Cycling in Brisbane Australia
This morning I got up early, packed my pannier, pulled on my knicks and headed out the door to the shed to get out my new flatbar road bike. And then it rained. So I went back inside grumbling miserably, got changed and made alternative arrangements to get to work today. I got my new bike three weeks ago (my wife doesn't like me riding to the city on my recumbent) and since then, between getting it set up with all the right accessories like racks and lights etc, just about every day I've set aside to ride to work it has rained. If it was an old clunker I'd go anyway, but a nice shiny new bike I'm not so keen.
So this got me thinking. As a general rule, what do other commuters do? Do you cycle irrespective of the weather, does it depend on how much you love your bike or how new it is? do people feel safer riding in the dry than in the wet? Am I a wuss?
For me it really depends on what gear I have to take home with me. Most days I commute with a laptop and if it's raining I usually don't take it with me. If I'm already at the office and it starts raining I'll cycle home leaving my gear there.
Although last week I did manage to cycle home with all my gear and it stayed dry while I got completely soaked.
My commuting bike is pretty old though (old Apollo road bike), but if it's raining I normally take my townie which is a bit safer on slippery roads.
You're a wuss! (kidding)
I rode today, but I've noticed that in Brisbane people tend not to ride in the rain. I certainly saw a lot fewer people out today.
Having moved up from Sydney where rain was a lot more frequent it doesn't bother me at all, but last February when the rain started i saw NOBODY else out riding. I'm guessing that given the wet year we had people would have gotten a little more used to it though.
I have a friend who has an old bike for riding on wet days.
Riding to work is pretty much my only exercise option at the moment, so I try not to let rain stop me getting out on the bike. I tend to at least change my route in the wet to ride on quieter roads/more bikepaths (sometimes almost doubling trip time). If I didn't have the quieter options, I'd ride in the rain less. When I have my daughter with me I'll resort to public transport if it's really bucketing down, as the trailer isn't particularly waterproof.
A good waterproof pannier makes it easier for me. I also carry a cheap pair of safety glasses for riding in the rain at night.
I think my friend has the answer though, if you're lucky enough to have a new bike to be worried about getting wet, then get yourself a $50 clunker for riding in the rain.
I don't think wussiness really comes into it. If it's important enough to you, you'll work out how to do it..
Also, if you find that the rain makes it impossible to see (even with glasses) get a cycling cap. For me they keep the rain of my cycling glasses enough that it's not an issue anymore.
I like these, handmade in Australia :)
It depends on my destination. If I'm heading home I don't mind getting wet. In fact, riding in the summer rain is one of life's great pleasures.
However, if I'm riding to a location where I don't want to be soaking wet I have some waterproof (and very thin) overclothes which I put over the clothes I'm wearing. I also have some waterproof covers for my shoes and the jacket has a hood to keep rain from my eyes. I find that if it is a warm day I have to slow down a little otherwise I'll be as wet from sweat as I would be from the rain! So far this works really well for me.
The shoe covers, pants & jacket all roll up into a tiny package which sits neatly in the corner of my Waterproof pannier.
If it stops raining but I still have a way to go, I remove all the overclothes, roll them into a tight package and strap them to my rear rack. This way I don't put wet items into my pannier bag with my dry gear.
I feel just as safe in the wet as the dry and I modify my behaviour accordingly - a slower journey essentially. I'm also more mindful of places where debris & oil collects on the road and I avoid riding through puddles on bitumen (could be a pothole). I usually don't ride in the rain with glasses of any sort on - they often fog up and water drops on the lens impairs vision.
My bike has excellent hub brakes (& hub gears) which work no matter how wet it is and it has very low mudguards to keep the road grime off me (and cyclists behind me!). A chainguard keeps the chain very clean so it rarely needs attention. In fact, my bike is so well designed for riding in bad weather it is a pleasure to do so! :)
I rode to work this morning with my rain gear and arrived nice and dry and so did the contents of my pannier. I have different (Basil & Ortlieb brand) panniers depending on the weather. If I'm expecting heavy rain I take the waterproof ones. If it is only going to rain lightly I just put the waterproof cover over the pannier.
Hope this is of some use.
If it is a 26" try 29" mudguards or cruiser mudguards, they cover much more of the wheel. The big Dummy has 180 degree coverage.