California rain

Several of my fellow bike commuters are talking about the “heavy” rain that’s been in the Bay Area. I heard one guy talk about the “sheets” of rain falling from the sky the other week.

For those outside of California, I’ll describe the typical California rain storm. Take a spray bottle — the kind you use to mist your plants. Hold it about six inches from your face and spray yourself until the bottle is empty. That’s a heavy rainstorm in the San Francisco Bay Area. I’m not joking. It’s not even a drizzle like you guys up in Seattle get. Occasionally we’ll even have a mild zephyr to accompany the storm.

A heavy rainstorm in just about any other location is hauling a 30 gallon trashcan up to a second floor balcony and filling with water. Optionally add an 8 pound bag of ice (for the hail), small twigs, frogs, puppies, scrap lumber, etc. Stand under the balcony as several of your friends lift the can up and over so the contents of the trashcan fall directly on you and your bike, with the trashcan tumbling immediately afterwards into you. That’s a spring storm anywhere in the U.S. Midwest and South. Of course it’s not really a storm unless 80 mph winds knock down utility poles.

This is kind of a sidebar for my article about bicycle fenders at Commute By Bike.

21 Comments

  • Jerry
    December 18, 2007 - 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Great writing once again, Fritz – making me laugh. For us spoiled Bay Area natives, this is torrential!

  • Jerry
    December 18, 2007 - 7:52 pm | Permalink

    Great writing once again, Fritz – making me laugh. For us spoiled Bay Area natives, this is torrential!

  • Jerry
    December 18, 2007 - 7:52 pm | Permalink

    Great writing once again, Fritz – making me laugh. For us spoiled Bay Area natives, this is torrential!

  • Jennifer
    December 18, 2007 - 1:38 pm | Permalink

    :-D

    You forgot having to stand ankle- to knee-deep in a kiddie pool full of muddy, oily water and floating bits of debris to simulate flash-flooding.

  • Jennifer
    December 18, 2007 - 8:38 pm | Permalink

    :-DYou forgot having to stand ankle- to knee-deep in a kiddie pool full of muddy, oily water and floating bits of debris to simulate flash-flooding.

  • SiouxGeonz
    December 18, 2007 - 3:00 pm | Permalink

    LOL… well, they're sheets… but they're silk sheets, gently wafting.

    Kinda like what most people call a "blizzard!"

  • SiouxGeonz
    December 18, 2007 - 10:00 pm | Permalink

    LOL… well, they're sheets… but they're silk sheets, gently wafting. Kinda like what most people call a "blizzard!"

  • Ah Pook (Eric S)
    December 18, 2007 - 4:45 pm | Permalink

    I dunno fritz, it was coming down pretty good northbound up Foothill Expressway this morning. Most of the commute was, as you describe, more of a refreshing spritz than a real downpour, but it served to get me pretty thoroughly drenched. Good fun!

  • Ah Pook (Eric S)
    December 18, 2007 - 11:45 pm | Permalink

    I dunno fritz, it was coming down pretty good northbound up Foothill Expressway this morning. Most of the commute was, as you describe, more of a refreshing spritz than a real downpour, but it served to get me pretty thoroughly drenched. Good fun!

  • Dana
    December 18, 2007 - 5:19 pm | Permalink

    I'm from the Northeast. Maine to be exact. I'd love to experience one of your rain storms about now. I've been off the bike for weeks due to some early snow, and it's piling up. We can't seem to go a week without at least one storm. Some only dump an inch or so. Others several inches. This is more snow I've seen in December in years. Last year we were riding into mid-January with the lack of snow. But not this year. Count your blessings!

  • Dana
    December 19, 2007 - 12:19 am | Permalink

    I'm from the Northeast. Maine to be exact. I'd love to experience one of your rain storms about now. I've been off the bike for weeks due to some early snow, and it's piling up. We can't seem to go a week without at least one storm. Some only dump an inch or so. Others several inches. This is more snow I've seen in December in years. Last year we were riding into mid-January with the lack of snow. But not this year. Count your blessings!

  • Dana
    December 19, 2007 - 12:19 am | Permalink

    I'm from the Northeast. Maine to be exact. I'd love to experience one of your rain storms about now. I've been off the bike for weeks due to some early snow, and it's piling up. We can't seem to go a week without at least one storm. Some only dump an inch or so. Others several inches. This is more snow I've seen in December in years. Last year we were riding into mid-January with the lack of snow. But not this year. Count your blessings!

  • Yokota Fritz
    December 18, 2007 - 5:48 pm | Permalink

    Oh believe me, I appreciate the relatively mild weather here!

  • Yokota Fritz
    December 19, 2007 - 12:48 am | Permalink

    Oh believe me, I appreciate the relatively mild weather here!

  • Yokota Fritz
    December 19, 2007 - 12:48 am | Permalink

    Oh believe me, I appreciate the relatively mild weather here!

  • Jay Parkhill
    February 22, 2008 - 1:41 pm | Permalink

    California is definitely not the place for epic rainstorms, but it's still nasty if one isn't dressed for it, mostly because California rain always comes in with 50' or colder weather.

    I used to love riding in warm summer storms in Boston. Those don't exist in San Francisco.

  • Jay Parkhill
    February 22, 2008 - 8:41 pm | Permalink

    California is definitely not the place for epic rainstorms, but it's still nasty if one isn't dressed for it, mostly because California rain always comes in with 50' or colder weather. I used to love riding in warm summer storms in Boston. Those don't exist in San Francisco.

  • Jay Parkhill
    February 22, 2008 - 8:41 pm | Permalink

    California is definitely not the place for epic rainstorms, but it's still nasty if one isn't dressed for it, mostly because California rain always comes in with 50' or colder weather. I used to love riding in warm summer storms in Boston. Those don't exist in San Francisco.

  • Jym
    October 13, 2009 - 7:26 pm | Permalink

    =v= 150 "serious" car crashes in the Bay Area before 10:00 AM today. Kinda reminds me of the winter of 1988, when 1/4" of snow had the same effect.

  • Jym
    October 13, 2009 - 7:26 pm | Permalink

    =v= 150 "serious" car crashes in the Bay Area before 10:00 AM today. Kinda reminds me of the winter of 1988, when 1/4" of snow had the same effect.

  • Jym
    October 13, 2009 - 12:26 pm | Permalink

    =v= 150 "serious" car crashes in the Bay Area before 10:00 AM today. Kinda reminds me of the winter of 1988, when 1/4" of snow had the same effect.

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