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More tips for rainy-day bike commuting

Posted Dec 02 2008 3:06am

From the News-Tribune (Tacoma, WA), 11.06.08:
Experts offer tips to survive riding in the rain
As Tory Grant slid into some rain gear, the manager of Tacoma's Old Town Bicycle confessed a little secret: It's hard for him to get motivated to go for a bike ride when the weather gets nasty.

He’s not alone. “You know, you hem and you haw for a couple of hours, then you finally do it,” Grant said. “But once you do it, it’s not that bad.” Whether riding for fitness or commuting, the bike doesn’t have to stay in the garage during the cold and rainy seasons. But cyclists who hit the road need to prepare for the outdoor conditions during the fall and winter months.

Here are some tips for winterizing yourself and your ride from local cycling experts...

On gray winter days, lights aren’t so much for seeing as being seen. Lights ($10 and more) are needed on the handle bars and on the seat stem so you can be seen from ahead and behind, Grant said. And don’t forget to keep your lights charged so they don’t fail you...

Eye protection
(Eye) protection ($20 and more) is a must in the winter to keep rain and road debris out of your eyes. “Some riders even use yellow lenses because they’ll help you see a little clearer,” he said.

Grant said a good riding jacket ($40 and more) is the most important item for riding in the wet and cold. Unlike a typical jacket, cycling jackets are longer in the back to, as he said, “keep your butt dry.” Don’t be afraid to pick a jacket with bright colors. Like lights, a colorful jacket is a good way to assure you are spotted by motorists.

Waterproof pants or riding tights are important for staying warm...

Putting fenders ($20 and more) on your bike is a good way to keep you a little drier...

Toes go cold fast on a bike, so it seems every cyclist has a trick for keeping their feet warm. Grant wears neoprene booties ($30 and up) over his shoes...

Most gloves aren’t waterproof because of all the seams, Grant said, but keeping your hands warm is important.

Add time
(One Tacoma rider) allows extra time for his rides in winter and fall. “Whether it’s riding a heavier bike with fenders or riding in the rain, it adds minutes to my commute,” he said.

Be (extra) alert
Staying alert is always good advice, but it’s especially important in the winter when there are extra hazards. Leaves, road stripes, steel plates and grates are all slippery when wet.

Clean up
Riding in the rain is a good way to shorten the life of your bike chain if you don’t take care of it, Grant said. He suggested lightly rinsing your chain – never use high pressure – then apply a degreaser ($6-$60). ( Read more.)
More sage seasonal advice from the savvy bicyclists of the Pacific Northwest.

Image:News Tribune (Tacoma).
Visit:Pedalling through the puddles, The Province (Vancouver BC)
Visit:Don't give your bike the cold shoulder this year, Baltimore Sun
Visit:Wet Weather Riding, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition
Visit:Cold weather no barrier to bicycle commuting, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit:Brr: Tips for cold-weather cycling, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit:Stay flexible during winter cycling, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit:Winter cold no obstacle to bicycle commuting, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit:Pedaling through winter, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit:Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site
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