The last couple of days have been in the upper 30’s (for you Celsius people it has been like 3-9 out) and, oh yea, raining like crazy. Being the foolhardy adventurer’s that I am I have still ridden my bike to work every day. Here are a couple of my findings.
Winter rain is really really cold. Really. For some reason winter rain seems to be fatter, and hits you in the face like a prize fighter. Did I mention it has also been really windy? It hits your skin like a needle and chills you to the bone. At least for the first couple miles, after you warm up that cold rain is great to keep you at just the right temp. I have found that no matter how soaked I get, if I just keep going, keep pumping, I will warm up and feel fine.
Roads are slippery when its wet. (Duh) But not as slippery as metal grates, man hole covers, and newly painted road lines. The only time over the last couple days I have spilled off the bike was going over a metal grate on the sidewalk not 5 feet from where I was about to lock up my bike. Embarrassing yes, damaging no. When moving over slippery objects, make sure to go in a straight line, taking corners very slowly.
Roads are filthy. Seriously where did all this dirt come from? I get home and I am covered with so much filth that it runs black off me in the shower. Be ready to jump in the shower as soon as you get home, not only will it get the grit off, but it warms you back up if you have gotten cold.
There is no such thing as waterproof bicycle clothing. Really, all you can hope to do is minimize how wet you get. I HIGHLY suggest fenders. I do this because I don’t have them, and really really wish I did. Guess what I am going to go get this weekend? Just yesterday I rode home in the pouring rain, the only part of me that was drenched was the back of me where my tire had flung up a bunch of water onto my ass. Fenders, fenders fenders ya!
Cars don’t care. Really they will splash a puddle on you, they don’t care. You could get mad, or you could enjoy it. I choose to just enjoy the adventure. You’re already wet, no sense in being miserable as well. It freaks them out to see you grinning from ear to ear as you zip past in the rain. This is good. Also because they don’t care, be sure to have your lights on, and be sure to be extra careful while looking out for them, also leave yourself more time to stop (remember roads are slippery).
Just because you are cold doesn’t mean you don’t need to drink water. You might feel like your not thirsty but you were still sweating, don’t get dehydrated.
Don’t forget to clean up your bike when you get home. All that nasty road grit gets into your butt crack, but it also gets into your chain, your brakes, and your tire. Wipe your bike down with a dry towel, clean off the chain and re-oil it. Trust me you will thank me when your chain is nice ans shiny (as opposed to rusted solid).
Brake pads hate rain, if you ride in the rain a lot be prepared to change out your brake pads. They get powdery and loose stopping power.
Even though it has been miserable outside I have still seen plenty of people out and riding, it makes me happy that these people are out braving the elements. In fact I have met several nice people this week as we both sat soaked to the bone waiting at a red light. When was the last time you made a friend in traffic?
Here is to winter riding, may it always be this fun.