Tuesday, October 23, 2012

1st C&W in the bag

As the title so obviously states: I had my first cold and wet ride of the season yesterday. Good stuff those C&Ws.

I was about 3 miles into the twenty mile commute home when the sky opened up. I was sort of prepared: I had the Dorky Rainlegs, some gloves, and a wool beanie. I was also wearing the Beloved Ibex BreakAway jacket. All of this stuff would have been completely and utterly sufficient on my old 4 mile commute. But after about 8 miles of riding in a downpour, my gloves and my Beloved were totally soaked. And I had clippy canvas tennis shoes. I was wishing for my Keens.

So that's the gear breakdown.

Temp was about 40 F; dangerously close to the miserable zone (mid-30's and wet).

There's a number of things about this scenario to note.

The plan: clearly you ride harder. Even though I tend to start slogging and slowing when I'm miserable, it's the exactly wrong thing to do for obvious reasons.

The head game: always ALWAYS convince yourself that you've cycled through way worse, "I've been further from home, wetter, colder, and more miserable lots of times."

Optimize for next time: Like most working folk, I now have to not look like a slob at my work place, so I've got to think about riding home AND looking presentable all day. And I'm not into hauling a bunch of clothes and crap around. I feel like I'm already hauling all sorts of stuff every day and every day I forget stuff.

So if there's rain in the forecast (and their was and I knew it and I figured my Beloved would take care of me), then I'll be packing my normal rain jacket (not the cycling one -- just a normal one that looks normal and can be worn around campus).

Otherwise, I'll keep my O2 jacket (along with the Dorky Rainlegs) in my office for surprise rain visits.

I'd like to find other clippy shoes besides the Keens that look nice and are as weatherproof.

We're still screwed on the glove front. There's no such (sensible -- i.e., not for climbing Mt. Everest) glove that will be rained on for 20 miles that won't wet through. Extra set of wool gloves at the office is the plan there.


logo work gloves said...

Works for me actually. Been doing it for quite sometime.

rory said...

if you can, leave a pair of shoes at your destination. shoes are bulky, take forever to dry, and theirs nothing that feels so good as putting on clean socks and shoes after a C&W ride (except a warm shower.

rory said...

I'll also add, when i was doing the 20 mile commute, i left 3 pieces at the office that minimally came home: shoes, towel, and pants. depending on who you are, the only thing that could regularily come home would be the towel, but thats up to you...

Anonymous said...

Can you access the university lockerrooms, perhaps rent a locker and take a shower?

They even provide a towel:


John Speare said...

Logo: can you put a link to the gloves you use?

Rory/Anon: I only commute one way. I take the bus to campus, then ride home. Since my wife works, I have to see my daughter off to school in the morning, so I'm only one-way.

That simplifies things a lot.

Hank Greer said...

The ride home yesterday was indeed miserable. I was trying to remember the last time I rode in the rain, but couldn't. It's been that long since it rained like that during my commute times. You're right about keeping the right physical and mental approach. I worked hard to generate heat and kept thinking I've been through worse. Sorry I don't have any gear tips. It would be akin to an apprentice offering advice to the master . :-)

Stephen said...

I got caught in the rain for the last couple of miles yesterday, I actually enjoyed it a little. Right after I pulled into the garage, the skies opened up. I guess that luck was on my side... this time.

Brian J said...

After many years my Portland commute morphed into a straight up rain coat an pants, with water proof shoe covers...never had dry hands. 8speed internal, and a chain guard to leave the rain pants alone. Load it up with plastic pales, or some hard case to keep goods dry. Med bianchi Milano, not using till summer strolls if you care to try the gear ratio.

Anonymous said...


Skin is waterproof, breathes, and looks and smells better when wet.

Jeff K said...

John: for cold and wet rides you should give a pair of neoprene work gloves a try. You're hands will probably become damp (most likely from sweat), but they will stay very warm for the duration of the ride. Damp and warm is better than cold and wet. They have a pretty good selection at the General Store. Around $20 if I remember correctly.

Cori said...

Hi, I am just moving from Boise. I live near Grant Elementary, near the Perry district, and am wondering how plausible a year round commute is (I work on S Wall downtown). Only 2 miles, but I understand that Spokane gets a lot of snow in the winter, and work is business casual. Any suggestions or pointers? Do you guys bike during the winter, or ride the bus to work?

John Speare said...

Hey Cori, welcome to town. You're in a great spot to commute year-round, given your commute. Search around on this blog and you'll find a bunch of different bike set ups that I've used over the years for different snow/ice/wet solutions. There's a talk of a bike hang next weds night (14th). watch this space for more info, but s perry pizza has been a destination in the past.