Riding in harsh weather can actually be fun
by David Newcomer / Customer Service Manager
Riding all year, I must admit that, on occasion, riding in harsh weather is fun. Not when it's so bad as to be dangerous (or more dangerous than our being on the road can already be), but the change can be a welcome one.
As the seasons change, you'll find yourself caught in some weather that you expect, and sometimes it comes out of nowhere. Today, I set out knowing it would likely be wet, but I didn't expect the amount of rain we got! Or the snow. Or, the face-stinging graupel for which I had to cover my face.
I know - this isn't sounding all that fun yet, right? But here's the thing, I was dressed well for it, make it safe and sound, and I'll remember it. (And so will my neighbor Jack who I ran into while he was walking his dog. And to his credit, he was out in it, too.)
So, when we elect to ride in these times, or if we're in a position where we don't have a choice, what do we need to be concerned with?
- Visibility – This one rises to the top if you're on the road. I ride with a rear light all the time now (and I'm sure we've talked about this before). Today's lights are long-lasting, brighter than ever, and easy to recharge. Speaking of which, let me plug mine in...you can also make sure you're wearing bright, contrasting colors (socks are a favorite for me since they're moving too).
- And the ability to see! – Clear lenses (or yellow or red) are a must.
- Clothing choices – A good breathable rain jacket like our Torrent Stretch Waterproof Jacket that comes in black and hi-vis Manic is amazing! I put it through the paces this morning and could not be happier. I love, too, that the basics of a 3-layer approach to getting dressed (that we've known of for decades in hiking, skiing and backpacking) apply so easily now to cycling. Start with a good base layer that moves moisture away from the body, add a thermal layer and/or warmers, and finish it off with an effective jacket or vest for the elements you're going to encounter (wind, rain, whatever). Boom! Done.
- Ears, hands and feet – Good choices here can make all the difference! Shoe covers can make a big difference, and while there was enough rain today that my feet got wet, anyway, they did stay warm with the additional protection. Waterproof gloves (neoprene, today) and a good head cover under the helmet topped it all off.
This morning's adventure was a good one. And the ride home is shaping up to be a sunny and easy one by comparison. I've got a spare kit at the office, so the clothes will be dry, but I'm not so sure about the shoes just yet. And the bike will need to be washed again when I get home.
And it's all worth it!
See you out there.
About the Author
A lifelong commuter and amateur racer in road, CX and MTB, David Newcomer has experience with just about every aspect of our sport. A former race director of the Bob Cook Memorial Mt. Evans Hill Climb, and Executive Director of one of the largest cycling clubs in Colorado, he brings a wide range of experience to share with others. David is the Customer Service Manager at Pactimo and host of our podcast "On the Road with Pactimo." You can reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org