17 June 2011

Riders In The Storm?

Today I went for another ride with my new riding partner.  We got out later than we'd originally planned because she was summoned, at the last moment, to a second interview for a job that she really wants.  

As we did on our previous ride, we met at a little park with a big statue that stands almost exactly halfway between my place and hers.  And the clouds that covered the sky grew darker and thickened.  Times like that remind me of at least one of the reasons I cycle:  Somehow I manage, in such situations, to believe that the rain will hold off long enough for me to do my ride.  Or, sometimes I like to "play chicken with the rain," as if I could dare it. Some of the rides I've enjoyed most are the ones in which I "held off" the rain long enough to finish my ride, and the first drops fell just after I got home--or just before.

There have been times in my life in which those rides were the only occasions in which I could muster up any sort of optimism, much less the defiant kind that motivates me to "play chicken with the rain."  

Today we did get caught in the rain.  As a matter of fact, we got soaked by a sudden downpour.  As it was a warm day, I didn't mind; in fact, I rather like getting rained on during a summer ride.  On the other hand, she doesn't care much for riding in the rain, although she didn't complain.  

But we both agree that we're willing to take a chance on a heavily overcast day when there's a possibility of precipitation, although neither of us wants to start a ride in the rain.  I've ridden with people who went out and rode no matter the conditions, and with others (including a ride leader in a club to which I belonged) who literally wouldn't ride if there was a single cloud in the sky or the temperature was below 40 degrees F. 

How do you feel about riding in the rain?  Are you one of those riders who will go out even when an old guy with a long beard is gathering animals into a boat?  Or are you a rider who won't ride if there's even the slightest possiblity of rain? (If you are, what are you doing in the Northeast or Northwest?)  Or are you like me:  willing to chance that "stray" shower or the passing storm?


  1. Rain is OK, but I draw the line when lightning starts striking.

  2. melissatheragamuffinJune 19, 2011 at 7:23 AM

    I put disc brakes on my bike with riding in the rain in mind. Previously, I always felt skittish about my brakes in the rain. Everyone kept telling me to just give myself plenty of stopping time, and I would wonder what roads they were riding on. When a car cuts you off and then hits its brakes you don't have plenty of stopping time. If I hit my brakes I need the bike to stop.

  3. Sometimes, I go for a ride just because it is raining. But, like Steve, I try to avoid God's bug-zapper...

  4. I'm willing to take the chance. I got caught in the rain on Friday too. I won't normally take the bike out if it's pouring, but if rain is in the forecast, and I really want to ride, I try to get out there before it starts and then come what may.

  5. Steve, Jon and Sue: I agree.

    Melissa: It's true that you want the bike to stop in such a situation. But you want it to be a controlled stop. If you stop so suddenly that you're pitched from your bike, you could get just as hurt as if your bike doesn't stop quickly enough. You want to veer away from the car as you stop.

    Also, when they talk about giving yourself more time, they're talking about split-seconds.If your rims are wet, you need to "squeegee" them with your brakes, as most pads won't grip on a wet rim. As often as not, the pads will "hydroplane" unless you whisk the water off them with a gradual squeeze of your levers.