Riders on the Storm

…Or under the storm, as the case may be. El Niño has arrived, and be glad of it: wet streets are a small price to pay for the grace of rain. I like the saying I saw on a farming site, something to the effect that, “Despite all our progress, our lives depend on six inches of topsoil and the fact that it rains.”

No rain = no food. And besides, tha rain is beautiful, even on a bike. Sometimes especially on a bike. When else does LA smell good?

But you have to be prepared.

Oftentimes when it’s raining lightly I don’t even bother with raingear. Why? I have wool clothing (most of it of my own design), and good wool tends to dry out at abut the same rate that it gets wet if the rain’s not too hard. And if wool does become soaked, it’ll still keep you warm. Forget synthetics, and stay far away from cotton. Wear wool in the rain. Get it at Goodwill, or check out Flying Pigeon for some new old stock of my Bicycle Fixation gear. You may actually want it to rain for your next ride!

If it’s raining harder, you will need raingear, and here the poncho or rain cape wins. Yes, the fellow riding through the downpour in the header photo is wearing an overall-type rainsuit, but that’s in Portland. In LA, such gear becomes a mobile sauna. A rain cape is open on the bottom, allowing air to circulate, yet extends over your extended arms to tent your legs. Most capes have hoods or helmet covers, but even better is a sou’wester hat such as used on commercial fishing boats.

But if you use a rain cape—and you shoudl—you’d better have fenders to keep your own wheels from catapulting dirty street water all over you. Again, Flying Pigeon can set you up. I keep my fenders on all year round, because there are always puddles in the street somewhere, and…they aren’t always water.

Finally, lights! LA drivers act like fools in the best of times, and don’t think they’ll stop texting at the wheel just because it’s raining and the wipers don’t work. Light up and make sure they know something’s there in front of them.

Have Flying Pigeon check and set your brakes, air up your tires, replace any worn parts, and of course lube your chain, and you’re set to enjoy an LA you’ve rarely felt before, sweet-smelling and aglow with jewels of reflected lamplight.

And you know you’ll still be able to eat next year….

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One Comment

  1. Posted February 20, 2016 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

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2 Trackbacks

  1. […] offers tips for riding in the rain. Rick Risemberg recommends lights, capes, wool clothing and fenders, while Ciclelicious asks which fender. I’d suggest this one, but I doubt it would […]

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