Cycling in the rain

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Monday, October 15, 2007
By Yokota Fritz


I'm amazed the number of bike commuters I continue to see well into autumn in my area this year. Mild weather and a delayed return to standard time certainly contribute, though I imagine continued high gasoline prices are also a factor.

Bike traffic dropped substantially last Friday when a little rain arrived. The Eugene Register-Guard published some advice on riding a bicycle in the rain. Among the tips:
To this list I also add "Keep it clean": I'm not a clean freak, but it's important to wipe the grime from your chain, gearing, brake surfaces and cables after a ride in the rain. Wet roads helps road grit get into everything on a bicycle. A quick hose down (if you can) and wipe down with a shop rag will prolong the life of moving parts on your bike.

Photo credit: "Paris-Wet-Paris" by Jim Bradbury.


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Comments:
I'm hesitant to bike+caltrain in the rain because I don't like the idea of sitting on the train in wet dripping clothes for an hour. That sounds pretty miserable.

If I was able to bike directly to work, then I'd have no problem riding in the rain. In fact, riding in the rain is pretty fun! We have nice hot showers at work, so it's no big deal to change out of the wet bike clothes and take a hot shower before heading to the cubicle.

I lived in Mt View and commuted to Sunnyvale last year, and biked virtually every day, but I'm not sure about my new SF/Sunnyvale commute.
 
Cleaning a commuter bike is just not my thing, so I just ride my singlespeed/fixie when rain is in the forecast. The only maintenance that bike ever gets is the occasional quick wipe of gunk off the chain followed by a spray with fresh lube.

I like the feel of the fixed gear on wet pavement too, even with 23 mm tires.
 
Unless it's really raining it takes a while to get too wet. At least around here, it hardly REALLY rains...

-M
 
I commute all year, all weather. What I want is rain tights, not baggy rain pants. I use full fenders, but they hardly keep all the water & road grime off you and the bike. Biggest problem is the local city's lack of concern for keeping the bike lanes clear of dangerous debris. However I Love to ride though so I'll put up with the adversity.
 
@hrdtduck I have some REI rainpants that with a reasonable fit that aren't baggy and don't flap in the wind at all. Most of the time I don't bother, though, since my regular cycling pants have a water resistance coating that sheds water reasonably well for the light rain we usually get in California. Do you have suggestions on cycling tights that work well in rain?
 
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