Support BikePortland - Journalism that Matters

It’s been very wet: You doing OK?

Posted by on January 30th, 2020 at 11:11 am

This morning.
(Photo of Waterfront Park by Doug Hecker)

This morning’s transcendent sunrise felt like a hard-earned reward from Mother Nature after days of soggy cycling.

Persist.

It’s not your imagination — this month has been very wet. According to Willamette Week, we will probably have about six inches of total rain for January. That makes it the wettest month for the past two years and one of the wettest Januaries ever.

Rain is all fun and games in October when we’re racing cyclocross and praying for mud. But by now it just starts to get annoying and I often feel like I just want it to stop!

While it can be tough to keep riding when your gear never really dries out and conditions are even more hazardous than usual (bike lane sweeper? Heck, we need bike lane water vacuum!), I know that many of you persist. I hope this morning’s sunrise was an inspiration. If nothing else, hopefully you and our streets can dry out a bit before the next soggy cycle comes in.

How are doing out there? Still riding? Given up for now? We’d love to hear about it.

(P.S. Share tips to stay warm and dry if you have them. If you need help, see tons of great tips in the “Related Posts” below.)

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
— Get our headlines delivered to your inbox.
— Support this independent community media outlet with a one-time contribution or monthly subscription.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. 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

55
Leave a Reply

avatar
34 Comment threads
21 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
41 Comment authors
JasonSuzeBozDoug B.Christopher of Portland Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Jason Skelton
Guest
Jason Skelton

I have enjoyed the rain but I keep my commutes short, 30 minutes or less. Road rides above 1 hour in this rain are very unpleasant for me. And wool is the best fabric to insulate.

Becky Jo (Columnist)
Member

My daughter and I stopped at a red light this morning, and enjoyed the pink sky. It was a lovely bonus.

maxD
Guest
maxD

I constantly remind myself that it is never as bad to ride in the rain as it looks from inside, and I nearly always agree with myself. I also like to check my weather app (wunderground) which has a pie chart for each day of how much daylight each day will get- I love watching it grow a tiny bit each day! I also just nik-waxed my rain gear and colleague’s rain gear- very good for morale.

Champs
Guest
Champs

I’m lucky enough to have the option of getting out when it’s (mostly) dry. It’s fine for work and personal errands, but I’m looking forward to longer blocks for purely recreational rides to see flowers in the valleys, snow in the hills, and views of distant mountains.

I’m not sure why mantras like “we need the rain” and “this is not normal” have to be part of the winter cycle. We’ve gotten our seasonal rain and snowpack. There is no need to conflate weather with climate like the deniers.

Mick O
Guest
Mick O

I’ve made the decision to not let the rain stop me as much this season. I’ve been ok for the most part, now that I’ve come to an enlightened realization that the absolute key feature for any rain gear for commuting is *not* how dry it keeps me, but how fast the gear itself will dry out. My own body is gonna get drenched in the rain either way be it from internal or external, but as long as what i am wearing for the morning commute is mostly dry when it’s time to head home in the evening, then I’m happy.

Valerie
Guest
Valerie

I try to always have dry socks to change into at work. If it’s going to be truly intense, I’ll leave ballet flats at work to be sure to have dry shoes. That doesn’t happen often (I think the last time I did it was for snow, honestly, when I was too spooked to bike and was using the bus and walking)

Dirk McGee
Guest
Dirk McGee

Still beats driving!

Gary B
Guest
Gary B

Wow! Seeing that I’m sorry I was already in the office at sunrise. Any chance, Doug Hecker, that the full resolution picture can be made available? I’d hang that on my wall!

Kiel Johnson (Go By Bike)
Member

The bike valet has still been busy.

In 2017 we parked an average of 181 in January
In 2018 – 243
In 2019 – 272
In 2020 – 255

Josh G
Guest
Josh G

Crossing my fingers that we get through season without PBOT putting down sand of gravel (given how long it takes to remove) …chance of snow in 10 days

Jason
Guest
Jason

Grew up riding in the rain, in Oregon. Without the luxury of modern fabrics. Back then, every rain jacket made you as wet on the inside with sweat as you were on the outside with rain. My thanks to the makers of these modern wonders. But ShowersPass, can you please bring the Rogue Pants and Hoodie back? Pretty please?

Ryan
Guest
Ryan

Just started back up again a couple days ago after two weeks off due to sickness and back troubles. Back is still tight but it feels better at work if I ride in. Been trying to ride as much as possible this winter, especially when it’s wet, I think to just prove to myself that it’s not that big of a deal. Also finally have a good bike setup for wet commuting this year as well, so that’s helped immensely. Took me a few years to build up decent rain gear that keeps me reasonably dry while also being reasonably comfortable over an hour commute, but I feel like I’m finally there. And I haven’t invested in any of those crazy-expensive bits either. While none of my kit keeps me fully dry (I sweat too much for that anyway), I’ve found it’s most important for me that it keeps me warm even if I’m wet. I can deal with wet as long as I don’t get chilled because of it. And it dries out well between the ride in and the ride home 🙂

Chainstays
Subscriber
Chainstays

It hasn’t been too bad, just tough when the gear hardly has time to dry overnight!

Jon
Guest
Jon

Unless there is ice I ride 6-7 days a week. I’ve gotten more miles commuting and riding for pleasure this year than the last two because the lack of snow/ice so far this year. I’ve never regretted doing a ride in the wet. I sometimes been reluctant to start a ride when it is pouring rain but once I start it is always good to be outside exercising. With proper clothing, disc brakes, and fenders I have no issues.

Jay T.
Guest

The last two or three days have been so warm that I’ve been wearing shorts. When there’s less fabric to get wet, there’s less fabric to be heavy and less water next to my skin to absorb my heat.

Maria
Guest

You asked for tips: fenders & a raincoat of course! I also pack a spare pair of gloves and socks for the ride home.
The weather hasn’t bummed me out much, but I’m having several close calls with drivers on each commute. I imagine they don’t see me, so my strategy has been to pretend I’m invisible and be prepared to yell “WAIT”, which has proven effective.
Stay dry everyone!

Huey Lewis
Guest
Huey Lewis

Not sure where WW is getting that measurement from. Depending on where you are in the city you have likely received well over 6″ of rain. At my house with our fancy pants weather gauge system we are up over 10″ this month. See the Portland Hydra Network for a gage near you to see a more accurate rain total.

Also, rain and gloom forever. It is the best. Let it never stop.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I think, for the most part, this has been a dry and mild winter, which I am both enjoying and finding distressing.

Lowell
Guest
Lowell

This has been my first year of winter riding. Overall, it has been much more pleasant than I thought it would be. My office has been under renovation for the past year and a half, and the bike room, showers, and locker room were closed for that ENTIRE time. Thankfully, we finally got our sparkly new lockers and showers just last week, so having a shower waiting for me and a locker to hang my wet clothes in has made this soggy January not so bad.

I am pet-sitting for a friend with an apartment in the west hills, with an excellent view East towards Mt Hood. I happened to wake up right at sunrise, and literally gasped at the beauty of it. It was without a doubt the most tremendous sunrise I’ve ever seen. I’ve been feeling so great all day because of it.

Doug B.
Guest
Doug B.

At 316 miles so far this month, I’m on track for January being my highest mileage month since I started cycling (after a 15 year hiatus) in 2018! Had a few close calls with drivers as well, and using my voice has proven effective.

Since I commute in the dark both ways, I was getting pretty down in the dumps, but boosting D3, learning how to work on my bike, and talking with supportive friends helped a ton.

I don’t wear a rain jacket above 45 unless it’s dumping rain, shower at work, wear shorts most mornings, etc. I use full fenders, wax my chain, and hose the bike off as needed. Anyone know how to keep all the grit off in Washington County? My sparkly clean bike is filthy after a day!

Tony Thayer
Guest
Tony Thayer

After getting 100% soaked through and having to wring the water out of the inside of my waterproof gloves last friday I’ve been taking the bus a lot more. Putting on wet rain gear the next day is not pleasant.

David LaPorte
Subscriber
David LaPorte

Having a pair of spare shoes at work, and wearing RainLegs on the ride have kept me happy and dry-ish!

Doug Hecker
Guest
Doug Hecker

Gary B
Wow! Seeing that I’m sorry I was already in the office at sunrise. Any chance, Doug Hecker, that the full resolution picture can be made available? I’d hang that on my wall!Recommended 5

Feel free to send me an email at the above address. I did take this with my iPhone 11 so I imagine that it would get blurry if you make it too large. The offer is open to anyone if you’d like it. Cheers

Resopmok
Guest
Resopmok

I hope this doesn’t seem pedantic, but after reading several comments about soaked gear, I’d like to offer that hanging it front of a fan when possible will do wonders to help it dry faster. You might also consider investing in a boot dryer for soggy shoes, they worked wonders on my Xtratuffs when I worked on an Alaskan trawler.

I’d also like to use this space to promote an under-used garment: chaps. Though may inspire mental images of old Western gunslingers, they are quite practical in all but the heaviest downpours. When I wore rain pants, especially on longer rides, my legs sweated death. With chaps, my legs can breathe much easier, and they still shed water which lands on me from the top. Full fenders keep tire spray from soaking the bottoms of my legs and they stay dry too. Chaps also pack much smaller and are easier to put on and take off than rain pants. The biggest problem is that only one company commercially produces a decent product: Rain Legs. I think they could be the next in cycling fashion some competitors cropped up.

Steve
Guest
Steve

It’s not the rain or the temperature that’s gotten me down. It’s the constant bike maintenance. Cleaning my bike multiple times a week gets old. “I wish there was some way that I could be outside riding my bike in the rain and not get dirty. Now wouldn’t that be great?”

Michael
Guest
Michael

Taking the bus, itching to ride when the daylight lasts just a bit longer.

SD
Guest
SD

Even though it’s rained nearly every day, the number of times that it has actually rained during my commute has been far less. This unpredictability has made me a rain cape convert. I don’t have to wear it unless I really need it at that moment, and if it starts raining mid ride, I just pull it out of my pack and I’m good to go.

RudiV
Guest
RudiV

I finally gave up on traditional goretex style jackets this year in favor of a columbia outdry I got for xmas, now I sneer at the weather! Not a “cycling specific” jacket, but the hood fits over my helmet better than any other I’ve ever had, and the fabric never gets wet, thus it’s never soaked and always ready to go.

There’s no “D” in the DWR of traditional goretex. After a year or two your X-hundred dollar jacket starts wetting out and you have to spring for a new one. It’s a scam, like “non-stick” cookware- take an object that will last 100 years and put a “coating” on it that lasts for 3, then sell the same ripoff over and over while the old one goes in the trash. Consumer capitalism!

Mike Quigley
Guest
Mike Quigley

All these comments from people who enjoy riding in the rain? I’ve never seen a facial expression on a rain rider who looks like he’s enjoying it. I never ride in the rain. Rather, walk or take transit.

n8m
Guest
n8m

Doing great, I’m in Thailand.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

Hope you recovered well.

Went through 2 major ones a few years ago and not riding was the worst part of them.

Glenn II
Guest
Glenn II

The rain’s fine, it’s the splashed-up road-filth that gets to be a drag. Shoes, shins, panniers, and most of the bike, all get covered with wet sand. And that’s with fenders. Would love access to a hose out front – either that or a mud room (which would be a sand room).

Boz
Guest
Boz

I may be in the minority, but I actually prefer riding in the rain over a hot sunny day. I have rain gear that keeps me dry, there are fewer bikers on the paths, and the scene is usually beautiful (low clouds, glistening foliage, puddles to splash through).

I pretty much don my snowboard gear (sorel boots, ski googles, mittens, etc.) It’s all waterproof (as I grew up riding in notoriously wet snow on Mt. Hood). I take it slow so I don’t get hot… this also makes it enjoyable (smell the roses).

Suze
Guest
Suze

I much prefer riding in the rain/winter riding in general. Less other bikers, the temperature is perfect for me riding & I get some much needed outside time. The only downside is the low light & feeling like I’m less visible to cars no matter how lit up I am with lights, spokelights and bright jacket.