What’s that? It’s raining out…. YES!!!
I’m an every day Brompton folding bike commuter in New York City. I haven’t bought a subway pass in over 4 months now. That means I’ve saved nearly $350 in metro cards! But what’s even cooler is that I get to experience the daily weather patterns in the city first hand. A glance out my window lets me know whether I’ll be wearing just bike shorts or a sweater and jeans or a big red rain coat with extra lights. But let me explain my first line.
More often than not, at least in the summer, riding everyday is a hot and humid trek. A little rain breaks up the usual pattern and puts a whole new spin on the city. The streets are clear. A shiny mist covers everything. People walk (or run and even bike!) around with umbrellas. The city takes on a deceptively calm appearance. Walkers caught without umbrellas huddle under the awnings of shops and delis.
My whole commute is transformed.
If you think I’m crazy, well ok. I guess enjoying rain this much is a bit out of the ordinary but you should try it for yourself before condemning me to Belleview for an obsession with falling water.
In order to make your rainy bike commute more enjoyable you should take some steps to have fun and, most importantly, be safe on your rainy ride:
1. Wear a rain coat – This one is a no-brainer but you’d be surprised how many people don’t even own a decent rain coat. The best is if you have a brightly colored one for better visibility. Mine is tomato red.
2. Clear riding glasses – Not so obvious… this is the best way to keep rain (and on sunny days bugs and dust) from poking you in the eyes and keeping you from seeing the road. No one likes to feel like they can’t see. For extra credit bonus points and a gold star invent mini wind shield wipers for them! Hey, I’d buy that…
3. Lights, Lights, Lights! – Cars will have a much harder time seeing you when it rains if you don’t have a few good lights. You should get at least one white front flashing light and one red rear flashing light. It’s an easy and effective way to multiply your safety by a factor of 100. I have 2 front flashers and a headlamp on my helmet plus a bright red rear flasher.
4. Stop for a cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate somewhere along the way – ok now we are really pushing it but this is one of the nicest ways to enjoy a rainy day. Stopping on the side of the road with a hot drink and listen to the splattering rain on pavement or a clap of thunder is a uniquely calming experience (for me anyway). When’s the last time you listened to rain? It’s no wonder people have rain sounds to go to sleep, it’s so relaxing…
5. Bring a nice visible waterproof bag – This is easy with a Brompton folding bike. I just click on my Brompton touring pannier and pull over the rain cover. It’s bright safety green color leads the way everywhere I go and keeps a change of clothes nice and dry. Most Brompton bags come with the same bright colored rain cover. Ortlieb also makes some great stuff.
Well I could go on forever but that seems good for now. Next time it rains think about getting out and experience the change in weather. Nothing breaks up the summer and refreshes you like a leisurely ride through some light rain.