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How are you holding up so far this winter?

Posted by on January 25th, 2018 at 4:45 pm

Through rain and wind and darkness and crap in the bike lanes — she persisted!
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Let’s talk about the weather.

I know there have been worse winters; but it’s been awfully wet and cold out there for a while now and the forecast shows much more of the same. I’m curious how all of you are holding up.

— Are you still riding as much as you usually do? (Be honest, I’ve seen some very lonely bike lanes around town lately)

— Is your rain gear holding up?

— Do you have tips for folks who are new to town and whose enthusiasm for cycling might be waning right about now?

We asked our friends on Twitter and here’s what we’ve heard so far:

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@Ryanmb30 said: “Still riding, but soggier than normal. Unless it ices over, I won’t be leaving the bike home anytime soon.”

@banerjek said: “Oregon’s “liquid sunshine” always makes for good riding. The rain clears the air and the coolness makes swamping out your clothes a total nonissue. What’s not to like?”

@keaton_thomas said: “Getting good use out of the rain gear!”

@jordanpattern said: “Though my weekday workouts are happening on the trainer, I’m riding to work as usual. Definitely need to re-up the waterproofing on my rain pants.”

Thanks for sharing, and keep on riding!

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

119 Comments
  • maxD January 25, 2018 at 5:21 pm

    I’ve had some trials! I snapped a belt on my one-year old belt drive bike! Plus the front gear was worn- LBS blames road grit. I was expecting this to last a long time, so pretty disappointed. I have had a few flats recently and finding lost of tiny shards of brown glass in my tires. I think it is time to add mudflaps (I’ve been reading Jan Heine’s blog). I have also been trying to remind myself what a relatively easy fall winter we had so far, and to be happy there is no ice! Cold and wet is just our winter conditions- we are not made of sugar!

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    • John Lascurettes January 25, 2018 at 6:41 pm

      Wow! I’ve never heard of a belt snapping. That’s crazy. I’ve been riding my center-track belt drive for 6 years with zero issues with the drive train itself (Alfine 11 IGH has needed an oil change in that time).

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      • Buzz January 25, 2018 at 9:01 pm

        Transmission, in this case internal hub, is part of ‘drive train’.

        Just sayin’…

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        • Dan A January 26, 2018 at 8:33 am

          Isn’t an oil change just regular maintenance of the transmission? I’m unfamiliar with internal hub maintenance.

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          • John Lascurettes January 26, 2018 at 11:56 am

            Yup. The Alfine 11 and the Rolhoff (sp?) internal gear hubs have an oil well that should get rotated once in a long while like a car’s transmission through a drain hole. Most IGHs though are lubed with a grease or thicker oil where if they need a re-lube they have to be taken apart and then dipped into the lubricant.

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        • TonyT
          TonyT January 26, 2018 at 9:07 am

          Oil change is regular maintenance. For the Alfine they recommend, if memory serves, the first oil change after 1000km and every 5000k after that. My wife uses an Alfine 11 with belt drive and has had zero issues for 3+ years.

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          • John Lascurettes January 26, 2018 at 11:57 am

            Exactly. This drive train has been an all-seasondream. I love it. So low maintenance, especially in the winter.

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            • Dan A January 26, 2018 at 12:51 pm

              Yeah, that sounds pretty sweet. When I ride in this kind of weather, I end up cleaning and lubing my chain every other ride.

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              • John Lascurettes January 27, 2018 at 1:46 pm

                I did too before I got the belt drive. I do ride a single speed in the dry months (because it’s more fun!) but you don’t have to wipe down a chain after every wet ride when it’s not raining.

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  • Adam January 25, 2018 at 5:31 pm

    New rain gear this year. Life is warm and dry. I am back to enjoying the feeling of riding in the rain. Props to Helly Hansen Odin. I am super impressed.

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  • Nathan January 25, 2018 at 5:42 pm

    Just biked up East Broadway yesterday during rush hour and the Blazers game and it was a bit terrifying. Should’ve switched my front light to flasher mode. Get that high-vis on and just assume every driver is trying to kill. Welcome to winter.

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  • Jeff January 25, 2018 at 6:11 pm

    Piece of cake, to be honest. Compared with last winter, it has been warm, almost no snow or ice, so I’m happy

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    • stephan January 25, 2018 at 11:01 pm

      Yupp, does not feel terribly hard. I encourage anyone to get out there, this is really the best way to get through the winter. I get an hour if light exposure every day just by biking to and from work, and I do think it makes a difference.

      As to gear: I am all wool and loving it! People keep asking me where my rain gear is …

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    • Chris January 26, 2018 at 12:34 pm

      Same here, I parked for probably a week and a half total last winter with the way the roads were. Smooth sailing this year, it’s just rain.

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  • John Lascurettes January 25, 2018 at 6:39 pm

    As a victim of a slow-motion layoff that started before Fall and ended on NYE, I’ve mostly worked from home all winter and only commuted by bike four times in November and December. And when I did go into the office, I was more likely to take the bus because of the planned drinking after work. I’ve been meaning to run some errands on my bike anyway (got a TiGr lock for xmas) but I either don’t leave myself enough time to do it by bike, or I just wuss out because I don’t want to dig up all my rain and cold gear. I miss riding though.

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    • Middle of the Road Guy January 25, 2018 at 7:20 pm

      It’s winter. Don’t beat yourself up. I totally respect the folks who can tolerate biking all year round – I can’t.

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      • Buzz January 25, 2018 at 9:02 pm

        copping out, it’s popular these days!

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        • Middle of the Road Guy January 26, 2018 at 9:01 am

          I bike for fun. I don’t find it enjoyable to bike in 40 degrees and rain.

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          • GNnorth January 26, 2018 at 11:33 am

            Did 25.7 this morning here in BC in the wind and rain combo, it was a lot of fun actually. There are days when I dread that type of weather but it doesn’t take long to get past it and into the ride.

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          • John Lascurettes January 26, 2018 at 12:00 pm

            I enjoy biking in the cold. I even enjoy biking in the rain. Part of that was that I had showers and towels at either end of my commute. When running errands though, I’m not as thrilled about biking in cold+wet.

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        • Toby Welborn January 26, 2018 at 10:11 am

          Supportive.

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    • BrianC January 25, 2018 at 10:14 pm

      My last client and I agreed there was nothing for me to do on their project at the beginning of December. So I’ve taken Dec/Jan off and haven’t had to bike commute.

      I pretty much ride rain or shine at all times of day now. Having swapped pretty much to the bike for everything. Last year saw about 4000 miles driven total for the household. Including a camping trip last summer that was maybe ~800 of that.

      I don’t have the best gear, but I kayaked year ’round for years, so cold and wet doesn’t bother me that much… Unless my feet and head get cold. ::sadface:: I actually prefer wet, because it keeps the dust down which means no messing up my contact lens while riding. Nothing like riding through a cloud of road dust and having to stop and mess with a contact lens. (Even with protective glasses.)

      However… I am a *big* fan of fenders. Plus I had Jude and crew at SugarWheels build up a set of wheels with front dyno for each bike I use for commuting. Two thumbs up for a Shutter Precision hub and Busch and Muller sp? Luxos light set.

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      • BB January 26, 2018 at 3:20 pm

        My last client decided that there was something to do on their project today, and tomorrow, and every day for as long as I can tell. Some of us aren’t part of the leisure class and actually have to show up at work every day and don’t consider any of that as comparable to what we do on vacation.

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      • mh January 28, 2018 at 1:40 pm

        +1, or really +4 on the SP hubs and lights.

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  • curly January 25, 2018 at 6:57 pm

    Was struck by a vehicle on Outer Division in November and haven’t commuted by bike since. Local riding only. Hardware store, groceries, and short trips. A bike, bus, bike commute working well.
    I’ll be in Tucson, AZ in a few weeks and am shipping the road bike for some “fun in the sun” rides.
    Read Deke N Blue’s new book “Just Drive, Life In The Bus Lane”. Laughed, cried, and learned a lot. BP was mentioned and I highly recommend it to anyone who walks, bikes, takes transit, or drives.
    Rain gear still good. Galoshes keep my feet dry.
    Enjoy the winter rides because “Bike Rush Hour” is getting closer. Safe Travels to all!

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    • Michael H January 25, 2018 at 9:40 pm

      That’s awful, hope you’re alright!

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    • Bald One January 26, 2018 at 1:33 pm

      Agreed, love the lonely MUPs on a nasty day. Dog-walkers, tourists, and joggers just biding their time before they get out and clog the paths on a nicer day.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu January 25, 2018 at 7:07 pm

    With good rain gear, I don’t mind getting caught in the rain. But it’s hard to start riding a 45 minute commute to Vancouver in the dark when it’s raining hard. The car is right there, dry and beckoning.

    But I’ve still managed to hold my driving to about a day a week, and to ride my bike (or, if working downtown, the bus) four days a week. When you need to charge the car battery because it’s not being driven enough to stay charged, I call that a sort of victory.

    I’ve learned, or rather relearned, the importance of bike maintenance and equipment. When you get a flat on the I-5 bridge, find your pump is broken, and have to walk miles in the rain to get to work, that qualifies as a teachable moment.

    Keep riding, everyone! Invest in a rain jacket, rain pants, and booties. Put good, meaning bright, lights on your bike. Take care, just like I have trouble seeing with rain streaming down my glasses, drivers can’t see as well with rain pelting on their windshields.

    Keep riding! Come spring, we’ll feel a lot better, fitter and readier to welcome the sunshine, than if we sit on our asses all winter. Plus, the more we ride, the more beer we can drink.

    Hope I see you on the road! White jacket, white helmet, white Peugeot, gray backpack. Say hi as you pass me!

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    • BrianC January 25, 2018 at 10:07 pm

      Oh man that sounds terrible… I hate, hate, hate, mechanicals in the rain…

      So I use Schwalbe Green Guard Marathon 700c x 32 on commuter #1 and Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tour 700c x 38’s on commuter #2. I have run over roofing staples and had them in the tire for a couple of weeks before finding and removing them. Just had a slow leak which required adding air every couple of days.

      They are slower than my Compass tires, but the Compass tires get cut to shreds with all the broken glass I wind up running over.

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      • John Liu
        John Liu January 25, 2018 at 10:44 pm

        I’ve been thinking about loading my tubes with sealant. Or carrying a can of Vittoria Pitstop or similar.

        My commute bike can only take tires up to 25 mm so no super flat resistant tires.

        Soon I’ll be starting a project to build a commuter bike with full chaincase, drum brakes, 5 speed hub gears, fenders, wide tires, etc. Idea being a bike that needs only needs maintenance once a year. It is really hard to remove the wheels on those, to fix flats, so I need to find some way to not get flats.

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        • Andrew Kreps January 26, 2018 at 2:00 pm

          Do it. I do, and it’s glorious.

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        • David Hampsten January 26, 2018 at 7:15 pm

          You can get Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires as small as 700c x 25mm. They also make a line called Durano down to 700c x 23mm as a “Plus” with the extra rubber. Paired with some Sunlite 4.3mm thorn-resistant tubes, you’d have to take a nailgun to get a flat.

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      • David Hampsten January 25, 2018 at 10:54 pm

        Y’all might consider bullet-proof (thorn resistant) inner tubes, $15-$20 retail ($5 wholesale from J&B). They are a bit like garden hoses, very heavy, so make sure the tube size actually matches your tire size.

        I’m lucky I live in a community that actually cleans all city streets at least once per month. We’ve had a couple cold snowy days, a few weeks of cold dry air (lows in the teens), and several days of 60s and even a day in the 70s.

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      • John Lascurettes January 26, 2018 at 12:03 pm

        Spending big bucks on puncture proofing your tires is never a bad investment. I haven’t been caught by a catastrophic leak in over 8 years (catastrophic being ones that leak faster than you can ride to your destination).

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      • Glenn January 26, 2018 at 12:50 pm

        I commute from Vancouver to the airport (over the I-205 bridge) daily regardless of weather. I also use the Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires (700 X 32). On my first set I got 9,000 miles with only one flat. On my current set, I’ve got 7,500 miles without a flat. I ride through a lot of junk on my route. I am absolutely sold on these tires. I wear SPD-compatible sandals year round. Sealkinz waterproof socks in winter. My feet have never been drier or warmer. I’ll never go back to shoes.

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      • Bald One January 26, 2018 at 1:37 pm

        Yep, finally switched my winter bike commuter from Gatorskin Ultras to Marathon Plus, mainly due to repeated sidewall issue with the Contis. And you get the nice reflective tape on the Schwalbe. Keeping the gator slicks on the summer commuter, though.

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  • Granpa January 25, 2018 at 7:07 pm

    The Showers Pass Amsterdam jacket I got for Christmas has proven to be a champ. Fat tires, ugly commuter bike with good fenders and gore tex over booties make weather just an item of passing conversation.

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    • Rebecca Hamilton January 26, 2018 at 2:57 pm

      +1 for Showers Pass. Their Rogue Hoodie is the best thing I have found for our lovely 43-degrees and rainy days. Waterproof but with a thin fleecey lining – perfect for a commute-paced ride for people who run a little chilly.

      Also Castelli neoprene gloves.

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  • Middle of the Road Guy January 25, 2018 at 7:19 pm

    Zwift and Wahoo Kickr, and beer from Fred Meyer.

    Thankfully hit the Shower’s Pass sale, so once it warms up (and I lose some weight) I’ll be ready for Spring.

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  • Christopher of Portland January 25, 2018 at 7:46 pm

    My car had some problems and I’ve endured my long bus commute many times before, so I finally decided to get to work by bike regularly. I was surprised at how warm I get in 35-40 degree rainy weather with just a shirt, Showers Pass jacket, Gore-Tex pants, and padded tights. The rain isn’t that bad for me, as long as I have clothing that isn’t going to multiply in weight by absorbing water. I’d rather be following a leaky molasses truck than pedaling into some of the wind that we’ve had lately. It would probably take ice or deep snow to stop me.

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    • Buzz January 25, 2018 at 9:05 pm

      I ride in my jeans and I’m thankful for any ride I don’t have to put my rain gear on for; rain gear is always a last resort for me! Only got soaked good once or twice this winter, so so far it’s been a piece of cake!!!

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      • stephan January 25, 2018 at 11:05 pm

        Have you tried wool? I have stopped using my shower pass stuff a couple of years ago and have not looked back. I got a wool jacket that shields most of the rain and wool, when wet, feels much better than wet cotton.

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      • Matt S. January 26, 2018 at 12:56 pm

        I purchased a Showers Pass jacket at their annual warehouse sale and I do like it, however I find myself pretty sweaty after my three mile commute. I’m thinking about going back to my old style of layering polyester. Usually a windproof top, a long sleeve under, and a cotton T against skin. I find it much more breathable and then I just hang my clothes at work for my ten hour work day. I find that I rarely get caught in a heavy rain. As far as my lower half, I wear thick tights.

        It’s more comfortable to get wet than try to keep the rain out. Granted, I have a ten hour work day and am able to hand dry my clothes.

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  • Stephen Keller January 25, 2018 at 9:09 pm

    November and December were dismal as far as miles-ridden goes. Between the flu and travelling, I only managed a handful commutes. January has been much better, I’ve missed a few commute days, but not as many as last year.

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  • Andrea Capp January 25, 2018 at 9:13 pm

    It turns out that I prefer these clouded balmy days to the dry freezing days. The wind is always my biggest complaint. Today I thought I’d be blown off the Burnside Bridge sidewalk!

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    • John Liu
      John Liu January 25, 2018 at 10:50 pm

      The nice thing about cycling is that you stay warm from the exertion.

      I tried commuting on a Vespa for a bit. On the chilliest mornings, I was so cold on that thing, even with full windscreen and legshield. If you think a bike helmet is a pain, imagine a full face motorcycle helmet. And that thing broke down more often than my bike gets flats.

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      • CaptainKarma January 26, 2018 at 12:58 pm

        My son’s Vespa was in the shop more than on the road.

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    • Bald One January 26, 2018 at 1:40 pm

      No doubt! Wind is always my biggest complaint, and sidewind gusts on the bridges – you have to be in the moment for those, can be scary. The days when there is a headwind in the morning and a headwind at night, it’s like riding an extra 50% miles that day.

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  • B. Carfree January 25, 2018 at 9:26 pm

    Flu, more flu, rhinovirus, something unknown and oh the sinus pain has been horrid. Two young grand-daughters have kept me supplied with any and all respiratory tract infections available. I’ve managed to ride to the store, work and to pick up the girls from pre-school, but all joy-riding came to a halt two months ago.

    Gawd, I hope I’m done being ill for the year. I normally love riding in the rain. The air is less polluted, there are fewer cars and for some strange reason motorists seem to give me more of a break. Here’s to a wet February, March and April.

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  • Mike January 25, 2018 at 9:32 pm

    I ride almost every day, and while I am not a fan of the rain, I almost prefer it to the sunny winter days with a strong east wind. My commute is east over the sylvan hill via the bike path. It can be a long slog home with 15+ mph head winds. To stay dry in the rainy weather I wear good rain gear, lightweight hiking boots with a gore-tex membrane, and short gaiters. I get a little damp from the condensation inside, but the wool under layer helps with that. I really like my dynamo light set up as well for the dark and a helmet light to “spotlight” drivers from side streets.

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  • just one skip remount January 25, 2018 at 9:52 pm

    Honestly, this is the least amount of rainy winter day rides Ive had in 20 years! Here’s to going into the spring fit!

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  • Michael H January 25, 2018 at 10:02 pm

    Between the ice, a cold I couldn’t shake for weeks, and getting used to a new commute, I’ve gone from commuting by bike every day to just a few times a week.

    My hand-me-down rain gear’s been holding out okay, but I think it might be the last season for a few of my items. Definitely need to invest in some nice gear!

    Even though I’ve slowed down a bit in the last couple of months, when I do ride I still love it for all of the same reasons I do during the nicer months. I still feel great and energized after a ride, I can still sidestep car traffic by using dedicated bike infrastructure, and I can still have fun with a ride.

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  • Jil January 25, 2018 at 10:38 pm

    I’ve put on 5,800 miles on my e-bike since last January and ride every day unless it is icy. Daily bike commuting in Portland during the winter does take planning and discipline, but it is a lot of fun! For example, the bike and lights need to be charged every night, the weather needs to be monitored to see what gear and supplies are needed for the day, and the bike needs more care.

    I bought a Bouclier visor this year which has made my rides far more comfortable because it keeps the rain out of my face during the day, but unfortunately it is too dark to wear at night and they don’t sell a clear one. My Showers Pass waterproof knit gloves are also great unless it is a total downpour because my hands get cold. Rain pants or at least water resistant pants are a must, along with a hat that covers your ears. Other than that, my rides are pretty comfortable despite the weather.

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  • Softrocker January 25, 2018 at 11:38 pm

    I ride rain or shine… in my mind it’s all about the gear (being comfortable). I have the typical rain gear, but found I actually prefer my snowboarding gear! That includes mittens, ski goggles, and Sorel boots. They’re warm, windproof, and like to be wet. I have a leisurely 3.5 mile ride from SE over the Tillikum bridge so don’t break much of a sweat. It makes me really enjoy being outside!

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  • Eric Leifsdad January 26, 2018 at 4:00 am

    Rubber boots, wool pants, and a rain cape if my legs are getting wet/cold. I’ve only worn rain pants once for a deluge. The 3-mile school run is too unpleasant in a car (especially in the rain), and the kids stay dry under a poncho on the back of the Xtracycle. Electric assist keeps me riding through colds and other tough days.

    I haven’t found waterproof gloves that don’t get sweaty, but can stay warm enough with silk liners under synthetic gloves with a wind mitt flap. The neoprene bar mitts (pogies) are great, if a bit clumsy.

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  • Rivelo
    Rivelo January 26, 2018 at 5:50 am

    I seem to be finding more reasons why I need to haul something down to the shop in our old Previa these days. Coincidence?

    Here’s a somewhat drier photo of Joel, your model, I took the other day:

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnandrewbennett/26035934448/in/dateposted-public/

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  • David January 26, 2018 at 6:07 am

    I’m new in town. Can some of you please tell me where you get your rain gear and what brands you like. I’m. Having a hard time finding bike specific rain clothes that don’t cost hundreds of dollars. This winter I’ve been riding in a pair of old rain proof jigging pants. Help.

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    • John Liu
      John Liu January 26, 2018 at 6:39 am

      REI has rain pants for $60-100. Not cycling specific but will work. They should have cycling specific rain pants too.

      Used gear in basement of Next Adventure. Not sure you’ll find many rain pants or too much bike specific stuff but will be plenty of rain jackets.

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    • SafeStreetsPlease January 26, 2018 at 8:14 am

      Columbia employee store! You need to find a pass, but everything is discounted up to 50%. Got my waterproof shoes, rain jacket, gloves and waterproof pants ALL for around $200.

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      • Jeff January 26, 2018 at 11:44 am

        I did the same – the Columbia Employee store is great for all-weather needs, and if you ask around you can usually find someone with passes.

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    • GlowBoy January 26, 2018 at 8:58 am

      A decent waterproof rain jacket (which you need anyway if you’re living in Portland, biking or not) can be had for about $100. Down below I’ve never been happy with rain paints, so I just ride in jogging tights and change at my destination. It can be helpful to have a 2nd pair for the return trip in case the outgoing ride is wet.

      For feet, decent (insulated, if you want) leather boots can be had for around $100. Thinsulate work gloves are usually $20-30. About the same for a hat if you don’t ride with a helmet, or a skullcap if you do. That should be about all you need for outer layers.

      Inner layers under your jacket can be whatever you want as long as they aren’t cotton. You can get a wool sweater for cheap at Goodwill. Just make sure to gently launder it if its going to sit for more than two days after sweaty rides, to keep the moths away.

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    • Matthew in Portsmouth January 26, 2018 at 10:57 am

      That Brazilian river online store.

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    • ps January 26, 2018 at 10:57 am

      Softshell rain jacket from Rapha, fleece lined bibs from Rapha, Kitsbow merino knee warmers, Pearl Izumi shoe covers, The Athletic merino socks, NAPA auto insulated mechanics gloves. Light jersey under the jacket. This is my go to combo for 35-50 degrees. If it is dry I usually unzip the jacket. Upper body stays dry, legs get wet, but stay warm, feet and more importantly shoes, stay dry. Ride, Ride, Ride…

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    • joan January 26, 2018 at 10:58 am

      How long is your commute? You might not need bike-specific pants. A few years ago, I wanted an extra pair of rain pants to keep at work, on days when I didn’t wear/bring my nicer cycling rain pants. I bought some inexpensive hiking rain pants from Next Adventure, and they work just fine. My commute is only three miles, though.

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    • igor January 26, 2018 at 11:00 am

      I’ve been running with Helly Hanson rain pants for a while. They last a couple seasons, but they stay waterproof, and cost a fraction of what a high-end pair of gortex pants cost ($30 vs. $100)

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    • rick January 26, 2018 at 12:48 pm

      Western Bike Works’ stores have Showers Pass rain gear. It is the best rain gear that I’ve worn and I often do yard work outside, too.

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    • Bald One January 26, 2018 at 1:54 pm

      Fenders, fenders, fenders. Full coverage fenders – a $45 set will do the trick and should last multiple seasons if properly fit and installed.

      If you don’t want to spend the money on goretex, then wool.

      synthetic long underwear with shorts for the legs and wool socks. You’ll get wet, but if you layer it up right, you won’t be cold and you won’t get the clammy sweats that you get from rubberized rain gear. don’t trust low-cost “breathable waterproof” fabrics from any off-brands – they are typically either not waterproof or not breathable and probably won’t last a season.

      I’m a big proponent of shoe covers – keep you dry, keep you warm on the feet. If your ride is more than 30 minutes, these help a lot.

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    • David Hampsten January 26, 2018 at 7:23 pm

      If you are especially fat like I am, you might try ML Kishigo out of Florida, who specialize in fire-fighting clothes https://mlkishigo.com/all-products?product_cat=rainwear&source_id=30&source_tax=product_cat&filter_series=brilliant-series. Their orange and green parkas are so bright, they hurt the eyes! Usually about $120 including shipping, in huge sizes.

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  • Brian January 26, 2018 at 6:18 am

    I’m taking a break here and there from my long commute to do some weight lifting. It’s been a while since I have been hitting the weights, and the older I get the more I realize that I can’t just ride to stay healthy. The breaks help me stay motivated to ride as my commute is long and early. Way too early. I have been doing long rides on the weekend on the road and gravel and have been really enjoying those. Been riding the West Hills out to Sauvie Island a lot and the birdwatching has been great.

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    • Matthew in Portsmouth January 26, 2018 at 11:00 am

      After I got back from my post-Thanksgiving vacation to Aruba, I started doing pushups every day (usually three – four sessions of 2×20 + planking), helps strengthen the core and back, noticeable improvement to the look of the gut, free.

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    • Ken S January 26, 2018 at 3:53 pm

      This is me, too.
      I lift (and drive) Monday/Wednesday, ride Tuesday/Thursday.

      14 miles each way is stressful, given domestic duties that make 7:30am the earliest I can ride out.

      Got full fenders, splurged on a 7mesh rain shell. Pearl izumi amphib everything else.
      Plus disc brakes and the garden hose type tires.

      As long it’s not icy or gusting over 45mph, I ride. You just get used the conditions.

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  • Kyle Banerjee January 26, 2018 at 6:21 am

    A bit of rain and cool is inherent to riding in the PNW — acccording to the National Weather Service, Portland is experiencing its 4th warmest January on record.

    42 degree rain is good riding. Cool enough that it’s easy to stay cool, warm enough that it’s easy to not get chilled. Flats are more common due to wet and darkness hiding water lubricated debris that gets driven in more easily, but I’ll take spending a few minutes changing a flat to much longer sitting in traffic or slow moving transit any day (plus the flats are much less common)

    Commuting is more fun if you don’t have to don cold wet gear at the end of the day. Doing something as simple as bringing in a small fan to work so it can blow on your gear in some hidden area during the day makes the beginning of the ride home more fun.

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    • Bald One January 26, 2018 at 1:57 pm

      I love the smell of wet wool, warming in the office… It’s also great to share that smell with your co-workers, they love it, also! You definitely got to drape that wet gear over the vents, so everyone gets some.

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      • rachel b January 26, 2018 at 4:45 pm

        🙂

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  • William Henderson January 26, 2018 at 7:49 am

    Rain gear is a sweaty, joyless hassle. Bring a cape for truly wet rides, wear wool outer layers, and don’t be afraid of a little drizzle!

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    • Rivelo
      Rivelo January 26, 2018 at 8:18 am

      William is a dapper True Believer. I often see him riding in a wool jacket, scarf, gloves, and trousers in weather that would have many of us reaching for the Gore-Tex Pro™. Go William!

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    • Kyle Banerjee January 26, 2018 at 10:34 am

      Former GoreTex product tester here.

      Wool is great stuff. I own a lot of it and use it regularly. But it plays a very different role than waterproof breathable layers and the best choice depends on what your actual needs are.

      BTW, I would never recommend GoreTex Pro for cycling. Way too heavy — it’s really for serious alpine use. I’m also not a fan of Windstopper except for gloves (which I think are quite good) despite its with customers.

      There are only two parts of the GoreTex line that I recommend for cycling. Shakedry is da bomb and Active is very good — I use nothing else. Some of the direct competition to these products is also quite decent.

      Jackets might look very similar but there are huge differences in how they perform. I say this as someone who has evaluated many identical looking jackets I knew only by code designation as well as ones where the right side was made different from the left. An awesome jacket and one I couldn’t wait to get rid often looked exactly the same.

      The right gear used properly is way more comfortable (and more enjoyable) so having trouble getting sweaty, cold, or both is a sign something can be dialed in.

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      • ps January 26, 2018 at 11:59 am

        Given your experience, are you able to comment in/around the durability of ShakeDry. I want a jacket made from it so bad, but I ride with a pack daily and have heard that is a no go if you want to keep it in one piece? Thoughts?

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        • Kyle Banerjee January 26, 2018 at 2:45 pm

          Yes — don’t use ShakeDry with a pack unless it’s really light. It is not tough stuff. Specifically, it is probably more vulnerable to tearing and abrasion than anything else you own.

          I have tested ShakeDry intended to be used with packs, but I don’t think it’s on the market yet.

          The ShakeDry I tested is outstanding for running and cycling. It scrunches down to the size of an orange (i.e. easily fits in your pocket). I’ve used it in temps from the teens on upwards. The breathability is unmatched — Active feels like Pro in comparison.

          The performance and packability is outstanding and I can strongly recommend it. However, it is only available in black (not all materials can be made any color) and it does have durability issues, so people who need to carry a pack or for whom color is important might be better served by other options.

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  • Matthew in Portsmouth January 26, 2018 at 8:16 am

    I have mostly been riding indoors during winter (spin classes) to keep up my physical training. My bicycle commute is 18 miles one way via the Springwater, as I leave work around 5 p.m. I really don’t want to be riding the Springwater after dark. I have managed a few longer outdoor rides on those few Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays when it has not been raining.

    I anticipate getting back on the bike in earnest when daylight saving time starts, I typically put the bike on trimet to get to work and cycle home in the evening. With the Springwater closing for most of the summer, I’ll have to check the detour route before I commit to too much summer commuting.

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  • SilkySlim January 26, 2018 at 8:34 am

    My office moved from NW to SE this year, bringing my bike commute down to under 3 miles, so I can’t complain!

    My one tip is the Dark Sky weather app. It is surprisingly accurate in estimating things like “light rain stopping in 12 minutes, starting again in 40”, even on days when little squalls are all about. I open it up as end of work day approaches and hit the first weather gap I see. I feel like I’ve completely dodged some the rain on some days!!

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    • Bald One January 26, 2018 at 2:02 pm

      Got to use a weather app with live radar. If you’re looking for that window or to avoid the heavy stuff, use live radar. Makes a big diff for planning out 30 – 90 minutes.

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  • A Grant January 26, 2018 at 8:38 am

    Jealous. -16F with windchill on my commute today

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  • Fred January 26, 2018 at 8:43 am

    Jonathan, have you ever done a piece on maintaining the bike lanes in Portland? – how often they are swept? Who does this work? Who are the unsung heroes of bike-lane maintenance? (and the villains, of course). Where I live in SW Portland, sweeping seems pretty hit or miss, and I feel fortunate when Barbur is swept monthly-ish. Does the city do this work, or do they sub-contract? Seems like a good story here. Thanks.

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    • curly January 26, 2018 at 8:58 am

      Barbur is an ODOT facility, but PBOT may be responsible for sweeping.

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      • Bald One January 26, 2018 at 2:04 pm

        Funny, I think that is printed on the card at the phone bank down there at 823-SAFE. i.e – “call ODOT, that’s not our road”.

        In all seriousness, PBOT has adopted “maintenance” for some of the ODOTs neglected areas that directly impact cyclists, and I’m glad for that. Now, if we could just work to understand what “maintenance” at PBOT entails….

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    • rick January 26, 2018 at 12:57 pm

      It depends. PBOT requires curbs to regularly clean the normal bike lanes. I’ve contacted PBOT and BES on social media and their open houses in-person for street or stormwater projects for SW roads. I saw the Barbur storm drain the 26th bridge was clogged. BH Highway simply often has tree branches between 42nd to 30th. I assume PBOT has Adopt-a-Road programs. I know Multnomah and Washington Counties have them and I’m with the one on SW Scholls Ferry Road through Parr Lumber. I’ve found gathering neighborhood support and sending a mass email to local government people can work. I saw the littered bike lane on Scholls Ferry by Raab Road was recently cleaned with the street sweeper.

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    • PeaDub
      PeaDub January 29, 2018 at 3:18 pm

      If you want the Greek Tragedy version of this story, come on out to the suburban west side… TV HWY and Farmington shoulder maintenance is a joke. I’d love to see police enforcing secured load laws against all the overloaded dump trucks spewing dirt and gravel every time they go around a corner.

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  • TonyT
    TonyT January 26, 2018 at 9:10 am

    When my feet are happy, I’m happy. I love my Pearl Izumi booties. Keep my feet dry and toasty. My jacket still works great after years of use. I would like a more stylish pants option. The elastic waistband makes me feel like I’m wearing a diaper.

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  • Tom January 26, 2018 at 9:27 am

    Winter is the very best time of year to ride. No overheating, air polution much better when it’s raining, visibility is better if you have good lights, the excercise fixes winter blues. 40s is not cold weather. There is a region in Russia that got down to -88F recently. That’s cold. 40s is mild and refreshing. Love it!

    I wear multiple layers of merino, from Goodwill, and the thinnest packable windbreaker with DNR. Winter knickers, wool hunting socks, lace up rubber boots. If there is heavy rain or mechanical, I have a packable emergancy parka, but so far have not had to use it this winter. I’m always comfy.

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    • rick January 26, 2018 at 12:58 pm

      The views are great in winter, too.

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  • Souljoel January 26, 2018 at 9:30 am

    Though I still use the same SP “Portland” jacket I was wearing on the NY ride (years ago), wool dominates my winter time pdx dress code otherwise. Rivelo’s original collaboration with Randi Jo Fabrications utilized some beautiful tweed his mom brought home from Ireland some 30 years ago for a cycling cap. It keeps rain off my glasses, my head warm and dry, and has a merino wool fold down for added warmth.

    Keeping cold rain off the rest of my body is what full coverage fenders help with, as well as using directional tires to discharge water better–the Schwable Marathon, or Continental Touring are fine examples, and are near bullet proof. Most bike shops also carry lower cost alternatives that serve just as well.

    And gloves! My favorite pair of both Thinsulate lined and rain-resistant gloves were lifesavers on even the coldest and wet days. Shameless plug for Clever Cycles also–found those there, alongside everything else they’ve got you covered with.

    So c’mon Portland, keep riding. We’ve got this!

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  • Chris January 26, 2018 at 10:45 am

    I don’t mind the Californian repellent–er, rain–particularly if it stays in the mid-40s, but obviously helps to have full fenders, a Showers Pass jacket and nice shoe covers. Also a super bright headlight for those night rides up B’way/Williams.

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  • mikeybikey January 26, 2018 at 10:48 am

    As miserable as the rain can be, I honestly prefer it over most of those long, hot and dry (and lately smokey) days in August. My daily riding has gone up from ~6-10 miles total to over 20mi total due to a temporary relocation of our kid’s pre-k setup. The only cycling specific “gear” that I use is a rain cape and it has worked just fine. As far as tips: 1) carry a couple of hand towels for your hands/face or spot drying, etc. 2) be multimodal: i did Bike–>MAX–>Biketown–>Walk one day, so I could skip over the long, wet middle part of the commute.

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  • Nick January 26, 2018 at 10:56 am

    Friends from out of state visited over X-mas and New Years. Their comment, “If this is Portland, where are all the bikers? The bike lanes are empty all over the city.”

    40’s and rain is easy, assuming you have your health.

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  • Andy K January 26, 2018 at 11:00 am

    It’s tough, but the 1 or 2 faces I see going the other way along my long brutal commute make it all worth it!

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    • Bald One January 26, 2018 at 2:08 pm

      Hooray for reverse bike commuting!

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      • Andy K January 26, 2018 at 5:10 pm

        No, it’s not a reverse commute. I’m heading into the central city in the AM like most people, but the bike commute rate drops 80-90% in winter on the West Hills/US26 route.

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  • joan January 26, 2018 at 11:07 am

    I ride all year except when I’m worried the roads might be icy. It’s just so much easier for me to keep in the same routine of riding my bike rather than trying to decide day-by-day if I should take the bus. Having good gear and a short commute really helps.

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  • OLDBLOOD January 26, 2018 at 11:18 am

    Still riding and it beats last winter, which was my first winter in Portland. If you are new to this shitty weather then I would take up a new hobby to get you through winters here, something like weights or rock climbing which will help keep you relatively fit for when the weather breaks. Gore rain jackets are great and breath well, steer clear of Showers Pass products except for their rain cap and gloves. wool is your friend!

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  • Carrie January 26, 2018 at 11:24 am

    Sure it’s wet, but it’s winter. It’s SUPPOSED to be wet. The past two 39 degrees and raining mornings were not my favorite, but like some of the other posters, I’ll take mid-40s and rain over clear and 20/30 any day.

    I do have a Showers Pass jacket that I really like, but the lower half of me just gets wet. Wool socks are very important. I’m fortunate that I can just change at work, so I really don’t mind getting wet (as long as it’s in the 40s) while I get there. And every time I see the long lines of cars waiting to get home and I’m almost there it makes me so glad I’m on my bike!

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  • Jagur January 26, 2018 at 12:13 pm

    Summer sucks hot tots. Enjoys this while it lasts.

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  • SE January 26, 2018 at 12:32 pm

    John Liu
    I’ve been thinking about loading my tubes with sealant. class=”recommended”>Recommended 0

    I bought some SLIME tubes. heavy, but I figured worth the peace of mind. WRONG.

    They will certainly flatten , a small shred of wire did it , but then the problem is the slime that has gotten out of the tube makes the surface so slippery that it’s not patchable until you’ve cleaned every, every last bit of slime off.

    even then it doesn’t seal well around the puncture.

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    • Andrew Kreps January 26, 2018 at 1:59 pm

      Slime tubes are definitely teh suck. I’ve been putting stans in my tubes for years, and it has saved me from many a flat.

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  • SE January 26, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    I’ve been a 365 rider for the last 10 years or so, but getting a slow start this year.
    Had a lingering cold for a while and prefer to recover completely.

    Rain & cold don’t much bother me, but WIND … arrgggh. No thanks.

    Have lots of rain proof jackets & pants , but my big secret to cold/wet riding is a snowboarding helmet and goggles. dorky looking ? sure, who cares ? My eyes water badly in cold air and after lots of T&E, this was the only combo that truly worked for me. Added benefit is that you can open or close vents depending on conditions.

    to the guy who just moved here, now buying rain gear – I would NEVER buy a rain jacket that does NOT have pit zips. Also have seen many SP jackets where the liner is flaking apart. YMMV.

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  • Brian January 26, 2018 at 1:03 pm

    Maybe it’s because of my midwestern upbringing, but I much prefer clear and sunny and cold any day over 30s/40s and rain. I as loving those cold and sunny days earlier this Winter.

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  • Jagur January 26, 2018 at 1:20 pm

    I once loved SP jackets. They seem to be 1 season jackets now though. Even with by the book cleaning and treatment they don’t seem to last like 6 years ago ish.

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  • Andrew Kreps January 26, 2018 at 1:59 pm

    There are so many puddles to splash through right now.

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  • Doug Hecker January 26, 2018 at 2:18 pm

    Simplify, simplify. I used to try to buy all the gear that claims to be “waterproof.” I used to scoff at buying the over shoes to help keep my feet dry but they were crazy expensive so I would try to baby them. Those days are done. A solid pair of 2mm neoprene socks, a Gore Tex helmet cover, and a solid pair of neoprene gloves help make the 7 mile one way more enjoyable. Also I make sure my crazy ass bright lights are charged and my gear gets dry before heading back out. A small office fan does wonders. Happy commuting 🙂

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  • rachel b January 26, 2018 at 4:47 pm

    I love all times Not Summer. 🙂

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  • Meg January 26, 2018 at 5:07 pm

    I prefer the cool, damp, gray weather to ride in. I wear a pair of Specialized Therminal cycling tights, Endura booties, and either a Therminal jersey or an Endura rain jacket for the heavy downpours. It’s so exhilarating to ride in the rain, and I like the higher concentration it takes to ride safe and swift.

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  • soren January 26, 2018 at 9:53 pm

    I eat, I sleep, I walk, and I bike every day. The question is annoying.

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  • bendite January 26, 2018 at 10:02 pm

    I think I’ve worn my rain pants twice this season.

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  • Resopmok January 29, 2018 at 6:47 am

    Still riding daily and the wet hasn’t bothered me much. I have a lightweight rain jacket (not cycling specific but works) which I usually wear with the hood up while it’s actually raining. The real key for me is full fenders front and rear with mud flaps, especially on the front one. This protects my feet and drivetrain from excessive water and grime flying off the wheel. And except when it’s raining really hard, I wear a pair of Rainlegs chaps. They keep my legs from sweating to death, my pants stay mostly dry underneath (fenders keep the bottom of my legs dry), they dry quickly, and they are much more compact that a pair of rain pants. Also saving my bacon this season are mittens and a pair of Keens that are highly water-resistant or just straight galoshes when it’s really nasty. I also carry some old plastic bags to protect my Brooks while I’m parked.

    A couple things I’ve found from years past too:
    – Wearing a backpack or shoulder bag will cause your rain jacket to wear out significantly faster. Since I switched to panniers, my $40ish jacket is now in its 4th season.
    – Most clipless shoes aren’t very good at keeping the water out and need covers to help with this. I got tired of clipless for anything but longer rides and now use double-sided pedals which give me options.
    – A cycling cap and hood under my helmet may not be proper, but it keeps a lot of rain out of my eyes and keeps my head a lot more dry.
    – Lights on day or night when it’s cloudy and especially when raining.

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    • Resopmok January 29, 2018 at 7:19 am

      And a +1 to all those who mentioned Schwalbe Marathon Plus. They are not the best tires for ride quality or rolling efficiency, but they are stout and reliable. I’ve had very few flats to fix over the years; each one was a nail, screw, or heavy-duty construction staple. They eat glass for breakfast.

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  • Jim Labbe January 29, 2018 at 11:25 am

    I look forward to getting inside my cozy ‘bike-tent’ paradise-brand biking rain poncho (made in China) and heading out into the rain:

    https://m.alibaba.com/product/60400411592/Waterproof-bike-rain-poncho.html?s=p&spm=a2706.7843667.1998817009.28.HeQsiH

    That and a pair of wool gloves makes for comfortable, hassle free biking in Oregon’s winter.

    Jim

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  • joe Fortino January 30, 2018 at 9:30 am

    year around for 10 years now only worry these days is the lack of compassion most motorists show
    in pouring rain or harsh weather. wool socks 🙂 and gloves seem to always be an issue lol.. oh anyone kill lights this time of year? some big name ones too failed after riding in pouring rain.

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