Biking In the Rain: Gear, Tips, and Gentle Encouragement

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Before we get started with the how-to and the gear guide, let’s address the why – why should you bike in the rain? Especially when there are so many other options like buses, trains, private cars, taxis, subways, Car2GoModoEvo, limousines, Uberthat other car-sharing service with the mustaches, walking with an umbrella, walking in a raincoat, walking in a wetsuit, or my personal favorite: not leaving your house at all.

Unfortunately, we do occasionally have to leave our houses when we don’t want to, and if those occasions happen with relative frequency (say, Monday to Friday mornings), those limousine fares are going to add up. So why not bike?

Rainy-day bike commuting does not exactly scream “Fun!” to most people, and that’s understandable. It’s wet, dark, a little more dangerous than riding in the sun, and did we mention that’s it wet? In my early days of bike commuting I too was a fair-weather rider. I would hang my bike up whenever it so much as sprinkled and take the bus – getting soaked just seemed too inconvenient.

But then I began to realize that not having your bike with you is even less convenient than a little water on your face, and that there is magical clothing that will keep you dry in even the most inclement of weather. Things began to change.

First a rain jacket and a ride to work in a light drizzle, then rain pants and a day of errands in a considerable rainfall. I ceased to loathe the wet weather, and began to truly love it. The streets are quieter, the bike lanes are nearly empty, there’s a certain satisfaction in the heaviness of your breath against the freshness of the rain on your face. The next thing I knew it was waterproof gloves, a full-on rain suit complete with booties, waterproof panniers and a leisure ride in a torrential downpour praying for a hurricane. Okay maybe not that hurricane part, but you get the idea.

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