Wet Weather Commuting

When I started the blog for Crank the weather had yet to turn from late fall to early winter. The leaves had started to drop but the weather hadn’t flipped quite yet. I knew I had to start gearing up if I was going to commute by bike the next few months in the wet. I’d had never commuted in poor weather before so… all you need is a set of fenders… right?

I didn’t own a rain jacket, rain would soak right through my backpack, and every time I hopped on my bike I got a horrible ear ache from the cold air. I didn’t expect it to be a comfortable ride, but it was more uncomfortable than necessary.

So now that I’ve been riding into school for the first few months of winter term at PSU I thought I’d comment on the gear I got through Crank and how it’s been working out. If you’re like me and procrastinated on getting set up before the poor weather hit, there is still time to get in and order the things you need to get by.

I have two bags that I use daily. The Ortlieb Office Bag and the Ortlieb Notebook Sleeve.

The notebook sleeve slides into the organizational pocket in the Office Bag so your laptop isn’t sliding around when you ride. It also provides more slots to store things (laptop charger, pens, etc) if you end up just carrying your laptop sleeve around with you. The sleeve is a perfect fit for my macbook but I can squeeze a small notebook in with it if I need to. The Office Bag itself has enough room for both the laptop and a few textbooks. I can also fit in my workout clothes on top if necessary.

The bag clips right onto your rack. I’d never used a bag like this before but it just slides right oand locks. To remove it from your rack you just pull the handle. It stays on my bike and doesn’t clunk around or make any noise. It’s never gotten in the way of my riding or made my bike feel unstable. It has a clip-on strap so when you’re done riding you can use it as a messenger bag. The bag is completely waterproof.

I use a Kryptonite U-Lock. I also have a cable which I will bring with me depending on where I’m going and how long I’m going to be gone. Pretty self explanatory, but if you don’t have a bike lock you should probably get one.

Fuji Cambridge!

Riding down Ash in front of Crank! Note the blinky light- you should have at least one in front and in back.

A good choice for pedals if you don’t want to commit to clipless. The little knobs coming out of the pedal grips onto the bottom of your shoes preventing any slippage when riding in the wet. I’m working on getting some power grip straps set up too so I can pull up.

My hands get cold faster than anywhere else so I wanted some good gloves. The Pearl Izumi Shine Wind Mitt has a little pocket on the top which stores the wind mitt part. If it’s not really nasty out I can use them like normal gloves. If it’s especially cold or windy I pull the little shield out to cover my fingers. It’s just as easy to ride my bike and I can still reach the brakes without a hassle. They are not waterproof but they’ll keep your fingers from going numb from the cold and that’s the important part.

The last two things to mention would be the headband and the rain jacket. These two are also from Pearl Izumi and provide the extra bit of warmth needed to get through the ride. The jacket buttons around the neck keeping the heat in and has a flap to go over your butt to keep it dry. You can button the flap up, but I’ve never had a need to. There is a pocket on the back which I’ll occasionally stuff my gloves in if my hands get too warm. The jacket is tight fitting but I’ve worn a sweatshirt under it comfortably. It is completely waterproof- including the zipper. There is a detachable hood that goes over your helmet but I haven’t actually used it besides throwing it on to see how it worked.
The last thing I need is a set of rain pants, which I’ve made my way without for now. Hopefully this gave some ideas to the people out there who have yet to get ready for winter commuting or gave inspiration to those who haven’t ever tried it. It’s easy to stay warm and dry and commuting by bike is usually much quicker than driving or taking the bus. I commute down Ankeney to PSU and since the recent paving I ride all the way up Burnside past Sandy to get home. It takes me about 15 minutes each way, 35 minutes or more each way by bus and max.
Crank is officially OPEN for business so if you have any questions about riding in the bad weather or getting through the winter go in and talk to Justin or Chris. They can help set you up with something that will work for you or give you ideas on what you might need.
You can also email at spin.kinetic@gmail.com.
The address is 2725 SE Ash St. Portland, OR 97214



3 thoughts on “Wet Weather Commuting

  1. Pingback: What we carry « crank

  2. Pingback: back to school basics | crank

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