Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Rain Ride

An unrelated string of events lined up in the last week or so that resulted in my being able to take an unplanned week of vacation this week. It's really a great treat to be able to take a vacation without going somewhere. Just not working for a week without extensive plans is righteous.

Today, I rode in the rain for most of the day. And I took my "good" camera. Lots o shots.

This is good rain too. Click the first image up above to see the sheets of rain hitting the street. But it's warm. It was about 55 all day, so riding around mostly wet is fun.

First off, I took the leap. I bought some Rain Legs. These are the height of bicycle nerdom, but they are great. They keep your thighs dry, which, if you're riding with fenders and a rain jacket, is the only place that gets super wet otherwise. I was happy to have them and based on initial impression, I'd recommend them. By the way, I bought them from WallBike. I've not seen Rain Legs at any LBSs here in Spokane.

I met Patrick, of Scoop fame, at his shop at 10:30. We rode down to his place in West Central and picked up his bike trailer. On the way we stopped at Sandifur bridge and saw a lot of water. A lot of water. Too much water.

When we got to Patrick's house, Elissa was there, baking cookies with Miyo and Ruby. I got a cookie that was still warm. Yum. As she handed me my cookie, Elissa did a double take and then promptly made fun of my Rain Legs, "oh my god! are you wearing chaps??" And all was right in the world.
Then Patrick and I went off to pick up a tree and find lunch.

After treeing and lunching, we said our good byes and I headed to the Eastern Washington Regional Office of the Washington Department of Transportation to meet with Melanie and Jody. They're engineers that are working on the "US 195 Hatch Road to I-90 Project." That's the one that touches Fish Lake Trail, the Latah strip mall area, and numerous other bits of suburban and rural properties.

I'm still processing. In the next few days I'll post a full report of my digestion of that project. But my immediate take-away is awe. I can't believe we (the royal "we:" our society) are even considering these types of projects at this stage of the game. The I-90/Hatch project is behind the North/South Corridor project (NSP) in terms of priority and funding and the NSP is mired in deep poo, so the likelihood that we'll see the I-90/Hatch come to fruition any time soon is difficult for me to buy. Anyway. Here's a teaser of what a Hatch and US 195 interchange could look like in some version of our future:

After my talk with Jody and Melanie (who, by the way, were super gracious and accommodating in allowing me to invite myself into their work day), I went off to REI to ride home with Liza. Yay.

In the picture on the left I think she's laughing at my Rain Legs. The picture on the right is a good "Bike Spokane" type promo shot.

The day ended with a BAB meeting downtown. The big news from that meeting is that SpokeFest is a strong "go" now. Lots of interest and some good sponsorship popped up over the last month or so and it's going to be really cool. This whole bicycling thing appears to be catching on.

Good day. I could get used to not working.


Anonymous said...

John, Rain Legs rule as far as I'm concerned. When I read about them on Kent Peterson's blog they sounded like a pretty sweet idea to me. I actually have an old REI rain jacket that one of our dogs ruined (completely chewed out one of the pockets looking for a treat!) that I've contemplated converting into a home brew pair.

My two rides today completely bookended all the rain, but there was a while this afternoon when even a pair of Rain Legs couldn't have kept me from riding for cover if I was outside. Crazy!

Speaking of crazy that Hatch "upgrade" looks pretty pricey/excessive. Especially without a corresponding upgrade on the hill between 57th and 195. I think actual shoulders or bike lanes on the hill would be more worthwhile than a major overpass below.

Apertome said...

Cool photos! I don't often enjoy riding in the rain, but I had a good ride in light rain last night.

I've heard Rain Legs recommended by a couple of people now, and I'm thinking about it. The price is the main thing preventing me from pulling the trigger.

John Speare said...

Jason: You'll note my jacket is also Kent-recommended. This is my second O2 jacket. I have a fancy new burley jacket that I never wear rotting away in my garage. I think this is *the* rain outfit.

As for the Hatch piece of that project, that's the small-money piece. Yow. I will try and get the report on the i-90/hatch project blogged tomorrow. The more I think about it, the more depressed I get about the idea. It's just more of the same sprawl-driven thinking that ends up destroying communities. Ugh.

Apertome: there was a guy selling a thrift version of rainlegs online for a while. Kind of chintzy plastic bag solution thing. But cheap. There are a few bike-specific bits of clothing that make sense to spend money on, good rain gear falls into that camp I think, especially when it's colder and/or you do long rides in the rain.