Tuesday, October 7, 2008

bike commuting in the rain

I've biked to work for about 15 and a half of the past 20 work days, so that's about a month's worth of cycling. I rode the bus to work one day and carpooled home another... and drove alone for only three days since starting the Green Bike Project. I guess that's about 75% bicycle commuting - the program expects participants to ride 60% of their commutes.

The bike has held up well. The rear rack is very handy and sturdy. The lights perform well though with fall and winter close at hand, darkness swallows up the lights pretty easily. I suspect some spendy hi-po head lights are in order shortly, as are better rain gear (that breathes!) and long tights. Only mechanical issue so far has been a flat front tire due to a pin hole sized puncture... possibly from one of the many dried-out blackberry vines strewn across the shoulder I typically ride on.

I have found two reasons riding in the rain is not so bad: 1) you can certainly hear the cars approaching from behind a lot easier and 2) I seem to overheat on the ride home pretty quickly (all uphill ride home) and the cooler weather and rain seems to feel better than it being 70+ and sunny. I still dislike gusts of wind, especially in your face!

Gear I've purchased (sorry if this is a repeat) includes a LED lit reflective lightweight vest (I'm irritated that the $40 vest already had an attachment clip get broken - I may repair it with some sort of buttons or snaps), a pair of Columbia brand rain-proof pants (they make me sweat awfully since they don't breathe at all), and a special "beanie" by Underarmor that fits snuggly under the helmet and helps keep ears warmer and also blocks some of the wind rushing through the helmet.

At this point, I'm going to try to keep going through the year as long as feasible.

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