The Worst Day of the Year Ride is February 11th

Wet Weather Open Thread: Conditions, your tips and more – UPDATED

Posted by on January 19th, 2012 at 11:52 am

*Scroll to end of post for updates.*

This morning’s ride into work was one of the wettest I can remember in a long time.

I listened to my jacket “drip, drip” on the coat rack behind me for about an hour after I sat down at my desk and my gloves are still completely waterlogged. Looking out my window, it doesn’t look like it’s let up at all. My inbox is flooded (ha!) with alerts and advisories from PBOT, ODOT, and Multnomah County (they need an acronym) about flooded roads, sinkholes, and free sandbags.

I know many people leave their bikes at home in messy weather like this; but there are still many who don’t.

Sarah Mirk reported via Twitter this morning: “Bus driver leans out window to tell totally drenched cyclist: “You’re my hero! You’re a crazy dude!””

How is it going for you? What did you see out on the roads? Got any riding or gear tips you’d like to share?

Stay heroic!

2:11 pm: Here’s a shot of crazy flooding of inner NE Fremont (around 12th I think?) sent in by Nate Gibson:

2:07 pm: Here’s latest road closure info from PBOT:

UPDATE: SW Skyline is closed due to landslide

W Burnside, NW Cornell, SW Kingston, NE Fremont are closed, expected to reopen today

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland Bureau of Transportation said SW Skyline Boulevard, W Burnside Street, NW Cornell Road, SW Kingston Avenue and NE Fremont Street are closed, but expected to reopen today as crews continue to work.

SW Skyline Boulevard is closed between W Burnside Road and SW Fairhaven Drive due to a landslide. The road will remain closed until further notice.

W Burnside Street is closed between NW 23rd Avenue and NW Skyline Boulevard due to water and rocks in the roadway. Crews hope to have the street reopen by the evening commute, but are still experiencing rain as debris washes into the street.

NW Cornell Road is closed between NW Thompson Street and NW Westover Road due to downed trees and power lines. It has been reported that drivers are ignoring barricades at NW Westover. The public is advised not to drive past barricades and to follow signs. Driving past barricades is dangerous to both the driver and those working to reopen the street and may be punishable by a $360 citation.

SW Kingston Avenue is closed between SW Tichner Drive and SW Fairview Boulevard due to a downed tree.

NE Fremont Street is closed between NE 9th Avenue and NE 12th Avenue due to street flooding.

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  • El Biciclero January 19, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    I only recall seeing one other cyclist on my way to work today. Usually I see two or three…

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  • Schrauf January 19, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    This weather is fun. The key is to either 1) bring a full change of clothes so you can change at your destination (everything, top to bottom, on a day like today), or 2) full gore-tex and booties or other waterproof gear.

    My problem is I always get too hot with more than light layers, so I choose the first option and get soaked, and then change. Not sure why I invested in waterproof gear. By the time it is cold enough that I can wear it comfortably, it is about 25 degrees. And usually not too wet at that temperature!

    But my waterproof “bike” gear works well for hiking.

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  • whyat January 19, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Holy freakin’ wet. I didn’t see any other cyclists until the Couch/Burnside bridge approach. All my soaked gear is currently in front of a heat pump at my office. 3 other riders (out of 5) made it in.

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  • craig harlow January 19, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    Owing to the rain, today was the first day I said “no way”. Used a zipcar to drop off the kids at two schools and daycare, and TriMet to make the 1.5 mile trip to the office. Just not willing to be wet all day at work 🙂

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    • craig harlow January 19, 2012 at 12:20 pm

      …However, I switched last week to wearing lightweight wool slacks instead of cotton khakis for work. Allows me to stay much warmer and dryer while riding, and they dry super fast once I’m indoors. Spend a little extra for Italian make, at Well Suited. Of course, I had to step up the rest of my work wardrobe to match the pants. Could boost my dating prospects too.

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  • scottb January 19, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    I saw few people on the way in but it was pretty deserted on Ankeny.

    I have just learned to accept that I am going to be wet on days like these and bring along an extra set of clothes. My only item of winter cycling apparel that has not manged to leak (yet?) are my SealSkinz waterproof socks. So dry feet soaked everything else.

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    • Nathan January 19, 2012 at 1:12 pm

      I’m totally buying some!!!

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  • Lynne January 19, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    Didn’t see any other bikes, but that isn’t unusual. I was very glad to have replaced my brake pads and bald rear tire this past weekend (commuted through the snow/slush as well). Deep puddles. Love my long fenders and serious mudflaps! Riding gear is dripping. Bike is dripping. Fortunately, I live close enough to work that I don’t overheat. My co-worker is still in his socks, because his boots soaked through.

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  • Monica January 19, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    Showers Pass jacket with optional hood velocroed in under my helmet, Gore Bike PacLite pants (the only ones I’ve found that fit tall women) and Endura Booties kept me cozy and dry–but I always shower and change when i get to work anyway. My gloves are a mess and I was pondering the wool/deerskin glove combo that Clever Cycles promotes. That might work better in this weather. Has anyone tried that in the rain?

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    • Nathan January 19, 2012 at 1:06 pm

      I’ve been using a Giro winter wool blend glove. They tend to be warm enough down to 35 degrees with rain, but I was facing numbness and fingernail pain below that.

      Neoprene and wool-type gloves tend to get wet, but insulate all the while, which is nice. They just smell interesting and stay wet for a while afterward.

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    • kj January 19, 2012 at 1:50 pm

      i have a pair of leather/cashmere gloves i picked up at a used clothing store last year, and they are big enough to wear with a liner. I have to say even though they get damp/wet in serious weather, my hands have never kept warmer. I love em. Fingers still get a bit gold on the closest days but a liner helps immensely with that.

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    • Scott January 19, 2012 at 2:05 pm

      Get fly fishing gloves. They keep you super warm, regardless of how wet your hands get (kind of like wool) and they dry very quickly.

      When I went to get the link it turns out they got the hint and are now marketing a cycling glove.

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      • Bruce January 19, 2012 at 3:45 pm

        Bi-Mart has had in the past some very serviceable neoprene gloves that work well in the rain.

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  • MossHops January 19, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    Relatively light bike traffic today. My big “learning experience” for the day is that booties are useful for keeping cold water next to your ankles. Anyone else have a better “keeping the feet dry” technique?

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    • Monica January 19, 2012 at 12:56 pm

      In my experience, your rain pants need to be long and loose enough to go over the top of your booties so the water can’t run in. I choked at the price of my Gore BIke Paclite pants, but so far they have been worth every penny. They go on easily over the top of whatever pants I’m wearing (without even taking off my shoes–handy when you catch a downpour mid-commute) and they roll up small enough to carry in my pannier at all times.

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    • rex January 19, 2012 at 1:04 pm

      zip your pants over your booties not under

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    • beelnite January 19, 2012 at 1:26 pm

      I covered my shoes in bread bags then slipped my booties over the bags. It would have worked – except I can’t figure out how to seal the bags so water doesn’t travel from my pants to inside my booties! Rubber bands maybe… I’m seriously considering knee-high waders… I was damp, socks soaked but not waterlogged… still I yearn for a solution. It’s all about the feet and hands for me.

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  • Katie A. January 19, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    Reporting in from Eugene…

    Only saw one other cyclist on my commute (normally at least 10), and the Willamette River is really full! Normally the lowest point on the bike path is about 5′ above the level of the water, today it looked like about 2′. And I clearly need to get new rain pants because my old ones did not do too well today. Good thing I got an REI gift card for xmas!

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  • stace January 19, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Like others said, the streets were empty of people on bikes. The ride from St. Johns to SE was pretty quiet. I didn’t see anyone else biking until I hit the esplanade. I find that it’s not so bad once you get out there and get going. It always looks worse from inside.

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  • Spencer Boomhower January 19, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    Driving on N Flint just north of Broadway around 8 am this morning, I was thoroughly impressed by the steady stream of people on bikes. I kinda wanted to do like that bus driver Sarah tweeted about, and declare them my heroes.

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  • Matt January 19, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    I saw a few other riders here on the west side, but not many. Fanno Creek has become Fanno River, or maybe more like Fanno Lake this week, so I’ve had to use my alternate route. Waterproof helmet cover, Goretex shell and rain paints a must in this weather, especially on a 5+ mile commute like mine. Full fenders also a must. Get to work, change- no harder than any other day with the right gear.

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  • Joseph E January 19, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    At least we are getting ice like Seattle:

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  • Lake McTighe January 19, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    I love the weather! It makes me feel alive! I am so happy I finally got around to replacing my old rain gear. I was dry and toasty the whole ride in and my beautiful, awesome Ortlieb panniers were fantastic as usual. I saw lots of other folks on bikes and felt proud to be a Portlander.

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  • G. Tyler January 19, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Few regulars on the Springwater between 122nd and Sellwood. Called in a tree that is down on 19th & Linn SE that is blocking the trail. Broke the branches out of the middle so at least you can get through without going around and getting muddy. Big puddle on the Springwater near Johnson Creek Blvd but not up to BB depth yet! Sealskinz, rainpants, gortex jacket with the hood up worked great for me.

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  • q`Tzal January 19, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    () Wool is your friend. Smartwool is good: Wabi Woolens is better. Like that old-timer’s colon joke “You be good to your wool – it’ll be good to you.”
    () Avoid riding on wet metal at all costs. Don’t dive in to traffic to avoid at the last minute but plan your line far enough in advance so you are going as straight as possible. Wet metal will be almost as slick as black ice so consider carefully when you ride over it where you will fall when you have to correct you path.
    () Know your route’s dry surface conditions intimately. Especially in the heavier rain we are having how your eyes will not be drawn to avoid the drain grate, pavement seam or that ODOT “(: Your tax dollars at work! :)” core hole that they left unfilled in the road. Know where the dangers are and the rain’s only safety impact on you is that it causes others to drive stupid.

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  • Patrick January 19, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    Carradice Poncho + spats kept me dry from rain & sweat. Been using a poncho for years and it is the best option for commuting. Only when the rain is very hard or very windy do I even use the spats. Keeps my hands dry too so gloves getting wet are not an issue. Spats keep my shoes & lower legs completely dry.

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    • mabsf January 19, 2012 at 1:58 pm

      I have the poncho, but couldn’t find the spats and I got a little wet…
      Big problem though were the glasses…

      Other problem were driver who forgot all about the rain in their dry cars…

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    • craig harlow January 19, 2012 at 2:07 pm

      Anybody know of a local manufacturer of this kind of gear?

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    • Alex Reed January 19, 2012 at 2:14 pm

      I love my Carradice poncho but when I had the spats, they kept slipping below my knees. What’s your experience? Do you have the waxed cotton or the synthetic ones? I had the synthetic ones….

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  • Paul Johnson January 19, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    McLUT? M.C. Lut?

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  • Oliver January 19, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    I got such a thorough soaking, (booties, shoes, tights, hat, gaiter) during the snowy rainstorm on Tuesday morning that I got scared off and have been on the Max since.

    Maybe tomorrow.

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  • becky January 19, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    My water-resistant pants gave up resistance about half-way through my short commute and I ended up with cold wet knees. (I shouldn’t have wore my work pants underneath though. I was a bit sloppy looking for a few hours.)

    I wore knee high rain boots (it was that or snow boots!) to keep my feet dry.

    (just looked out the window and it’s stopped raining, everyone: leave for home now!!!)

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  • MeghanH January 19, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    Finally stole my husband’s skiing gaiters, and they kept much of the rain out of my goretex shoes. It would have been a great day to bike (because car traffic was horrible) but I only made it to about 52nd & Clinton before getting a flat tire. That meant putting the bike on Trimet and then sitting on the bus for another hour to go four miles. Hoping for better bike commuting karma on the way home…

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    • beelnite January 19, 2012 at 3:40 pm

      Stop Flats2! Tire liners for the urban rider. I swear by them. The rolling resistance isn’t noticeable for commuting… and I’d rather get there than walk my bike trying to save 0.8 mph. I’m a bit fanatical about flats – went with 28c for thickness and the liners. The guy at the LBS said, “Dude… rolling resistance.” To wit I replied, “Dude… flats are big time resistance!”

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  • Blake January 19, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    Missed out on the ride this morning because my cat soiled my bag. Any suggestions on new bags? I need waterproof and big enough to carry groceries (current bag is a Timbuk2, not sure which size, but pretty spacious–I can fit an 18pack of beer inside comfortably).

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    • SilkySlim January 19, 2012 at 2:22 pm

      There are a lot of local bag makers, some are listed in the sidebar at right under “Components/Accessories”. I live right near Black Star, and think they rock.

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    • AlanG24 January 19, 2012 at 11:47 pm

      Before buying a new bag, go get a bottle of Nature’s Miracle Urine Destroyer (yes, that’s the name). It does work miracles.

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    • captainkarma January 23, 2012 at 2:06 pm

      I’d suggest a new cat.

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  • Paul Souders January 19, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Today was great, I love the warm, wet weather like this. Makes you feel good to be alive. Bummer is that I have to use “wet” lube which attracts debris. That and my glasses get all foggy.

    I largely quit wearing “waterproof” gear a few years ago. I realized GETTING wet is worse than BEING wet. Like jumping into a cold swimming pool: get it over with and start having fun.

    And without all those layers (rainpants especially) I feel sleek and slippery, like a dolphin or an otter. On a bike! Like all zealots I kind of pity my brethren who haven’t yet received this revelation, laboring along in their portable saunas while one thin bead of cold water drips down their back.

    Warm beats dry. Wool is indeed your friend. Bring dry clothes for work.

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    • Scott January 19, 2012 at 2:09 pm

      Agreed. I ditched dry long ago in favor of temperature control. Way more effective in practice and in cost.

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    • Nathan January 19, 2012 at 3:24 pm

      Also, the feeling of having super-expensive rain gear wet through is heart crushing. Wool and backup clothes are great for a commute to work.

      For social trips, wool baselayer leggings, wet jeans, and a rain shell are shaping up to be my uniform. However, after reading this thread, a poncho might be in my future…

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    • Champs January 19, 2012 at 3:46 pm

      Soggy wool? No thanks. One of those weird Cascadian things like refusing to use umbrellas.

      Some people hold the strange delusion that wearing pants and a jacket won’t make them warmer if it’s raingear.

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      • craig harlow January 19, 2012 at 3:50 pm

        ?? Soggy cotton was the reason I switched to lightweight wool pants last week, and though I showed up to work with wet legs, they were perfectly dry within 30 minutes. When they’re wet they’re still warm. When they’re out of the rain once more, they’re dry soon enough.

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      • Paul Johnson January 19, 2012 at 4:23 pm

        More like one of those Boy Scout things because it stays warm when wet, cool when sunny, and breathes well whenever it’s not dirty.

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  • Richard January 19, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Wet, but fine. Wore what I usually wear.
    City just regraded and repaved a portion of the Oaks Bottom trail down to the Springwater Willamette trail; it used to flood in these conditions, but it was high and dry today. A major improvement!

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  • Jram January 19, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    does anyone else catch themselves laughing uncontrollably when riding in the worst weather? i have no idea why, but if i’m riding in a storm i usually catch myself laughing at the whole situation. sometimes it’s a feeling of “i really expected to hate this, but i am really enjoying it” and sometimes i just start laughing and i have no clue why.

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    • Richard January 19, 2012 at 2:10 pm

      I’m not the only one? Sometimes when a drenching rain gets even heavier, I’ll just laugh and yell “Bring it on!”

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    • James Sherbondy January 19, 2012 at 2:12 pm

      YES! I was once riding over the I-5 over pass on Flint and was literally stopped by the wind gusts and pelting rain. I couldn’t stop laughing for a good five minutes and it took hours for the grin to fade away. Our skin is waterproof for a reason, being in the elements is fun!

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    • stasia January 19, 2012 at 2:29 pm

      Yes! Yes yes yes. It’s often hard to launch myself into the weather, but once I’m out there it’s just so ridiculous to be getting pelted with rain or snow or hail or whatever than I can’t help but laugh. And my favorite thing ever is the conspiratorial smiles with other cyclists going by who are clearly also enjoying themselves. Awesome!

      I was actually surprised by the number of people still on their way downtown this morning. Rock it, everyone! 🙂

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    • q`Tzal January 19, 2012 at 2:41 pm

      Charging maniacally through snow cover that stranded almost every auto on side streets a couple years ago.
      Laughing sardonically at a driver who, himself stuck in the snow near NW 19th and Thurman, started to laugh at me when I got stuck. I pointedly picked up bike and kept going. Once on my way my laugh let him know that he was driving the inefficient mode.

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  • Alex January 19, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Booties make all the difference in the world. You’ll have no need for waterproof socks and you’ll be warm and dry the entire ride. You just need to be clipless to use them. Showers Pass rain pants work real well but don’t breath as well as I’d like when it’s warmer. I might graduate to waterproof tights soon. My thick fleece gloves keep me warm but get soaked in downpours like today so add waterproof gloves to my list. I’m still using an old Marmot rain shell that works pretty well but the sleeves aren’t long enough for riding so my wrists are exposed. Also add a true cycling jacket to the list.
    I’d much rather ride in weather like today over frosty conditions.
    Watch out for new or larger pot holes after the snow melted. SE Woodward is even worse than before, btw.

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    • Doug Smart January 19, 2012 at 3:55 pm

      Re: Booties – note the early comment from MossHops. I found a spot this morning where the water didn’t reach my bottom bracket, but would have negated any booties. Today was a day to eschew rain pants, wear shorts, and bring a change for work.

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  • Tommy B. January 19, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    I stayed mostly “dry” until I hit an unexpectedly deep puddle right before the i-5 overpass on N. Vancouver. It’s like that flipped some sort of switch and all the water molecules on my jacket/pants became emboldened and decided to find ways inside my clothes. There was even a little puddle in the bottom of my daughter’s trailer, which I have no idea how the rain got in there, but as usual she was dry and happy as a clam.

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  • Dave January 19, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    My only piece of rain gear is a poncho, which, as Patrick said, covers my hands as well, so I didn’t even need gloves today, since it was pretty warm. For my feet, I just keep well-treated leather motorcycle-type boots (not the super-heavy-duty kind, just nice, sturdy ones), which keep my feet dry short of stomping around in puddles, and I wear a wool cap with a brim, which both absorbs a lot of water (so my head doesn’t get wet), and diverts dripping water in front of my face, so it doesn’t just run down my face.

    I’m not going to say I love riding in weather like this, but it is what it is. You have to get there somehow, and I still appreciate the quiet time my ride gives me before and after work, even if I’m getting wet 🙂

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  • Scott January 19, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    I rode in and I thouroughly disliked it. I just wish that something would happen with the rain. I miss thunder and lightning.

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  • Ryno Dan January 19, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    Fender extenders work wonders to keep the water away, especially in front. I use the ” cut-out half-waterbottle” kind.

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  • Richard Risemberg January 19, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    May seem funny to write about rain from Los angeles, but when it does rain here it often rains really hard.

    What I use is a Carradice Pro Route poncho and helmet cover; like every other bike poncho, it covers my hands most of the time as well. (Sometimes I get sloppy.) Ponchos work only if the bike has fenders, of course, being open on the bottom, but they also prevent the overheating that rainsuits inevitably cause.

    Wool underneath; I stick to my own Bicycle Fixation brand, but as long as it’s wool and not too heavy, it will keep you comfortable even if you do get wet, and will dry out quickly.

    I’ve done forty-mile round trips (to a work project meeting in fact) in that get-up, in steady moderate to hard rain, plus shorter runs as well of course.

    I’d buy rain spats if it rained more often here, but with wool socks on I don’t care much if my feet get wet on occasion.

    Visor on helmet or hat, naturally.

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  • sbrisko January 19, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    Since this is already turning into a mini-support group for “crazy people who ride in all kinds of weather”, does anyone else have a hard time to explaining to friends, loved ones, co-workers why that you don’t “hate riding in the rain” but actually sort of enjoy/look forward to it?

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    • Paul Johnson January 19, 2012 at 5:06 pm

      It’s almost the only time you can get through the Springwater Corridor at a normal speed due to the lack of sidewalks and heavy cycleway traffic.

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    • Dave January 19, 2012 at 5:52 pm


      “You didn’t ride your bike today, did you?”


      *blank look*


      It’s hard to explain that I’d rather be wet and calm than dry and stressed out in traffic, not being able to see, and worrying about injuring someone without sounding like I’m tsk-tsking them.

      I don’t think my family understands, but they just kind of nod and smile 🙂

      Though really, if I had my choice on a day like today, I’d just stay home, read, and drink tea all day.

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  • Mike Fish January 19, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    Still saw 4-5 other bikers going through Ladd’s Addition this morning. Not as many as usual, but it wasn’t deserted either. My rain pants got soaked through and got my work pants wet… wore some athletic shorts in the morning! I knew that rain pants aren’t really made for keeping your thighs as dry as the need to be when you’re biking through a deluge, but I guess I needed a reminder! Will be better fortified tomorrow if need be.

    Also, two nights ago someone placed a log (4-6 inches in diameter) over the Springwater Corridor (around 8pm) right at the bottom of that little U-dip where the trail forms a T intersection with the Oaks Bottom Trail. I hit it and was lucky (and absolutely amazed) that I didn’t crash. Be careful if you’re biking through there at night.

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  • Champs January 19, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    When I get out on the road in this weather, it’s not on my road bike, and I don’t kit up in spandex, shoes, et al.

    The general rule of riding in the rain: only your butt and your gloves (if any) absolutely need to be dry at all times. It’s perfectly OK to get wet anywhere else, so long as you’re warm.

    Tip #1: if you wouldn’t wear pants or a light jacket if it was dry, those magical, waterproof-yet-breathable fabrics are gonna be nasty sweaty too.

    Tip #2: if it’s 70+, just deal with getting wet. You won’t get cold. Wear some shoes that won’t get soggy and funky. I like the Salomon Techamphibians (for many reasons besides this).

    Tip #3: if it’s not really jacket weather yet, a rain vest will keep up your core temp without being sweaty. Resist the urge to wear gloves.

    Tip #4: that expensive synthetic outerwear is still cheaper and dries faster than an investment in wool.

    Tip #5: when your handlebars and/or saddle are wet, wipe them down with anything but your gloves!

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    • Stripes January 19, 2012 at 8:08 pm

      I notice a lot of folks here are of the mindset that it’s totally okay to get soaked to the core in your clothes sans raingear while riding, so long as you’re warm.

      I’d just like to point out that not everybody who rides a bike in the rain is heading home to merely slob out by themselves on the sofa with a plate of nachos and season four of The Wire.

      Some of us have places to show up to that involve us looking professional and presentable. There is no way in hell I would be allowed to show up to a work meeting soaked through to the skin and with my sopping wet hair pasted to my head. Raingear might not be perfect, but it’s not all that bad.

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      • Schrauf January 19, 2012 at 9:12 pm

        Very true, but I think a lot of people change at their destination, if it is work or anywhere else they need to be presentable. Even if you don’t need or want to shower, it is easy to change – for most people.

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  • cpac January 19, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    I saw only a few people on my commute from NW to downtown today. I wore outlier pants that dried quickly once I got to the office. The only thing I’ll change in the future is getting some boots (ll bean duck boots or similar) as my normal dress shoes got wetter than I would have liked.

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  • Sherry January 19, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    it was the #15 bus driver. He pulled up next to me while I was waiting at a red light downtown. I thought at first he was going to yell at me about something (even though I wasn’t doing anything wrong), and it turns out he was giving me a compliment…totally made my day!!
    (the part about me being crazy is absolutely true, btw)

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  • sd January 19, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    After many wet winters I have the most warm, dry feet and socks this winter commuting and running with running shoes that have an attached waterproof gaiter. Saucony ProGrid Razor 2.0.

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  • Boneshaker January 19, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    The worst day riding is still better than the best day driving…

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  • Chris January 19, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    Best…Gloves…Ever: Mountain Hardware Epic Gloves.

    Definitely not a riding glove, but my budget requires items that can multi-task. They are completely waterproof, have the best grip of any glove I’ve ever used (good enough for ice climbing), and they are lined just enough to wick away moisture but not too much that you sweat from the inside-out in temperate regions like the PNW.

    Next favorite piece: wool socks.

    Does anyone out there still swear by their cotton socks on days like these?

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  • Lenny Anderson
    Lenny Anderson January 19, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    My “inner downhill skier” loves this weather…think of all that great snow up on the mountain! Yes! And its a great test of your gear.
    But now that we’ve banned plastic bags, I’m not sure what I’ll do for low cost dry feet when my current bags giveout. Gotta have dry socks at work.
    And now’s a great time to get down to the existing Willamette Greenway Trail on Swan Island to “watch the River rise.” Still a long way to go to High Water.

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    • Chris I January 20, 2012 at 9:28 am

      It’s actually pretty bad snow up on the mountain right now. Cascade concrete. Very wet and warm. They need the base, though. Hopefully we get some lighter stuff on top!

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  • dwainedibbly January 19, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    Merino wool! If for some reason you must buy online instead of local, steepandcheap has deals sometimes.

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  • Stripes January 19, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    Wet weather doesn’t bother me too much. Although the behavior of others on the road – motorists & bicyclists alike – does give me cause for concern.

    What makes me really mad, is that they can send people to the moon & back, but have yet to invent waterproof raingear, gloves & foot covers that actually continue to work for longer than 20 minutes while biking in downpours.

    Can anybody explain to me how this is even possible?

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  • Kit January 19, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    The 1-84 bike path from 122nd to 182nd is flooded as well. Poor drainage makes for a wet ride (as well as the spray from the freeway). Trick: have a desk fan at work to dry out your shoes under your desk.

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    • Chris I January 20, 2012 at 9:29 am

      I usually take San Rafael to avoid the freeway spray, noise, and pollution.

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  • ScoBu January 19, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    I ride to downtown from St Johns at 6:30am so I don’t normally see many other cyclists anyways but saw none this morning. And yes, my rain jacket, rain pants and booties all failed within the first 4 miles. I normally don’t mind the rain but between yesterday (anyone else have to ride through miles of 5″ rivers of water, snow, and slush?) and today…let just say I was happy the ride home was dry!ha!

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  • Chris January 19, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    I got out today. It was my first real opportunity to use the “conestoga cover” for my bike trailer. It kept my tools dry!

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  • Todd Waddell January 19, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    I absolutely LOVE riding in the rain. It’s completely like being a kid again and splashing in the puddles! I’ve been bummed that the winter has been really dry

    So, today. My three year old and I jumped onto our Winther Wallaroo for the 10 mi r/t from N. Clackamas to Oregon City for his occupational therapy appointment. We both had a great time on the way there, and he was comfortable enough that he fell asleep on the way home.

    (Riding in jeans and a cotton sweater, with bontrager rain pants, gore shoe covers, and a showers pass jacket, I was a bit “humid” when we arrived, and damp but pt sodden when we got home.)

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  • AlanG24 January 20, 2012 at 12:09 am

    I made my fender-extender/mud flaps based on this link:

    I used rubber stair tread (Parkrose Hardware sells it; stays pliable even when cold). I used a wide pattern from the top of the flap to the bottom instead of the triangle shape on the webpage, above. Instead of pop rivets, I used heavy zip ties to attach them to my Planet Bike fenders.

    Have been riding with them for 3 years – they work really well.

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  • Doug Morgan January 20, 2012 at 3:40 am

    Try a rain cape.

    I got mine on e-bay for $20 from China. The Chinese use them universally and there are great pictures of dozens of multi-colored rain capes at intersections.

    They are like a tent so the are inherently more breathable then coats worn close to your body. I think people just wear their normal clothing under the cape, I’ve worn bike gear because I’ve just used it on downpours on training rides.

    The other big advantage is the ability to escape the wind by covering your hands with the cape (there are hand loops) and they stay warmer and much dryer under the cape. The cape also seems to keep tops of your knees drier than any rainpants ever do.

    My results have been real very good.

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    • Todd Waddell January 24, 2012 at 12:33 pm


      I bought a rain cape this season with high hopes. Unfortunately, the hand loops flummoxed me. I couldn’t figure out an easy way to get my hands out of the loops quickly so that I could signal a turn. And then I couldn’t figure out how to quickly and safely get my hands back in the loop.

      Thoughts, tips?

      Todd Waddell

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  • Mary January 20, 2012 at 7:07 am

    Your storm made it to Minneapolis this morning, but the Cascades must have wrung out the worst of the moisture. I enjoyed riding to work with a light, dry snow falling at 4 degrees. It sure slicked up the freeways, though, and I’m sitting in my office with nobody to see, because the cars are going noplace.

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  • Patrick January 20, 2012 at 10:11 am

    To answer the SPATS question–I use the carradice waxed cotton spats and hold them up with a small string tied around the top of my calf. Otherwise mine also always fall down. I also tried safety pins but it tore a hole in my pants. The ponch is also good for keeping ventalation–during the warm spring rains I have worn only a t-shit & pants and kept cool on my ride.

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  • mh January 20, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Any amount of rain was wonderful, compared to the previous morning’s slick slush. Dunno why I didn’t crash on Wednesday, but Thursday’s rain on clear pavement made me grin all the way in.

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  • spare_wheel January 20, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    i love biking in the rain:

    *there are fewer vehicles/people in my way.
    *i have a good excuse to take the lane all the time.
    *i don’t get overheated when i crank like mad.

    synthetic tights, gloves, booties, and rain jackets rock in the rain! light, breathable, and fast drying. the only thing that still annoys is that all 3 shoes leak somewhat around the cleat-plate interface.

    PS: i don’t get woolen ware. its scratchy, smells like sheep, and is very expensive.

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    • craig harlow January 20, 2012 at 4:02 pm

      Well, for non-itchy wool there is a pricetag.

      My long underwear are merino–no itch, and $70 at REI (they have a close-out on women’s now at $35). My lightweight pants are cashmere (Italian)–no itch, and only $50. Lightweight merino socks can be had for about $15. Probably find even better prices in the Next Adventure bargain basement.

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  • resopmok January 20, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    same kit i’ve been using for years now – wool cycling cap, showers pass rain jacket, rainlegs chaps (or showers pass pants if it’s pouring and i’ve got a long ways to go.. they are just so hot i usually end up soaked in sweat instead), cycling shoes with covers if it’s really coming down.

    the real key is fenders, of the full protective variety with long mudflaps. the front mudflap should be close to the ground. this is what will protect your feet and your drivetrain from the majority of road grime. the rear mudflap is courtesy for the people who have to ride behind you. please be courteous.

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  • Spiffy January 24, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    forgot to mention, but on SE Lake Rd (Milwaukie-ish) near 224 they had put some “High Water” signs directly in the bike lanes on each side… I moved them further over into the parking strip…

    the drain right there going into the Unified Grocers old bank building grass yard area backs up and the entire area gets flooded…

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  • michael downes March 13, 2012 at 9:43 am

    I strangely chose not to don my waterproofs in an aberrant surge of optimism for which I was truly punished. Frightful out there…

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