Friday, February 1, 2013

Ten Things I Hate Love About Riding in Rain

I began penning this post in my head a week ago, during one of my triumphant first rides "back in the saddle" after my auto injury, which I wrote about earlier this week. I looked outside in the post-breakfast light and saw a sprinkle in progress, so I put on my waterproof gloves as my five-year-old son Alton and I set out. Even riding at our slow (under 12mph) speeds, a sprinkle in the air is all it takes for me to feel like I'm riding into the spray of a garden hose and thoroughly drench my face and my attitude. "I hate riding in the rain," I grumbled inside my head as I uselessly swiped my gloves across the lens of my glasses. There are some Portland-area riders who wear their mud-spattered rain pants as a badge of honor, and look disdainfully at fair-weather cyclists who let their pedals gather dust through winter (and fall and spring--it IS Oregon, after all); I am not one of these die-hard cyclists. Riding your bike in the rain without being completely sopping and miserable represents an investment in gear to keep you dry, time to take a little extra care with your ride, and forethought in how you will keep your belongings from getting soaked (unless, of course, a bike is your sole means of transport, in which case these "costs" are peanuts compared to the cost of owning and maintaining a car), so I have to plan ahead. I sympathize, and will admit freely to occasionally submitting myself to the lure of sitting on top of four wheels instead of two when it's really pouring.
However, last Friday was not one of those days. It was not pouring down rain, just that aforementioned annoying drizzle, and so rather than driving I was out on my bike grouchily squinting through my foggy glasses...when I decided to turn my attitude around. There isn't anything that I can do about the rain--I live in Oregon, for heaven's sake--and so instead of letting my mood gloom over like the sky, I'll focus on the positive. Maybe someday these will become my first thoughts when I see the drops spatter on the pavement!

Top Ten Things I LOVE (or will eventually learn to) About Riding in the Rain:

  1. Free moisturizer for my skin as the droplets slowly skim down my cheeks.
  2. Fewer people out and about overall: cars, bikes, and pedestrians.
  3. My bike, bags, jacket, and helmet all get a rinse-off.
  4. I burn more calories, either by shivering in damp clothing, or by sweating inside my rain pants.
  5. Rainy days mean slightly warmer weather; there's a BIG difference between 37 and 47 degrees.
  6. It makes me appreciate dry, overcast days, not just sunny, sparkling, cloudless days.
  7. People gape at me, astounded that I would ride in such "awful" weather which, I'll admit it, makes me feel like a badass.
  8. I might see a rainbow. Cheesy, I know--I don't care.
  9. I wipe off my glasses over and over and over again, so they've never been so clean!
  10. It accustoms my son to say, when I hesitate about pedaling through a shower, things like, "Mommy, it's only water."
Happy wet riding!


  1. If I saw you riding in the rain I would honk and give you a giant thumbs up, maybe allowing you a #11 to your list!

  2. I love Alton's outlook! I've heard him say it before. However, I don't agree that there are less people on the streets when it rains, after all it's Oregon. If they stayed in because of the rain they'd never go out!