Some observations on commuting in the rain- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Some observations on commuting in the rain

    1) Planet Bike fenders rock in the rain. My butt is the driest part of me after the ride, a far cry from the pos fenders I used before, where my butt would be soaking from the spray and I'd have a skunk stripe up my back and helmet.
    2) My V-brakes suck in the rain. I wonder if disk brakes are better. My commuter frame does not have disk brake mounts, but I could get a new fork and put a mechanical disk brake in front.
    3) Converse All-Stars suck in the rain. Mind you, they aren't that great for riding in the dry either. I need some proper bike shoes and clipless pedals. Thinking Crank-Bros Smartys for the commuter. Then I could practice clipping out on the paved trails before dealing with that in the dirt.
    4) If it's not too cold, Lycra tights work fine. I realize they make me look gay, but I don't really care. Besides, I think some of the women at work dig them.

    Btw, anyone know if my Univega Rover 303 (I think it's the 2000 model year) takes a 1 1/8" headset? I'm considering putting either an 80mm suspension fork on it or a Surly 1x1 disk fork and trying running it as a 69er. The existing fork seems to be slightly suspension corrected, probably enough for the 75-80mm suspension but surely not enough for the 69er conversion. Might still try it.

  2. #2
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    You may want to try some shoe covers. Then your Allstars would still work. I have a pair of $30 Burley shoe covers that keep my nice and dry. They're just a thin piece of waterproofed nylon with a zipper on the side and a thin sole (kind of a high tech plastic bag, not the fancy neopreen things you can get). They've held up great for one full season so far except for a couple tiny holes where my pedals wore through the soles. I'm afraid that without some sort of shoe cover you may get wet no matter what kind of shoe you wear.

    As for v-brakes, yeah discs would be better but have you tried different pads? On my commuter I run a pair of regular pads on the back (nice and quite but not great in rain) and a pair of olive green pads (really abrasive so gritty sounding but stop well in the rain/snow) up front.

  3. #3
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    I actually do have shoe covers, but mine don't have a zipper and they are kinda hard to get into and out of. If it's really raining hard I'll use them, but otherwise they are too much bother.
    The brake pads are a good idea, but the selection around here is a bit limited (Iceland). I might add some to the order next time I order something for the mtb.

  4. #4
    Crunchatize me Capn'
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    Get some Kool Stop Salmon pads.

  5. #5
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    Your post makes me glad I live in the desert.

    BM
    "I've come to believe that common sense is not that common" - Matt Timmerman

  6. #6
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    Disc brakes work great in the rain.
    I ride a fixed gear so I don't use my brake unless I have to.
    Planet bike fenders are great, especially the 60mm ones with the mud flap. I mounted a set of 26" on my 700 bike because I had them.
    If it's summer I use clipless sandals. If it's warmish (45-60 degrees), sealskin sock and sandals. Otherwise I just wear my winter boots (Answer Kashmirs). I run eggbeaters on everything. I tried a set of Smartys but they weren't for me. Harder to clip in/out, no more stable feeling that standard eggs.
    Rain coat and rain pants work nice, but in the summer I get really warm. I can deal with the coat, but my legs get so hot. I need some waterproof knickers, any ideas for a cheap pair?

  7. #7

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    Fenders are great.

    However, I've found the best strategy for wet-weather commuting is simply to embrace getting wet. Rain gear turns into a freakin' sauna unless it's really cold out, and you end up just as soaked, only with slimy perspiration instead of rainwater. Proper clothes, especially wool, will insulate you even when soaked through (within reason).

    I have a pair of thin neoprene socks for wet weather that do a good job of keeping my feet warm, even when wet. When it's really cold out, I wear Lake winter boots - but only when it's below freezing. Otherwise, wool socks (with the neoprene socks over them if necessary) and regular shoes do the job just fine.

    Of course, I have access to a locker room and showers at my place of work - that makes a big difference when it comes to bike commuting and being presentable too.

  8. #8
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    I'll wear a rainproof jacket, wrap my helmet, and wear neoprene gloves & booties but I only have a 8 mile commute and will usually cruise very leisurely on wet days to not overheat.

    I have ridden without any waterproof stuff, but my feet and hands feel horrible afterwards. Waterproofing helmet and jacket are very optional.

    Above all, I wouldn't ride in wet weather if I didn't have full fenders. You may not care about how much gunk you accumulate on your body/clothes, but it keeps all that stuff off your bike components too.

  9. #9
    Cows make the best meat
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    I agree with DDane just get wet (I also have showers at work) I have never had luck with staying totally dry and cool. Rain smells better than sweat. I also run front fender and a solid rear rack acts just like a fender but more uses. I never take either one off like bstyle said it keeps all kinds of gunk off your componets in all kinds of weather. Mesh like boat shoes are great for riding in the rain grippy and dry quick.
    - Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups -

  10. #10
    Ovaries on the Outside
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    I have a three piece ensemble for my commute:

    Waterproof jacket
    Waterproof pants
    Neoprene booties

    I just wear whatever I'm giong to wear to work under and maybe have a jacket in my bag. The booties are cheap Performance things, but they fit over my casual/dress shoes and have proven to be waterproof. I think a back fender is mandatory.

  11. #11
    Red Rider
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    I use Headland plastic fenders on my bike. The rear mounts on the seatpost using a screw-in plastic knob. The front uses two velcro straps that mount around the frame. They work great and cost about $14.00 at Performance Bike. The only drawback to the front fender is that if you are turning, the wheel is not aligned with the fender so you may get splashed a little. Most times, you tend to go slow into a turn so you don't have to worry about getting dirty or wet for long.

    I keep a rain jacket in my bag but only used it 3 times. 2 of those times I took it off before I got home because it was like a sauna. The one time that it did work for me but I removed one layer before putting it on and traveled slow. Rainpants are a good idea not only from rain protection, but from road grime getting on your legs.

    I like Chucks myself but they suck just for everyday use too (unless you do like me and get some of those nice drugstore shoe inserts). You could probably get a good deal on a shoe and pedal package at Nashbar, Performance or Price Point for under $50. Probably would be SPD type clipless instead of Cranks but if you're new to the clipless thing, this would be a good way to get in cheaply, Then you could upgrade to Cranks and keep the same shoe by switching out the cleats.
    RIDE OR DIE...

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