Thursday, March 1, 2007

Rain vs. Snow

Today's commute was wet. Real wet. We're under a flood watch here in Central Ohio (thank goodness my house is in Clintonville, where we have all the ravines to funnel water away from us), and it's raining pretty hard.

I was wearing my rain cape, a pair of rain pants, my hiking boots (which I've worn all winter for riding, they've worked great keeping my feet warm and mostly dry), a polar fleece sweatshirt, and had to carry my backpack on my front under the cape because if I'd kept it on my back the back of the cape would have ridden up and my back would have gotten all wet. Oh, and my glasses and helmet, of course.

Darn, I need some fenders. And some panniers.

Anyway, I came to the conclusion today that I'd rather ride in sub-zero temperatures than ride in the rain. Not that I have a choice, but I would rather be cold for a few minutes at the beginning of a ride (I am NEVER cold at the end of one!) than rained on and wet the entire time. Even snow is better than rain - it doesn't kick up all over the place and once you get the hang of the technique for riding in snow it's actually not that bad (and a great workout).

The rain cape does certainly help, though. It's basically a poncho, but it has two loops at the front that you put your thumbs into to keep it over your handlebars and keep your hands from getting too wet, and one big loop that you put around your lower waist to keep your butt dry. It's bright yellow and designed so that the visor on the hood still works nicely with a bike helmet on. It looks a little dorky, but I don't care as long as it keeps me dry.

One upside of riding in the rain, I think, is that the air seems cleaner. Perhaps the rain is knocking more filth out of the air and into the drains (which doesn't help the environment any more, just reroutes the filth) but it seems like a more refreshing ride as far as breathing goes.

No issues technically with the bike ride today. I just kept my speed low, pumped the brakes a bit when approaching a stop, and that did the trick. The only issue I had was with a girl who tried to pull her car up past me as we were coming to a line of stopped cars. As a bit of self-criticism, I probably should have taken the lane a bit more than I did. But I knocked on her window and gestured at her in an unfriendly manner (nothing involving the middle finger, more of a pointing finger that indicated "YOU STAY PUT!"). I think she was so freaked out by the big yellow blob knocking on her car that she stayed well in back of me until I changed lanes into the right lane following the intersection.

So despite getting a tad wet, it was a good bike ride today. I learned a couple things, and that's always good.

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