A reader wrote in to ask a well-timed question about riding in the rain.
Don’t laugh but what do cyclist do when it rains? I’m asking because I would love to get rid of my shitty car and get a bike but I’m worried about the rain here in the bay area.
– Joe, Manning Web and Graphic Design
Good questions – the best of all possible worlds is full fenders, often with a mudflap (especially if you ride with others), and a rain cape/poncho. If full fenders won’t fit your bike, there are lots of options, including those easy-on fenders.
There’s a tremendous amount of rain gear out there – jackets, rainpants, booties to cover your shoes, gloves, helmet covers. See my post here on riding in the rain in Seattle. I ride hard in the ride, training, and a cape (especially not Gore) is too hot. Windtec (or similar products) are the best because you’re going to get soaked not matter what and what you want to do is stay warm, but not hot.
You still may be a little wet, but you can usually address this either by keeping a couple of towels at work or by finding shower facilities at or near work. When I use to commute, I found a little-used shower in my building, intended for use by operations personnel if there was a multi-day disaster. My commuting partner and I stashed soap, washcloths, and towels at work, used that shower, and found a utility room so we didn’t even have to lock the bikes outside. Also, if a shower isn’t available, use alcohol and cotton rounds - wipe down with alcohol and that should be enough to get you through the day.