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Guest post: 9 tips for a better rainy day bike ride

Guest post: 9 tips for a better rainy day bike ride

test- Uberhood Bicycle Umbrella-2

A bicycle umbrella (like this one we tested last year) isn’t necessary, but the great tips below are required reading.
(Photo: Juli Maus)

Note: This post was submitted by BikePortland Subscriber Kevin Schmidt from Pedal PT. Want to submit posts on behalf of yourself or your business? Become a subscriber today!

With the onset of the rain this week, it’s always good to review some ‘best practice’ tips for dealing with the weather, while still enjoying your ride.

Here are some tips/tricks we’ve learned in our 7+ years of car-free commuting in Portland:

1) Always have a spare pair of socks and underwear at the office

2) Use ziplock bags inside your waterproof bike bag for added rainproofing for phone, wallet, etc.

3) If you wear glasses, a short brimmed cycling cap works great to keep the rain out of your eyes/glasses.

4) Lights lights lights. (When in on roads with car, pedestrian traffic, we prefer to use the flashing setting. However, if riding on a protected bike path, use a solid beam, but be careful to not point your light up towards oncoming riders faces.







5) Fenders and/or rain pants are really a must-have in downpour weather. Get them soon before they all sell out in your size – it happens every year!

6) I personally always prefered the hood of my jacket over the helmet (if your jacket can stretch enough, and still allow you to zip up fully). However, in the last year I got a nice snug rain jacket that zips up the neck a bit. When worn with a cap and helmet, I really never really get too soaked. 


7) Layering is usually best, as rain tends to soak into your jacket if it’s on its second or third season. Start with a wool/wicking base layer, followed waterproof-ish jacket or vest, and then have a rainshell on top of all of it. (Yes, 100% not fun when you get sweaty!)

8) Waterproof socks (vs shoe covers) can keep feet and shoes dry, as rain pants will allow the water to drip into socks/shoes over time.

9) As many folks who have been year-round riders always say: “In the Pacific NW, there is no such thing as bad weather – only bad gear.” Invest in good quality waterproof jackets, rain pants, and bags – it will last 2-3 seasons before needing replacement.

Do you have other great tips for bicycling during the rainy months? Whatever you do… just embrace it!

BTA New Year's Day Ride-23

If you’re new to town and want more great tips and advice, browse the BikePortland archives for a treasure-trove of insights and expert rainy riding tips.

— Kevin Schmidt, PT, MSPT, CMP, Bike PT is Owner/Founder of Pedal PT in Portland, Oregon.

BikePortland is supported by the community (that means you!). Please become a subscriber or make a donation today.

The post Guest post: 9 tips for a better rainy day bike ride appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Comment of the Week: Eight simple tips for wet riding

Comment of the Week: Eight simple tips for wet riding

Riders in the storm-13

Savor it.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

For those of you who’ve moved to Oregon in the last year: yes, every winter is like this.

Just kidding. But this soggy, blustery week has certainly given us a reminder of what we do to pay for those long summer evenings. In Monday’s open thread about riding through the day’s downpour, BikePortland reader Pedal PT offered a list of simple suggestions for rainy riding. They’re a perfect introduction to a commute that can be surprisingly fun.

At least if you’re prepared.

At least, once or twice a year.


Anyway, here’s the advice:

Rode in at 9am after dropping kids off.. West on Clinton from SE 52nd is was fairly smooth, all things considering, although I got soaked shoes/socks/underwear on my short commute.

In anyone needs any assistance today, please stop in our office at 25th and Clinton to dry out!

Some of my best tips for ‘pouring rain’ biking include:
– Always have a spare pair of socks and underwear at the office (both came in handy today, whew!)
– Use ziplock bags inside your waterproof bike bag for added rainproofing for pone, wallet, etc.
– If you wear glasses, a short brimmed cycling cap works great to keep the rain out of your eyes/glasses.
– I prefer the hood of my jacket over the helmet if your jacket can stretch enough, and still allow you to zip up fully
– Layering is usually best, as rain might tends to soak into your jacket if it’s on it’s 2nd or 3rd season: start with a wool/wicking base layer, followed waterproof-ish jacket or vest, and then have a rainshell on top of all of it. (Yes, 100% not fun when you get sweaty!)
– Lights lights lights
– Fenders and rain pants are really not an option in downpour weather like today- (Get them soon before they all sell out in your size– it happens every year!)
– Although I (foolishly) did not wear them today, waterproof socks vs shoe covers can keep feet and shoes dry

Hope that helps– Luckily, we usually don’t get slammed like today more that 2-3x/year.. We’ll see!

That sounds about right. Stay dry over the next week, everybody.

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 – michael@bikeportland.org

Yes, we pay for good comments. This regular feature is sponsored by readers who’ve become BikePortland subscribers to keep our site and our community strong. We’ll be sending $5 and a little goodie bag to PedalPT in thanks for this great addition. Watch your email!


The post Comment of the Week: Eight simple tips for wet riding appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Rain, landslides, and flooded streets: How are you handling the storm?

Rain, landslides, and flooded streets: How are you handling the storm?

Riders in the storm-1

After some very cold weather last month things have now gotten wet. Very wet. Streets throughout the city are flooded, we’ve seen at least one closure due to a landslide, and of course as a result traffic is even crazier than usual.

So, how are you holding up out there?

Riders in the storm-11

– Advertisement –


Riders in the storm-4

Here are a few of the latest updates on road conditions…

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Let's just say that was a 💦💦💦 ride into work this morning. Huge puddle on N Vancouver coming into Moda Center. @BikePortland @go_by_bike

— Thomas (@helloimthomasl) December 7, 2015

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@PBOTactive @PBOTinfo @BikePortland not sure who to tell, but Vancouver at NE Broadway (the bridge over hwy) is totally flooded (knee deep)

— TwoWheels&ALady (@2WheelsAndALady) December 7, 2015

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Hey Portlanders, it is a legit mess out there. Flooding everywhere. Lots of deceptive ponding. And people driving like jerks. Be careful.

— Tara Goddard (@GoddardTara) December 7, 2015

We know from past experience that many of you are not deterred by the rain.

Are your DIY rain-proofing hacks working? What about that spendy new rain jacket and pants you invested in? Or have you just given up and hopped in a car or transit?

There’s talk of a big rally tomorrow (Tuesday) night to celebrate the Timbers MLS Cup win. If you plan to be there on a bike, do you have some tips to share about dealing with this wet weather?

Share your experiences and tips, or just simply vent and commiserate, in the comments below.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org


The post Rain, landslides, and flooded streets: How are you handling the storm? appeared first on BikePortland.org.

‘Day without the bicycle’ follow-up: How to make 1/3 of Portland’s bikers vanish

‘Day without the bicycle’ follow-up: How to make 1/3 of Portland’s bikers vanish

bike count decline

The other day I did a fun post with some back-of-the-envelope math to estimate what it might look like if every Portland bike commuter switched to a car for one day. Here’s a tidbit I didn’t have room to include: massive temporary shifts from bike to other modes already happen regularly.

They happen every time it rains. Rain eliminates about one in three bike trips citywide, to be precise.

Two weeks ago, we had a rare rainy spell on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Hawthorne Bridge bike counter showed a drop of 37 percent from the July average for those days.

Not all of those trips switched to cars, of course — it’s likely that a lot of them switched to public transit or (especially with non-work errands) were just skipped or delayed until the rain stopped.

This isn’t just something that happens in the summer. Last November, city traffic count expert Tom Jensen sent BikePortland a chart that used “some more or less random samples” of bike counts to find a similar drop in bike traffic population that week:

jensen bike counts

So there’s both a seasonal variation in local bike traffic, and day-by-day variation.

Aside from the trivia about how many bike trips go away in the rain, we’ve got two quick takeaways from this:

No, this is not because Portlanders are wimps, etc. It’s because people find it more pleasant to bike when it is not raining than when it is raining. Generally mild weather is a big reason why a lot of people bike in Portland, San Francisco and Seattle (not to mention Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Copenhagen) in the first place.

Portland’s transportation system absorbs all these trips without much trouble. There’s definitely a slowdown in traffic when it rains, but some of that is due to the weather itself. On the other hand, rush hours are also noticeably more crowded on TriMet in heavy rain. Go figure.

The post ‘Day without the bicycle’ follow-up: How to make 1/3 of Portland’s bikers vanish appeared first on BikePortland.org.

‘Day without the bicycle’ follow-up: How to make 1/3 of Portland’s bikers vanish

‘Day without the bicycle’ follow-up: How to make 1/3 of Portland’s bikers vanish

bike count decline

The other day I did a fun post with some back-of-the-envelope math to estimate what it might look like if every Portland bike commuter switched to a car for one day. Here’s a tidbit I didn’t have room to include: massive temporary shifts from bike to other modes already happen regularly.

They happen every time it rains. Rain eliminates about one in three bike trips citywide, to be precise.

Two weeks ago, we had a rare rainy spell on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Hawthorne Bridge bike counter showed a drop of 37 percent from the July average for those days.

Not all of those trips switched to cars, of course — it’s likely that a lot of them switched to public transit or (especially with non-work errands) were just skipped or delayed until the rain stopped.

This isn’t just something that happens in the summer. Last November, city traffic count expert Tom Jensen sent BikePortland a chart that used “some more or less random samples” of bike counts to find a similar drop in bike traffic population that week:

jensen bike counts

So there’s both a seasonal variation in local bike traffic, and day-by-day variation.

Aside from the trivia about how many bike trips go away in the rain, we’ve got two quick takeaways from this:

No, this is not because Portlanders are wimps, etc. It’s because people find it more pleasant to bike when it is not raining than when it is raining. Generally mild weather is a big reason why a lot of people bike in Portland, San Francisco and Seattle (not to mention Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Copenhagen) in the first place.

Portland’s transportation system absorbs all these trips without much trouble. There’s definitely a slowdown in traffic when it rains, but some of that is due to the weather itself. On the other hand, rush hours are also noticeably more crowded on TriMet in heavy rain. Go figure.

The post ‘Day without the bicycle’ follow-up: How to make 1/3 of Portland’s bikers vanish appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Portlanders pedal through the storm

Portlanders pedal through the storm

Rain rider

Undeterred.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Portland was pelted with a serious storm this weekend. High winds and heavy rainfall lasted throughout all of Saturday and Sunday and while forecasters say the worst is over, this morning’s commute was far from a cakewalk.

But like always when the weather turns tough, there are still a lot of Portlanders who will bike right through it. I headed out with my camera this morning to capture some of the action.

Sideways rain hammered the bike commuters I saw this morning in north and downtown Portland. Yet while the number of riders was down significantly from an average weekday, there was still a relatively steady stream of people on bikes. In addition to rain and wind, they had to dodge fallen tree limbs, curbside lakes, and all manner of debris on the road.

It’s also worth noting that today is the final day of the BTA’s Bike Commute Challenge. Speaking of which, here’s BTA Executive Director Rob Sadowsky showing how it’s done…

Riders in the storm-16

And as the rest of the hardy folks in the photos below illustrate, we learned this morning why the BTA calls it a “challenge”…

Riders in the storm-13

Riders in the storm-1

Riders in the storm-2

Riders in the storm-4

Riders in the storm-5

Riders in the storm-6

Riders in the storm-7

Riders in the storm-8

Riders in the storm-9

Riders in the storm-10

Riders in the storm-11

Riders in the storm-12

Riders in the storm-14

Riders in the storm-17

Riders in the storm-18

Riders in the storm-19

Riders in the storm-22

Riders in the storm-24

And then a ray of hope that the worst is over…

Riders in the storm-23

Did you ride this morning and/or over the weekend? If not, why not? If so, what was it like?

Portlanders pedal through the storm

Portlanders pedal through the storm

Rain rider

Undeterred.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Portland was pelted with a serious storm this weekend. High winds and heavy rainfall lasted throughout all of Saturday and Sunday and while forecasters say the worst is over, this morning’s commute was far from a cakewalk.

But like always when the weather turns tough, there are still a lot of Portlanders who will bike right through it. I headed out with my camera this morning to capture some of the action.

Sideways rain hammered the bike commuters I saw this morning in north and downtown Portland. Yet while the number of riders was down significantly from an average weekday, there was still a relatively steady stream of people on bikes. In addition to rain and wind, they had to dodge fallen tree limbs, curbside lakes, and all manner of debris on the road.

It’s also worth noting that today is the final day of the BTA’s Bike Commute Challenge. Speaking of which, here’s BTA Executive Director Rob Sadowsky showing how it’s done…

Riders in the storm-16

And as the rest of the hardy folks in the photos below illustrate, we learned this morning why the BTA calls it a “challenge”…

Riders in the storm-13

Riders in the storm-1

Riders in the storm-2

Riders in the storm-4

Riders in the storm-5

Riders in the storm-6

Riders in the storm-7

Riders in the storm-8

Riders in the storm-9

Riders in the storm-10

Riders in the storm-11

Riders in the storm-12

Riders in the storm-14

Riders in the storm-17

Riders in the storm-18

Riders in the storm-19

Riders in the storm-22

Riders in the storm-24

And then a ray of hope that the worst is over…

Riders in the storm-23

Did you ride this morning and/or over the weekend? If not, why not? If so, what was it like?

What are your best tips for staying warm and dry?

What are your best tips for staying warm and dry?

Rider in the storm.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)r

OK folks, it has begun. After an unnaturally long spell of dry and sunny weather, some wet and cold weather is here. This morning’s commute was probably the toughest one since the end of last winter. While I’d love to think that we all pay it no mind and continue on our merry biking ways, it does have an impact.

The bikeways are much less crowded than they were just a few weeks ago. Last week was the lowest count of trips on the Hawthorne Bridge recorded since the new counter went in back in August and Saturday’s 1,536 trips was the lowest ever recorded. But, as a photo shared by the BTA this morning shows, lots of folks are still riding!

For those of you who press on through the darkness, wetness, and the cold, what are your secrets?

I know there’s a group of you out there on the fence. You’ve gotten into riding and you’re committed; but without a bit of encouragement and gear advice, you might just hop on the bus, on the train, or — gasp! — get in your car.

I figure if we can share enough of the latest and greatest advice on gear and clothing, and share some encouraging words, we just might help a bunch of people keep on riding. One thing I’ve learned from doing this blog the past seven years is that well-timed information and inspiration can do great things. We had a bunch of great tips shared last time we did this back in January, but I figure it’s time for an update.

So, let’s have it.

Is wool still a rain rider’s best friend?
Poncho or jacket?
Do you prefer to get wet and stay warm or stay dry and overheat?
What about the kids? (Do bike trains still run in the rain?)
Where can I get a rain cover for my bakfiets?
Who makes the best fenders?

Thanks for sharing your tips and advice. If this works, we’ll see a lot more people smiling in the rain like our friend Joel…

BTA New Year's Day Ride-23

What are your best tips for staying warm and dry?

What are your best tips for staying warm and dry?

Rider in the storm.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)r

OK folks, it has begun. After an unnaturally long spell of dry and sunny weather, some wet and cold weather is here. This morning’s commute was probably the toughest one since the end of last winter. While I’d love to think that we all pay it no mind and continue on our merry biking ways, it does have an impact.

The bikeways are much less crowded than they were just a few weeks ago. Last week was the lowest count of trips on the Hawthorne Bridge recorded since the new counter went in back in August and Saturday’s 1,536 trips was the lowest ever recorded. But, as a photo shared by the BTA this morning shows, lots of folks are still riding!

For those of you who press on through the darkness, wetness, and the cold, what are your secrets?

I know there’s a group of you out there on the fence. You’ve gotten into riding and you’re committed; but without a bit of encouragement and gear advice, you might just hop on the bus, on the train, or — gasp! — get in your car.

I figure if we can share enough of the latest and greatest advice on gear and clothing, and share some encouraging words, we just might help a bunch of people keep on riding. One thing I’ve learned from doing this blog the past seven years is that well-timed information and inspiration can do great things. We had a bunch of great tips shared last time we did this back in January, but I figure it’s time for an update.

So, let’s have it.

Is wool still a rain rider’s best friend?
Poncho or jacket?
Do you prefer to get wet and stay warm or stay dry and overheat?
What about the kids? (Do bike trains still run in the rain?)
Where can I get a rain cover for my bakfiets?
Who makes the best fenders?

Thanks for sharing your tips and advice. If this works, we’ll see a lot more people smiling in the rain like our friend Joel…

BTA New Year's Day Ride-23