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Friday, November 20, 2009
By Yokota Fritz

Besides a two year hiatus when my son was born, I've been riding my bike to work almost every day since 1987. It doesn't change with rain, shine, hail, snow, thunderstorm, a plague of frogs, zombie apocalypse or the expiration of a Mesoamerican calendar system: I ride my bike.

Yet when I roll in on a day like today, when rain is forecast, people at the office still ask me, "What are you gonna do when it rains?"

How do you answer that question?

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Hey! I just blogged about this today:

Must be karma.
Easy. I get wet.

It's not so bad. I do dress for it, so I don't get soaked, but getting a bit wet is fine with me. I pack a change of clothes in sealed plastic in my paniers, so I'm fine when I get to work (and there's a change of shoes waiting for me).

I ride until the snow piles up enough to make the roads impassible on a bike (the lanes get so narrow that cars get really aggressive about sharing the road - it's just not worth it). That's about 3 weeks in January. Other than that, it's all bike.
I put on a raincoat? Yeah, idiots are prone to missing simple answers to simple questions.

I used to get the same thing when I was riding a motorcycle. I'd say, I only have a motorcycle, and quick as a shot, they'd comeback with, "But what if it rains?" My initial response was "I get wet", but somehow the response was not processed. You get on a motorcycle in the rain, and you get wet! It's not like it will hurt you, right? (Now COLD and WET are two different things, and the combination is mostly bad news.)

So the next question was, "What if it gets rainy out, and its cold?" For that I had a motorcycle cops jacket (blue Cordura nylon), and a windshield on the bike. At speed, a windshield is about all you need on a motorcycle. When you slow down or stop, a raincoat is enough and on a bike, a good raincoat is all you need.

And if it get dark? Turn on a light!
People in my office are used to it by now. After turning down countless rides, coworkers don't even offer anymore.
i've designed a pair of all weather executive panniers for using in the office as well as going to the gym or tennis court. the 2 bags clip together to form an all in one weekend bag. Check em out, would love to know what you think
When I was bike commuting my answer was usually "get wet" mainly because the people who asked were annoying.
I do think there's a correlation between the folks who ask the question and their general cluelessness. "Put on a coat" is my answer, or "get wet." Perhaps I should say "turn into a faery queen and waft through the air."
Though 'til this year, I answered honestly "it doesn't rain on me." That usually bemused 'em.
Yea, they still ask it, after all this time.
I routinely get people that say "Oh, you ride a motorcycle?" when I have on a motorcycle jacket, gloves and my helmet in my hand. I usually say "No, I just like being extra safe in my car". But I don't often ride my motorcycle in the rain, nor my bike given my random days and visits to school sites.
"It's really no problem, I brought soap!"

How could all these wimps be the descendents of the pioneers?
I'm not a bad witch. I won't melt.
I always just say "ride anyway, it's more fun".
What am I going to do when it rains?
Dive through puddles like a 12 year old.
I'm sporting a cape this winter and it is cozy. It sits on my shoulders like a tepee. But my response to that silly "rain" question has always been the same... it's not very different from you walking in the rain. I dress appropriately for the weather, just like you would !
Oh well, a couple of people beat me to it but I always answer, "get wet" too.

I've coached Special Olympics cycling for nearly ten years now, and I always answered the question that way from my athletes, too. My proudest moment was when a couple of my cycling friends came to see my team in competition and asked, "what do you guys do if it rains?" I passed the question on to one of the guys on my team who promptly answered, "we get wet!"
My favorite response is "I'll wash it off with a little water when I get home" I think it then hits the people that it is only water.
I alternate between "I cry" and giving them a lecture on how it's all about the gear......
I love it that this experience is so common. Respect to Captain Kickstand and his (her?) work with Special Olympics.
This does seem to be a universal question posed to cyclists. I'm an everyday commuter in Michigan and frequently get followed up with "What about snow?" after they ask about rain. I just reiterate that cycling is how I commute and with the right gear foul weather won't spoil a ride.

Besides, the worst weather rides are the indeed my most memorable. Referencing this article in the Times (
@Joe: Indeed. There's no bad weather, just bad clothing.
"What do you do when it rains?"

There are enough walkers/public trans riders in my office (and enough drivers who don't park anywhere near the building) for this response to work. I don't know what I'd say in a different office environment, though. Probably either "I get rained on" or "You mean to tell me you actually DRIVE YOUR CAR in this kind of weather?!?!," accompanied by a suitably shocked expression.
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