Monday, May 7, 2012

Survival Mondays: Learning to love the rain

Sure, I've ridden my bicycle in the rain. Once.

Two summers ago, I signed up for the Discover Hudson Valley Ride sponsored by Bike New York.* After what seemed like an entire summer of brilliantly sunny weekends, it poured all day long during the 2010 Hudson Valley ride. We had paid good money to register for that tour, so we rode despite the rain. In fact, once we resigned ourselves to the reality of being absolutely soaked to the bone, we stopped caring. It was fun to speed through puddles and feel the rain on our faces. (Although, that was a day when I sincerely wished I owned contact lenses. Or windshield wipers for my glasses.)

biking in the rain
Just a little damp.
When it comes to my commute to work, however, I haven't sucked up the courage to bike in the rain. My cat-like reaction to a few raindrops stems from a combination of many small annoyances: wet clothes, wet hair, no contacts. The biggest deterrent? I carry a laptop and cell phone when I commute.

Now that I've signed up for the National Bike Challenge—a free program that aims to get 50,000 people to bike a total of 10 million miles by August 31—I feel a little more pressure to take my cycling commute seriously. I rode my bike to work this morning under sunny skies, and I took my bike home on the subway under the threat of evening showers. All the way home, I found myself dreaming about waterproof commuting gear.

For small items, like a wallet or cellphone, a Ziplock bag should keep things dry. Cheap and easy rain protection!

For my laptop, and maybe even clothes, I have some research to do. Some potential options for waterproofing gear:
  • SealLine computer sleeve looks professional and reliable, but perhaps too bulky (and expensive!) for my needs.
  • ExPed or Sea to Summit dry bags work well for my camping gear. Why not for cycling, too?
  • This website suggests getting creative and making your own weatherproof case out of a Tyvek envelope.
Do you bike in the rain? What do you do to protect your gear from getting wet? Leave a comment!

*Tip: If the 5 Boro Bike Tour isn't your thing, try the Hudson Valley Ride. It's beautiful, fun, and a lot less crowded than its New York City counterpart.

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