It takes a big commitment to ride in the rain; especially in the city, where the risks go up, the flats go up, the hazards increase, and it’s just downright dirty and gritty. The other cyclists I’ve talked to are dreading the rainy season.
In Seattle, rain is a fact of riding and commuting, but training takes a big commitment and I’ve got to work myself into it. Last week, I added one fender to a bike as a start and on Sunday night, I prepped the rain bike (we ride rain bikes here, special just for the rain). And the first ride of the Fall season was in a storm!
How do you get through a rainy ride or winter weather in your area?
After a few days of early fall rain my folder is filthy. Sure, mounting a front fender would have helped, but I didn’t do that. Instead I have to wash my bike. Belgian Kneewarmers ran a great set of tips for all late/early season cyclists on just this topic: Strong enough for a cyclocross Hard(wo)man, gentle enough for… me.
I stopped by the shop to replace a sticky cable housing during the Fall storm ride and discovered that the Modal concept bike had been tack welded together, wrapped in plastic, and awaiting the Ti welder.
Just in time for a Fall storm in Seattle, Ibex sent us their Merino Wool
Knickers. During the course of an 1.5 hour ride, I rode in gray dampness, a squalling storm cell with 40 MPH winds, blindingly-bright sun, and some bonus hail – I was soaked through in about 3 minutes. Merino Wool and Ibex’s Climawool (stretchy, breathable, wool/synthetic blend) is perfect for a wide range of temperatures.
The Ibex knickers feature Climawool over the knees and mid-weight Merino in the back. They also have a “sansabelt” style elastic in the waist, like their shorts.
The knickers were comfortable, fit well, and most importantly kept my temperate moderate. Where my arms were freezing with lycra arm warmers during the squall part of the ride, I was good on the knees and thighs. The weight of the knickers is good for Fall and Spring, but not heavy enough for the Winter. The pad was OK, worked well for my brief ride, commuting, and errands, but I wouldn’t want to ride a century with it.
We’re big fans of Ibex for casual, travel, and cycling wear. For my trip next week to Taipei, I’m wearing mostly Ibex, Smartwool Socks, and Kuhl pants. More on that trip later.
Also check the Ibex Buzz blog for posts about their clothes and the company.
A bicycle caravan – with the theme, “Money or Life” – travels 500 miles across Europe to join protests in Prague against the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Caravan/Prague is a feature-length documentary about the caravan and is available now on DVD.
While you were still asleep, nestled cosy in your warm bed (Ok, maybe it was just me) the hardmen of Woodland Park were doing hard core CX Training in the rain, coached by Todd Herriott and Russell Cree of Herriott Sports Performance. And they’re making it look easy.
The training is focusing on core CX skills (witness Dave Reed’s heroic remount above!), as well as strength building exercises like plyometrics. Workouts are Tuesday mornings early at woodland park, call Herriott if you’re interested (may be full already, but they offer many other services as well). The current attendees include some of the top Cx contenders this year (Nick Weighall) and last (Morgan Schmidt placed 2nd in the U23 nationals last year, wasn’t sure he’d be competing in CX this year).
How, you may wonder, do I know they were making it look easy? Weeeelll, they made it look so easy I rode my little folder down one of the easier hills after they left. It’s ok, only my pride was bruised.
While entertaining a crew visiting from Bike Freak Magazine, the Chinook Cycling Club took them on various rides and introduced them to the famous tackweed (goathead) and a site dedicated to eradicating it. That reminded me of all the tackweed flats, running Slime, Mr. Tuffy’s, and it was usually better to leave a goathead in the tire until you got home.
In Seattle, most flats are caused by pinches, glass, staples, nails, and it’s much worse in the rainy season. Starting last year, I stopped using Mr. Tuffy, and instead roll the best tires with the most rubber and replace them as soon as they wear. I carry two tubes, and a tire boot for sidewall blow outs. I’ve also got fast patches and regular old Rema Tip Tops.
I also believe in flat karma, where some years you’ll flat all the time, and sometimes almost never. To put positive flat energy into the universe, I always ask a fellow cyclist who’s stopped if they need help and will give up a tube to the needy. I even bought a tire during a ride for a friend once.
What hazards await you on your ride and how do you avoid them? What’s your flat karma?
The goal of the follow-up ride is protest the extended closure of the Burke-Gilman trail in Freemont and the broken-promise sharrows on Stone Way. Hopefully the ride will help influence an upcoming city council meeting on these topics. Attire is ‘every day wear to work clothes’. There’s a planned route, established message, and clear guidance on cycling behaviour on the events link.
The issue’s been covered pretty heavily here and elsewhere and it seems like the issue is approaching a head. Ignore the rain, come out and help push bike lanes on Stone Way through and most importantly, make sure the city council gets it – making Seattle more bike friendly matters. (Actually, precip is supposed to be down to 40% chance by tomorrow evening.)