Monday, October 13, 2008

How Dry I Am (Not!)

Today was my first ride to work in a real rain. I'd always managed to dodge the showers and ride in a drizzle, or just on wet pavements, but not today. This morning it was about 50 degrees with a steady, but relatively light rain.

I took it slow since I didn't wear my glasses, had a tiny hint of a headache, and wanted to allow more time for my brakes to work. I also figured folks in cars were having a hard enough time without having to worry about hitting me, so I wanted be extra careful. In all, it was a great ride, and I was quite comfortable.

My PI convertible cycling jacket/vest kept my core warm and dry (and conspicuous with its high-viz yellow color), and my baselayer tights kept my legs warm, though they were wet. My gloves were soaked and my head wet, too, but mostly I noticed that my shoes were flooded. I've been wearing SmartWool socks, and they are great. I did get to experience that whole "wool is warm when wet" thing, but I could feel the water welling up in my sneakers, especially when I hit puddles. I imagine I will need to get some kind of wet weather bootie for my feet.

Now the big question for you bicycle commuters. How do you, or do you, dry your gear when you get to the office so that you aren't putting on cold, damp clothing for the ride home?

I've got my gloves on an air vent at my cube, and I put my shoes on air vents in a seldom used lab/conference room. I draped my shorts over my PC. I also put my baselayer top and bottom on hangers and put them inside a server rack in the lab. In all, I think I'm being somewhat inconspicuous and respectful to my coworkers, but I'd love to hear your stories and ideas.


munsoned said...

Well, I pretty much just hang up my stuff and hope it's dry in 8 hours. Make sure that none of the vents you put your specialty cycling stuff on has heat blowing out of it. I know one person who put their cycling shoes on a heater to dry them out and the shoes really got messed up. Mostly I'd worry about leather.

I'm guessing that it will still be raining on the ride home, so if my clothes are still wet when I leave, the rain will just add more weight and that's about it. I wore my longsleeve Smartwool baselayer, a running t-shirt, bike shorts with knickers over them then wool socks under my sandals. Wool is amazing stuff. Granted, I was only out there for 20 minutes, but my wool sock covered feet were warm even though I was wearing sandals.

With neoprene booties, if the rain and road spray is strong enough, the water soaking your legs is eventually going to seep down into your shoes. That's just the way rain is.

Way to keep the commuter life going!!

Biker Bob said...

Good job on the ride in today. I, on the other hand, drove in. But I had a convenient excuse. My van's engine light is on, so I have to drop it off at the shop in Waterloo after work. I'll be riding home from there, and probably will get wet in the process.

Some people in our office have small fans they use in the summer if their office get's too work. I usually borrow one of those, and try to set my clothes up so I can have the fan blowing on them during the day. The technical fabrics dry pretty fast.

Scott Redd said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Munson and Bob.

I rather enjoyed my commute today. This crisp weather is awesome for riding, even if it was a little wet.

It's funny how my brain separates and compartmentalizes my ride time versus other times of the day with respect to temperature.

I was warm on my wet ride this morning, wearing thin layers of technical clothing. However, when I went outside for lunch, my first thought was, "Dang, it's cold out here. I should have worn my jacket."

I think I might bring in a small fan and keep it under my desk for those damp days.

During the middle of the day I counted only four bikes on the racks, including mine. One was the flat-tired Giant that doesn't move. In the middle of the summer, I'll see 20-25 bikes on the racks. It will be fun to see which bikes come and go as the colder weather sets in.

Emily said...

I'm cold.
I would probably be cold if I was riding with you.
I'm not good at being cold.

Biker Bob said...

39ºF this morning... getting ready to head out. Have a good ride today.

munsoned said...

It was a nice cool morning again. I wore pretty much the same clothing as yesterday. With regard to drying my clothes, all but the ends of my knickers and one of my socks were dry. So my ride home yesterday without rain (whew!) was very pleasant. I felt like riding more, but forgot my water bottles, plus it was my night to cook. I'm really looking forward to getting my GPS on Wednesday (maybe Thursday) so I can start really tracking miles.

Biker Bob said...

I need to find a way to gather gps data. I have an old gpsr that might work, but it's not a cycling one, and I have no mount for it. Maybe I'll put it in my back pocket and see if it still gets reception. It's work a try anyways.

It's that, or spend 10 minutes clicking away on a google map to record a 13 mile commute for an extra 23 cents.

Scott Redd said...

Today's rides were kind of inverted from yesterday's... dry in the morning, wet in the afternoon.

Munson: You'll enjoy the GPSr. It's the ultimate bike computer. Look up, too, for an interesting game.

Bob: I've got an old eTrex Vista. I got a special bike mount from Amazon that replaces the battery cover with a quick clip that connects to a mount on the handlebars.

I can't get my track data to upload on that site, though.

It's looking like rain again in the morning. :)