Bicycle Commuting and Rowdy Weather: Become a Two Wheel Rolling Tank

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There has been some heavy rain in my area recently, and a lot of people are worried about flooding(I mentioned this same event, happening last year, here).

If you are going to go car-less, you’re still going to have to get around.

It may be on foot, it may be on a bike.

And depending on where you live, the weather won’t always be perfect.

It might be cold/hot/wet/windy, you name it.

Where I’m at currently, it’s humid, and rains a ton.

Insects thrive, but that’s what bug nets are for.

It’s almost never cold here, and I miss the cold.

Only time is gets cold enough is during the winter, at night, in the woods.

Whoooo Buddy!

(Check out Shug camping in extreme cold here)

One day I’ll get serious enough to put a down bag over my quits and hammock, to create a “pod” and be sweating at -40F.

What a crazy old man.

But for this post:

Let’s address the problem of cycling through a heavy downpour.

For rain you will need the following:

One rainproof jacket or parka, two pair of shorts, two shirts, two shoes, towel and a small backpack.

Wear as little clothing as possible, as most of it will wet out and be soaked though(don’t get hypothermia, though).

Put on the first set of clothes, wrap the second set of clothes in the towel and place them into the backpack.

Put on the backpack, and put in the parka/jacket over top.

Tighten and synch everything you can.

It looks kinda funny, like you have a hump on your back like a camel or something, but who cares.

Were trying to stay dry here.

While you’re cycling, your shorts and shoes will be soaked through, and that’s ok.

Even in very heavy rain, after putting out 8 miles+, I’ve found the items in the pack dry.

Sometimes the parka will soak through, and the backpack may see some moisture.

It’s ok, because the goal(and the secret) is just to keep one set of clothing dry.

When you arrive at your destination, head into the bathroom or shower area.

Dry yourself off with the towel, and hang up your soaked items up to dry, if you can.

Put on the dry set of clothing, and be on your way.

People have actually been convinced I didn’t cycle a few times, because I showed up perfectly dry and put together.

If you take the extra time, and change(and even shower), rain is not a big deal.

Besides, I have never hydroplaned on a bike, not that I go fast during heavy rain though.

You can cycle through some raging streams that would flood a hummer.

Or get off and walk through even deeper water still.

I’ve went through road closures and flood areas no problem. One of the perks of cycling is shortcuts and all terrain mobility. Often time you can simply go where a car can’t.

Like I said, get yourself some spare tubes, a parka, and a small pack and become a tank.

Bring some food if you’re really far out.

If you’re not worried about being soaked later, riding through the rain can be fun.

It’s refreshing, and people in cars give you strange looks.

You know, I’ve always enjoyed people asking me:

“You did not ride your bike today?!”

And I always enjoy saying, yeah, I did.

Not that is was hard, really.

Just took a little more planning and time than a car would.

After a few times, it’s routine, and rain is just another factor to adjust for.

Note: If you are heading out to go through rain, I wouldn’t recommend electronics.

I bring my phone(waterproof) and my mp3 player(not waterproof), knowing damn well they both might wet out and be goners. Boo hoo. Oh well. Not too difficult to replace.

I would also stay away from bringing notepads or paperback books.

If you do need something 100% dry through some serious rain – put it a zip lock bag or some topper ware, then wrap your dry towel over that, and into the pack it goes.

Unless you end up swimming or fording a river(be ready), you’ll come out dry.

Note: Visibility may be low during rain, make sure your lights and reflective gear are up to the task.

For addressing heat: Same advice, minus the parka.

Wear some shorts and a breathable t-shirt, shower and dry off once you arrive, and change clothing.

Wouldn’t hurt to put deodorant on after, as well, just to be courteous haha.

Heat is just a nuisance really. If it’s humid, you’ll sweat a lot, and feel muggy and sticky.

But that shouldn’t stop the pedals from turning, besides, you have a cold shower and a drink waiting at home.

Nobody can change the weather really, unless you move somewhere else.

It’s shouldn’t be too hard to deal with, the worst being high wind for cycling.

Maybe some larger size hail could deter me. Or I would just wear a couple more layers as a buffer.

But if you repeatedly brave bad weather, and shrug it off, people will see you as a leader.

After all it’s raining/cold out there right?

Yeah, right. Haha.

Become a tank.

All the Best.

-A

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(Read another excellent article on riding here)

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