Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Biking + rain

I bike to work every day. I live in San Francisco so I don't have to contend with ice or snow (or even serious cold). But we do have rain and I bike through that.

My friends and coworkers know that I commute on a bike but when they find out that I go through the rain they're usually surprised. They probably imagine it to be a miserable experience but the truth is that it's not bad at all. You just have to approach it differently.

You have to change your riding style. This is pretty obvious on one level but it's not until you're actually out there that you realize just how much you have to adjust. My braking distance goes way up, much more than I would have guessed. It's not linear either: at low speeds there's little difference but at high speeds it's more than double. The breaking distance on cars goes up too of course. Worse, everyone's vision degrades. In California we get rain from around November to March. That means that for many months the roads build up a patina of oil from exhaust condensation. The result: the first rain of the season makes everything slide around like pads of butter in a Teflon pan. It sucks.

The difference between rain gear and good rain gear is the difference between a tolerable ride and an enjoyable ride. I have as much GoreTex as I can afford (jacket and over-socks). I also have a pair of waterproof-breathable cycling pants and I keep a showercap handy to slip over the seat. Once, I'm suited up, I'm protected from neck to toe (minus hands; I don't have any waterproof gloves). I also wear glasses (to keep rain out of my eyes) with yellow lenses (to increase contrast). The best part is that I'm basically impervious to amphibian assault. It can be pouring rain and I simply won't get wet.

1 comment:

daviduu60pwgribbel said...
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