Rainy Bicycle Rides

There are many wonderful reasons to live and work around Vancouver. One of many is the ability to ride year round. Of course, summer riding is supreme, but with storm season officially upon us, a whole new dimension has been added to the morning bike commute. For the brave, torrential rain and gusty winds on the downtown bike lanes tend to separate the weak from the strong. Rain during rush hour certainly brings some challenges, but for those who enjoy a good dose of nature, it also offers up unexpected thrills and delights; the sound of the wind, rain pelting in your face and slippey corners testing your balance.

Most of us are creatures of habits, and those dedicated and passionate commuting cyclists are no different. They tend to ride the same route, at the same hour of the day on their quest to get  to work on time. During storm season, a purpose is evident. Simply observe a group of cyclists at the next stop light. Splattered with mud, soaked to the skin, they will nod to each other, in solidarity. Comrades in Gortex, they bravely forgo the comforts of a car or bus and spin along our transportation corridors undeterred by the conditions.

While biking in the rain isn't for everyone, for many of our car free citizens it's a must. How do they survive the elements? Here are a few tips for riding in the rain from those die-hard, weather beaten commuters.

*  Install front and back lights on your bike or helmet - see and be seen

*  Wear good eye protection - keep debris away from your eyes.

*  Rain gear - invest in a good quality rain jacket and pants

*  Fenders - although a little 'nerdy' fenders will protect you from taking a mud bath

*  Footwear - from plastic bags to neoprene booties, keeping your feet warm and dry is the goal.

*  Gloves - warm hands make the difference

*  Smile - it works to lighten your mood and of course, keeps those in their vehicles guessing.

Gear up and ready to roll? Check out Vancouver's cycling map.

Here's a question for you. Will you get wetter if you walk, run or ride in the rain? Thankfully Harvard mathematician David Bell answered this old age question. It is true! When the rain is falling vertically, or the wind is in your face, you should ride, and the faster you ride, the less wet you will get. And that's science.


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