Thursday, October 6, 2011

here comes the rain again...

falling on my head like a memory....

one of the things i like about riding a bike is the constant challenges it brings. if you are riding loaded, you have to think differently about all the junk in your trunk.

or if you are super late to work because you were looking for your keys AND THEN it wasn't raining when you were looking for them BUT WHEN YOU WERE READY TO LEAVE it was pouring out....and you have steel rims on your older bike...what do you do?

Rain In My Face
foto by ade, guest starring declan

one of my fears is going down a hill in the rain on joanie because one of the first times i did that, i crashed into a biker at the end of the hill. i was pulling my brake levers as hard as i could for most of the way down. so when i see rain and know i have to head out on my bike, i think i'd rather be doing this:

Waiting for the rain to pass - cycling with my daughter
foto by sibadd

on my new commute, i have a rather large hill i'm sort of nervous to go down when it's not raining. i'm mainly nervous due to the car traffic and because not everyone who drives a car signals when they want to turn, not because of anything else. i love to bomb that hill when i get the chance. WHEEEEEEEEE....

well, today was running late, so no better time than to face that fear. rain + joanie, round one. no time to really ride in a roundabout way, so i took the plunge.

and here i am. i just went slow and steady. per usual. joanie - 1, rain - 0.

for more tips for riding in the rain, please see this video over on vimeo starring KT from velo vogue.

all fotos taken from our flickr pool! we love to see what you guys do with cameras and bikes!!


  1. As a bike enthusiast, would you not assume anyone wacky enough to ride in the rain is also an enthusiast? And if they are, would they not likely have more than one bike? And if they have more than one bike and they live in an area that has hills and (potentially) rain, wouldn't it make sense to have a bike with disc brakes?

    Makes sense to me.

    On the other hand, I ride coaster brake bikes - and my rain bike has a front hand brake, as well. (It's my 'rain bike' because it has fenders.) Given that I really do need to rebuild the cassette in my coaster brake bikes (both of them), the chances of my actually being able to stop, in the rain, on my rain bike, is probably pretty slim. Hmmm. So. I should find a bridge, huh?

  2. you need to take a nap! (my new battle cry)

  3. Time to learn to build wheels! Build some with new alloy rims for the joanie, it will benefit you going up hills and down.
    I am an old curmudgeon and have yet to be convinced of the value of disk brakes, I've been riding long enough to know that braking too hard on rain slicked roads will crash you just as fast as having too little brakes.

  4. @LceeL: that assumption does not account for the extra money involved for a new bike, nor does it account for the temperament to work with disc brakes. people have been riding in the rain long before disc brakes on bikes were around. i already have two bikes taking up space in my apartment, thus it does not make sense for my lifestyle at the moment. it does make sense for other people though!

    @blue: zzzzzzzz. heh.

    @BillE: actually, i have inherited someone's older aluminum 27inch wheels. that's a project for a few weekends from now. i'm sure they will be way better than what i have now. can't wait to try them out.

  5. Yeah,
    I'll never really forget the first time I rode in precipitation (wasn't really strong enough to be called rain) with my rod brake roadster. I pulled on the levers, and came up with a big double handful of nada.

    It's a bit better now with properly adjusted Koolstop pads, but I think twice about taking it out if there's the possibility of rain.

    I generally take the train if it's raining on the way to work, but have fewer reservations about riding home in the rain, since that's where they keep the dry clothes!

  6. I pedaled all over SF on my Dahon this spring on a rainy day. The down hills were terrifying. I took the gentle braking approach and survived injury free. One section of Filmore was just a bit too intense and since steps were cut into the sidewalk I took this as a sign to just get off and walk my bike down.

  7. I have both disk and not disk. Disk is great until it isn't then it is a pain in the ass. Usually at the wrong time. The trick to every bike is not high end componentry but knowing it's limitations and working in them.

    As to coming down streets in SF that have stairway sidewalks... Don't do it in the rain : ). Even with disk brakes.

  8. I don't know how people can bike in San Francisco. I live in Thank God Flat Illinois, and even the gentle slopes here get to be a pain - but I do ride single speeds coasters, so if it gets too steep, I stand on the pedals or walk.

  9. @lceel: i guess that means you have to come to SF and try it out! it's not as bad as you might think it is. then again, the mental challenges of biking are what make it fun! at least for me. as someone once told me, "hills are mental." truth.

  10. I've yet to have a problem with my heavy Xtracycle with V-brakes in the rain, even with our hills.

    The Bakfiets is a different matter: drum brakes are great for bad weather, but can be scary on our monster hills...

  11. i rode ade's kids bike (cause they are way taller than i am...) to go to santa cruz this summer, and i LOVE the v-brakes so much that i'm going to put them on the touring bike i'm planning to build. unless of course, the o'chan clan is willing to part with that bike for a reasonable price.... ;)