Monday, March 1, 2010

A Cold, Rainy Commute!

Today was not the coldest, wettest day I've commuted to work and back, but I wanted to put this post up so you could see that the weather should not keep you off your bike, unless you just want it to. I took this picture right after I got home. The temperature was about 40 degrees, and it rained just about all day. I have on my regular work clothes under the rain pants and a light waterproof jacket over a fleece vest.

One of the most important things for me is the ear muffs! They really make a difference when the weather is in the 40's or lower. When it is much colder, I wear a full balaclava that covers most of my face. Another very important clothing item is the mittens that are resting on the pannier. They are waterproof and insulated. The only time I wear them is when it is a cold rain, other days just fleece gloves or other light gloves.

I also like my dorky riding glasses. They have a special prescription insert (which I could not do without) and they are large enough that they protect my eyes from the rain and wind. And speaking of "dorky", how about that rear view mirror! I don't need any surprises coming up behind me, and I also don't mind getting over to let the faster vehicles pass.

This bike is a 1983 Trek 510. It is the first road bike I purchased, and I turned it into my main commuter bike recently. The handlebars put me in a more upright position than the drop bars that were on this bike, and being more upright improves my vision of the other vehicles that I encounter on my commute. Notice the plastic fenders that I added. It was difficult to make fenders fit this bike, because the bike was never intended to have fenders, but fenders make the ride on a rainy day! They really help me remain clean on the bike (and they keep the bike cleaner) because the spray from the tires is not thrown up on me or the bike.

Many cyclist think this is the most important part of the commuter's bike, the rear blinky. This little red light has 10 led bulbs that can stay on constantly, or blink in about 10 different configurations. It is VERY bright!

This front light may be as important as the one on the rear. It is a very bright light that can also go into a blinking mode. There are two things to consider when putting lights on a bike, one is for the light to help you see, the other is for the light to help you be seen! I actually have one additional light on the bike that is a blue blinky on the front, and if you look back at my helmet in the photo of me above, you'll notice a small light on it also. Hopefully, everyone can see me coming!

The final picture of my commuter bike is the pedals. I chose these wide platform pedals because there are several starts and stops on my commute, so it really was of no benefit to have pedals with straps or clips. I can wear the same shoes on my bike that I will work in all day, although I do keep an extra pair of shoes at the office just in case my shoes get too wet or muddy on the ride.

I have another bike that I ride when the weather is REALLY bad, and still another road bike for longer distance rides for fun and more exercise. Stay tuned for pics of them to come!

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