. Sometimes I pack my camera under my jacket and hope for a good cloudscape, or some fascinating flotsam along my path.
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