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Friday, September 26, 2014

How to Survive Biking in the Rain

Posted By on Fri, Sep 26, 2014 at 7:28 AM

click to enlarge unnamed.jpg
It might have been confusing for many of you when you saw the wet roads, or worse yet, the water falling from the sky yesterday. The world isn’t over, and we’re not being punished by a malevolent God for our iniquities — yet.

Rain is a good thing for this drought-stricken area, but it's not a good thing if caught in the storm while on your bike. 

Just in case this wet weather strikes again, I've created a handy guide of how to bike in the rain:
Don’t Panic!
The worst thing to do in the rain is freak out. You’ll make it harder for everyone else on the road to understand what you’re doing. Chill out. There’s no hurry. Everybody else is just as confused about the precipitation as you are, so relax. 

Get Fenders
Someone where it rained more than once a year invented something called fenders. These are useful for keeping you dry, and keeping road grime off your bike. They’re available in a variety of flavors, from decorative to heavy duty. There are even emergency fenders, like the appropriately named "Ass Savers," for those who don’t want to install full-length jobs. While things like Ass Savers aren’t very effective at keeping you dry, they do conveniently stow under your seat when not in use.

ASS SAVER Original - instructions from Ass Savers on Vimeo.

All of the Lights
Put on your blinky lights even if its daytime. Believe me, when it’s gray and rainy out it’s hard to see a cyclist, and your red blinky tells drivers that you don’t want to die. Fluorescent clothing sends the same message.

Wear Wool
If we’ve learned anything from sheep it’s that we should follow directions blindly and wear wool. The Bay Area is full of notable wool pedants because the wicking, highly breathable material is a smart choice for our proliferation of weird foggy microclimates. Plus, it doesn’t smell bad even after you sweat in it and it keeps you warm when it’s wet.

Shoe Covers, Rain Jackets, Other Crap
There’s a good chance you can stay dry if you spend piles of money on special rain gear. From gaiters, to shoe covers, ponchos to pontoon boats, there’s a lot of ways to throw money at this problem. Luckily, we don’t live in Seattle, so what’s the point? You should still definitely consider special $35 cycling socks, which are the best purchase you could possibly make.

click to enlarge Believe it or not this puddle is made of rain!
  • Believe it or not this puddle is made of rain!

Avoid Trolley / Train Tracks

These things are treacherous in the rain. Watch out. They’re slippery and slidey and they can put you on the ground fast. Especially the ones that have gaps big enough for your tire to get stuck. Those are even worse. My advice is to tread carefully, and not make any sudden moves while on the tracks.

Think Positive Thoughts
It’s easy to think that you’re minutes from certain death when cold rain is falling on your helmet and fogging your glasses. Remember, lots of people have survived rain before. You might, too, if you just try hard and believe in yourself (and the drivers on the road). The biggest danger during a rain is probably confused drivers.

Pray it Never Stops
No matter how much traffic sucks because of it, we need a helluva lot of rain. If you’re superstitious you should do everything within your power to encourage it to keep coming. At this point a little shower won’t kick the drought out of California, even if it does help clear out some of the smog for a morning. 

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About The Author

Leif Haven

Leif Haven

Leif Haven is a writer and cyclist living in the Bay Area. He can be spotted dragging himself up a hill — literally and metaphorically.

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