Trail Ramblings: Rain, Ride, Repeat.

Yes, I’ve been riding in it, but so have some of you, I’ve seen you. I haven’t been uncomfortable, how are you managing? My boots are sitting on a heat vent, gloves and jacket are spread out trying to get dry. If I keep my hood up under the helmet while it’s raining I can keep my head dry, and not arrive to a job looking half drowned. Yes, my legs get wet, but with the right pants it’s not that noticeable. If you go all out and wear a rain suit, you might get just as wet, but with sweat as they don’t breathe. Wind pants work well for comfort, but may not keep you dry if that’s important. I know what works for me, but I wondered how someone who’s out riding in it for a living manages. I asked Ben Mixan, owner/operator of Picnicker, a delivery service, to tell me about his rainy day experience. I think it applies to snow, too. When riding in the rain he says:

-Drink plenty of water.

-Eat lots of snacks.

-Think positive thoughts.

-Be patient and give yourself extra time.

-Bar mitts if below about 55 degrees.

This is not Ben. Rain capes work too, but in cooler weather I prefer a rain jacket. Your legs will still get wet.

He thinks with a waterproof fanny pack he would have all he needs.

Also, he says “still try to have fun even if it really sucks” I couldn’t agree more. Even if it’s a stressful day in the rain he reminds himself to smile at anyone who acknowledges him, it helps keep his spirits high. Years of riding in Nebraska weather has honed his collection of gear. He layers for ever changing conditions. Today I saw him in rain pants and a thin rain jacket. He prefers to be clipped in especially in wet conditions- no slipping feet. As far as whether to wear waterproof shoes or not, he thinks sometimes it’s better just to get wet feet since they make his feet sweat, so it depends how long he’ll be out in it, and I suppose the temperature as well.

For the bike, no more than 60 psi in the tires to be safe, and lights. (Also I’d add, fenders, and wipe down the chain and keep it oiled)

So there’s how one professional manages. Different kinds of riding though, may require different gear.

In China people often ride with an umbrella, but I really can’t condone it.