PLEASE NOTE: This week’s reports will be out of order, sorry.
The rain has returned, for a little bit. Chance of showers from now until Friday. It’ll be nice again this weekend, but this is how things are during this transitional season: rain then not, then rain again.
I don’t mind, but rain riding is not something for everyone. It does take some effort to figure out what works best for you. Many Portlanders who ride in the winter live in a Showers Pass rain shell from about now until May. In fact, I think some of these folks don’t own any other outer layers, you’ll see them still wearing these rain jackets during a week of sun and 40F/4C temps in the middle of January.
I do own a “regular” rainjacket, but I prefer to not wear it that much. For my bike rides, I’ll not wear any rain gear if the rain is in the drizzly to light category. For that, I’ll just wear a bunch of wool on top, and wool or synth pants on bottom. This does the job when it’s not too cold or wet. When Mother Nature ratchets up the water, I’ll pull out the waxed rain cape. This does a good job of keeping the water off, and the bonus is I can wear “normal” clothes. (The downside is raincapes are really only good on the bike, not for walking around.) My Carradice rain cape stays strapped to the Carradice saddlebag during this time of year. Oh yeah, a nice felted wool cap keeps the dome dry and warm without getting too sweaty!
And of course, the classic British “sports tourer” bicycle was designed mostly for dreadful weather, as they get a bunch of that over on the British Isles! Mudguards and fenders are great for rain. But note that I said “mostly”: If there is a fatal flaw in the British three speed as a wet weather bike, it’s the steel rims that came stock with 99% of them. Steel rims have horrible braking power in the wet, as the brake pad needs time to “dry off” the rim. All of my regular three speeds have had their wheels rebuilt with aluminum rims, the Sun Rims CR 18s that are pretty much the only game in town with the “obsolete” 590 wheel size. While Raleigh purists may cry “foul!” at me ditching the very nice steel rims, I do like the ability to stop my bike in a timely manner when it rains out, especially going downhill. My bikes are daily drivers, not museum pieces. (Plus, you shed a few pounds of weight when you go aluminium! 😉 )
My ride today was a seven mile jaunt via “the long way” via N Vancouver Ave to go to my P O Box on the way to work. I did see a few other cyclists out there, but not too much. It takes a while before some commuters get used to the rain (or get sick of driving or taking the bus, whichever comes first.)
Another week of the Three Speed October challenge down. How you doing? 🙂