Hydrophobia

A shout out to those who ride rain or shine!

(With a bonus Nikwax giveway below the fold.)


Cycling in the rain

I’ve been doing this year round all weather bike commuting since the 80s in various climates, and some of my coworkers still express surprise and even shock when I show up at the office with my bike when there’s rain in the forecast.

I’ll admit that this extended rainy season beyond the usual winter monsoon gets a little old; San Jose has double the usual rain for the year with more on the way today, but I’m not going to melt.

Exposure to weather was one of the reasons given for why cycling promotion is unrealistic in yesterday’s discussion about electric vehicles here. It’s just water, folks. It’s the same stuff you use to bathe yourself.

A childhood friend ignored his mother’s commands to come in out of the rain and gleefully splashed in the mud puddles. He didn’t die of pneumonia, and neither will you. Put on your rain jacket and rubber boots and go for it.


Giveaway

Paper maps and cue sheets don’t hold up to rain nearly as well as human skin. Anyone who’s gotten lost after your map has disintegrated from repeated folding / unfolding in the rain might appreciate Nikwax’s Map Proof. This sponge-on waterproofing for maps can come in handy for those who use paper directions.

Nikwax sent a sample of Map Proof that I’d like to pass along. Leave a comment below with your best cycling in the rain story, or link to your own blog post with a story or photo or video. I’ll pick the best and send you the bottle of Map Proof. Sorry, but US residents only. I’ll select a winner on Thursday.

12 Comments

  • March 23, 2011 - 3:47 pm | Permalink

    I biked to the office today… with rain in the forecast.

    I will confess to not biking to work on Monday, when I woke to a pretty intense thunderstorm… but that was because of the thunder/lightning bit, not the rain!

  • 295bus/Nick
    March 23, 2011 - 3:59 pm | Permalink

    When I started biking to work I’d chicken out if it looked like rain, kept feeling silly for being afraid of a few drops. Since overcoming hydrophobia, usually there’s about one day a year where I actually get more wet than I’d like. Not that big a deal. Today may be that day :)

  • March 23, 2011 - 4:09 pm | Permalink

    I’d like to go undercover at a “normal” workplace. Since I work in the cycling industry, I never get the comments and attitudes that I hear about so often from readers of cycling blogs. I came in on Monday when it was snowing and pretty nasty, and nobody batted an eye–which is the way it should be.

    See: Winter Commuters Aren’t Heroes

  • March 23, 2011 - 5:19 pm | Permalink

    Lightning *is* something I stay clear of. Fortunately not much of that where I live now in California. It was an issue for me in Colorado, Texas and especially in Illinois.

    My most unpleasant wet weather cycling: biking through a typhoon in Japan.

  • March 23, 2011 - 5:22 pm | Permalink

    People definitely bat an eye when I do that – though after almost 3 years they’re starting to get used to it.
    I biked in a major snowstorm a couple months ago and got home WAY faster than anyone who drove… which got some attention. I only really started serious winter commuting this year though… finally got some studded tires. We don’t usually get tons of snow, but we tend to get a lot of ice…

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  • March 23, 2011 - 8:15 pm | Permalink

    I bike commute every day and take great pride in saying “Yes!” when people ask “You didn’t ride today, did you?”

    I’m not happy when I get surprised, but on days like today when I know it’s pouring it’s really kind of fun suiting up and cheating the weather by arriving comfortably at work.

    My last blog post was about wet cycling clothes at work. Here’s my blog-shill link:
    http://ccorlew.blogspot.com/2011/03/drying-bicycle-clothes-and-shoes.html

    Did I win? I don’t need a map in the rain, but on vacation near Ashland Oregon I was enjoying a wonderful long ride, consulting a locally made cycling map, only to discover 30 miles from base that I’d sweat-soaked it into pulp. I had a mild adventure getting back. So feel free to send me your prize. I’ll test it with sweat.

  • Siouxgeonz
    March 23, 2011 - 8:45 pm | Permalink

    It seldom rains on me; if I’m going to ride, the weather usually cooperates, and I usually ride.
    Water doesn’t make things melt unless you’re the Wicked Witch of the West — tho’ when I’m on the Racer people have sometimes sung the song at me. It does make for lower visibility and drivers not expecting me, so I’m all over the horn and lights and what have you.

  • Siouxgeonz
    March 23, 2011 - 8:49 pm | Permalink

    … oh, my best cycling in the rain story? Welp, usually they’re stories of people who went with The Other Group instead of me, and got rained on :P However, just to prove that Mother Nature Bats Last, there was a Pedaling for Pleasure ride where we rode out until we saw lightning, turned around and raced the storm back. 500 yards from the shop it commenced to deluge; 200 yards from the shop, one of my Xtracycle straps decided to wrap itself all over my drive train and drag me to a complete stop, and we had to physically carry the thing the rest of the way in.

  • March 23, 2011 - 10:08 pm | Permalink

    could have used for the SJbikeparty in feb if i didn’t have the route memorized…
    comming across the bridge into alviso i got a brain freeze :)
    it rains on me all the time :) not that i’m gonna let that stop me from riding….

  • March 24, 2011 - 5:21 am | Permalink

    I think that many people just aren’t used to being outside.

  • March 25, 2011 - 10:33 pm | Permalink

    Since Curtis was bold enough to offer the bribe of a product test, I’ll pick him as the winner. I’ll contact you offline, Curtis.

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