(Sun)day

(Sun)day

Like many parts of the country, we’ve had some unusual weather this year. For March we’re at 6.47 inches of rainfall so far, twice the normal of 3.15 inches for the month (compare this to 5.02 inches for Seattle this month). Our rivers and reservoirs are full which is a good thing for farmers, though with a dramatic warming trend forecasted for next week, many are concerned about the snowmelt. Today (Sunday) we’re expecting to see some sun which will be a welcome change. I think I can speak for my fellow bike commuters in the area when I say we’re looking forward to drying out a bit.

20 Responses to “(Sun)day”

  • Ben Johnson says:

    Alan, that’s because California actually got much of Seattle’s rain this month, as the jet stream pushed our moisture further down the coast. Not too uncommon starting in March, but the amount of rain certainly was more than usual.

    Enjoy your drier weather. We’ve got rain again in Seattle today. Looking forward to some nicer days, and of course July, when our summer starts. =) And at least that Bryant can handle the weather without missing a beat!

  • charles says:

    Agreed however a full length front mudflap that goes nearly to the pavement will go a long way to keeping you drier on wet roads. Most fenders aren’t made correctly for actual rainy weather. Even some of the newer ones still aren’t right, they are better but not ideal. How about a rain cape review? One of the good ones from Carradice or the rain gear Rivendell sells.
    An article on rear bags vs. front bags for rainy climates might be useful info for the uninformed also. There is a big swing toward front loaded low trail geometry in road bicycles that doesn’t work all that well in rainy climates…….the English designs that favor rear loading are better for that because of the natural protection of the bag mounted on the back of the bike and especially so when using a cape. Just a suggestion…… love the page and the photography is great!

  • Alan says:

    @Charles

    “Agreed however a full length front mudflap that goes nearly to the pavement will go a long way to keeping you drier on wet roads. Most fenders aren’t made correctly for actual rainy weather.”

    For sure! The Civia fender in the photo is not really long enough for everyday rain riding.

    I’ve been considering a cape. I haven’t used one in many years. I’ll definitely keep your suggestion in mind for a future article, though it may be next fall since it looks like our spring is finally going to start up this next week (gotta’ have rain to test a rain cape ;-)).

    Regards,
    Alan

  • David Bolles says:

    looking forward to drier days no doubt! I experienced sunshine, rain, sleet and a little bit of snow in this past week. did skip a day and take the bus though…

  • Alan says:

    David,

    I’ve been taking the bus too. I’m only a short walk from a commuter stop, so it’s mighty tempting when the wind is howling and the rain is blowing sideways!

    Alan

  • Jeff Stewart says:

    Bummer about the rain, LOVE that bike!!!

  • Neil says:

    Sorry to hear about your weather. I live in the North East of the UK and we are experiencing a very dry March (in fact I connected a new water butt at the start of march and it is still bone dry).
    I went for a long ride today (on my LHT) in brilliant sunshine, really does lift your spirits.
    Hope it soon gets better for you, it is usually us in the UK who are complaining about the rain.

  • doug in seattle says:

    I’ve used a couple rain capes over the course of a few years. I am currently inclined to say they’re not worth it. You do feel a lot of drag riding around, not really a huge amount, but when it’s lightly raining, I was always more inclined to take it off to avoid the drag. For touring they’re a nightmare. I was also not impressed with the quality of the Carradice cape I recently got: the seam tape came apart less than two months after I started using it. I’ve gone back to using my Showers Pass and Rain Legs combo and greatly prefer them.

  • John Lascurettes says:

    I’ll second what doug says. I tried a local artisan’s rain cape here in Portland and the windsail effect is too much. I also felt it restricted my movement too much for making hand signals and such (not good for a city commuter). I did like the breathability of the cape, but I went back to using a jacket and rain pants for freedom of movement.

  • Brian C says:

    Curious how the belt drive is behaving in your wet weather (which is common for those of living in the Pacific NorthWest). I am hoping the belt drive is nearly maintenance free compared to our chain drives miraculous ability to gather up all the grit and grime in our soggy environment…

    Must admit my wife enjoyed cycling in San Diego in February without the rain!

  • charles says:

    Alan……thanks for the response. I’m in the NW (Washington state) and its still raining here !!! No worries either way. Its great to get the feedback from other readers.
    I too have a Showers Pass touring rain jacket and like it very much. I just figure the English have some things figured out when it comes to rain and bicycling and the development of certain accessories and bicycle designs that would seem to be influenced by climate conditions etc.

  • James Fisher says:

    I was going to take the studded tires off my Dummy today but S.E. Minnesota is still a bit iffy on the snow and ice. Maybe next weekend.

  • Scott says:

    Doug,
    I would agree about the rain capes. I don’t think their evolution was based on the type of commuting that many Americans do. I lived in Italy for a couple years, and loved my rain cape, but that was within the city center, and I wouldn’t say that the drag was ever an issue.

    Alan, I am quite a fan of your site, and applaud your for chronicling the trials and tribulation so of bicycle commuters in America. I have to admit that I miss those blissful days of riding my 30 euro G. Bianchi fifth-hand commuter bike. As crazy as the streets of Italy may seem to many, I found drivers to be deferential to cyclists. No outward aggression like here. Keep it up.

    P.S. I am in SF, and am waiting for spring as well.

  • John Ferguson says:

    Second Brian C.’s question – Alan, how’s the belt drive working for you in wet conditions? I’d say that’s the big benefit of the belt, so rain riding would be the deciding factor on whether to bother with a belt drive setup or not.

  • Alan says:

    The belt is super. Being lube-free, it doesn’t pick up dirt the way a chain does. And since it’s not sticky like a lubricated drivetrain, it washes clean easily with a quick rinse of the hose.

    The other advantages are a long, maintenance-free life (Gates is claiming twice the life of a chain) and quiet, smooth operation.

    Alan

  • Velouria says:

    It is sunny here… but in the 30s again, after a false-spring week of 60s weather mid-March : ( Not sure when Spring will really start at this point; the forecast for all of this week is wintry again.

  • Mike T says:

    Alan, how do you feel about the performance of the fenders on the new ride, now that you’ve had suitable testing conditions? Are any changes or modifications in order? Is there a noticeable difference between these and the honjos?

    thanks,

    Mike, Calgary

  • Alan says:

    Hi Mike,

    I like the Civia fenders, but the front could stand to be a little longer. As it is, I’m getting a little crud on the bottom bracket area. I have the extra long Honjos on my Rivendell and they provide better coverage from front wheel spray. The Honjos were more difficult to install though. We’re coming into the dry season, so I’ll leave these on until at least the fall.

    Alan

  • Tucker Burroughs says:

    I like the rain cape because it packs much smaller than a jacket and pants. Having said that, I carry it in case I get caught in the rain. On days that I know I’ll be riding in the rain, I prefer the jacket and pants.

  • Rob Halligan says:

    Mine is the only review of this inexpensive bike poncho on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Ventura-Rain-Poncho-Colors-Vary/dp/B001V57OSY/

    Doing urban errand riding, it pops on and off quicker than rain pants. It’s small and light enough that I leave it in the bottom of my pannier. I gave one to my girlfriend; she seems to get use of hers as well.

    Some bike capes are short. I think those ones look strange when the wearer is walking in those. I’d personally feel self-conscious in one of those.

 
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