It’s over a month until the Winter Solstice arrives, but the winter bike commuting season is already on our doorstep. We’ve had some rain, and today was one of the coldest mornings we’ve had in many months. I don’t at all mind the cold, but I have to admit, I’ve developed a slight aversion to rain riding over the past decade or so.
I lived in Seattle for 10 years, and during that time I became what I’d now consider a hardcore rain rider. The fact is, if you’re a serious bike rider who lives in the Pacific Northwest, you’ll either develop a complete nonchalance toward soggy conditions, or you’ll quit riding altogether; there’s just too much rain to make a fuss about it and continue riding.
After moving back to California, I lost nearly all of my hard-earned tolerance for commuting in the rain. It’s my theory that NorCal’s blue skies and dry roads just bake the Northwest right out of you. The area where I currently live sees precipitation on approximately 60 days per year. I’d guess that on half of those days we only see a sprinkle or two, which leaves only 30 days with what an ex-Seattleite would classify as rain.
Because I split my work week between the home office and the real office, I only occasionally end up commuting in the rain. At this point, wet commutes are enough of a novelty that they’re sort of fun. Perhaps if I lived in a wet climate again I’d get my webbed feet back, but for now, I don’t miss the feeling of being water-logged for the entire winter. As for snow riding, I’ve never tried it. I can say this; I have a healthy respect for my fellow bike commuters who put on studded snow tires and plow on through!
How about you? Do you look forward to winter commuting or is it something you dread? Does the weather slow you down or do you ride straight through? Feel free to elaborate in the comments below.