Riding in the Rain
If we can ignore for only a moment the seemingly insurmountable cost of housing in San Francisco (surely the mellow-harshing but ubiquitous topic will come around soon enough elsewhere) this is an incredible city to live in. The seemingly infinite high density sprawl of interconnected neighborhoods interspersed with sylvan park lands and commercial zones stew a diversity of experiences; the predetermined and perhaps most thrilling, the unexpected. In fact, the city itself is nearly an island, surrounded by water on three sides (some guy in some Haight Ashbury scene band famously described San Francisco as being “49 square miles surrounded by reality”). Within the city limits one can see all manner of art and eat traditional foods from around the world. Opportunities for inner-city surfing most definitely exist!
Further enhancing the quality of live we enjoy here is the wonderfully temperate weather the city is endowed with. Sure, the winds they may blow and the summer can be a foggy bummer but it sure beats shoveling snow and freezing flesh. Nevertheless, rain a fall in this permanent autumnal high-rent paradise. The thing about rain is its just falling water. Because of it’s near elemental nature(1 part hydrogen plus 2 parts oxygen plus whatever water soluble toxins it picks up while plummeting to Earth but that is just a technicality that we don’t need to get hung up on) and our bodies are supposedly mostly water anyhow, rain is really no reason to stop riding but here is some advice on how to make the experience enjoyable or at least endurable.
A practical bike with larger volume tires, bright lights, and fenders is ideal for riding in the rain (nearly all of the bikes sold at Pedal Revolution can be equipped in this way). The big tires can be ridden at lower pressure to increase traction on wet pavement and daytime running lights increase a rider’s visibility on cloudy days.
Full (coverage)-fenders are greatest of bicycle accessories! Fenders not only keep you dry and clean from dirty pavement spray, they protect your bicycle drive-train (chain, cogs, chain-rings, bottom bracket) from road debris saving you money on maintaining your bike. Unlike many bicycle accouterments, once installed and adjusted they are very difficult to steal (set ’em and forget them).
In addition to being supremely practical, fenders also beauty boost your bike. They come in variety of shapes, materials, colors and styles:
Even some more road racing type bikes can be equipped with fenders:
Now that our rain bikes are sorted out, let’s explore some clothing options.
Fenders guard against swept-up water and a waterproof jacket and pants keep the body dry. These things can be worn over normal clothes. Arrive at your destination dry and just strip off your outer layers. Drivers and transit riders may be shocked to learn you travel by bike in the rain!
Perhaps the most challenging thing can be keeping your feet dry. Lealah opts for some simple rubber shoes while I prefer waterproof hiking boots.
Oakland Public School teacher, Salsa dancer, and Pedal Revolution part-time employee, Daniel, won’t be stopped by rain and neither should you!