Sharon Battles the Elements…

18 10 2012

Sharon in the Bike Cave…

When Sharon started commuting to work on a bicycle rainy weather meant she would drive and take a day off the bike. It rarely pours rain here in Victoria, but the winter months do feature some precipitation. A typical rainy day here can best be described as “moist”. It’s definitely wet, but not outrageously so.

When I built up Sharon’s bike I installed full fenders and long mudflaps. I just can’t imagine a utility bike without ‘em. That meant she wasn’t getting wet and dirty from road spray. Sharon has slowly built up a set of clothes to ride to work in. Featuring either synthetic materials or wool they deal with the dampness from a light drizzle and from sweat without issue.

Her latest bikey investment is a blue Gore Bike Wear jacket that’s waterproof & breathable. It has allowed her to comfortably ride in light rain and to survive the occasional heavier deluge she faces on her bike. The practical upshot of this evolution is that Sharon is riding to work in almost any weather now. If we get a few days of snow she’ll skip the bike and if the weather looks ridiculously rainy she’ll skip it, but that still leaves 95% of the days in a year that look bikey to her.

It’s been fun to watch her evolve from a non-rider to a casual social rider to a occasional commuter to a regular commuter and now to Uber Commuter status. :)


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4 responses

18 10 2012
blobby

You didn’t mention the model of jacket… I hope you will give later a review of this.
I fully agree about fenders: I cannot imagine commuting on a regular basis without good fenders.
About things enabling commuting even on wet days, you forget to tell about bags. I had used bags which were tagged as waterproof, but weren’t really 100% waterproof, or non waterproof bags with rainy cap, but nothing replace real waterproof bags: so, when you ride in heavy rain, you don’t have to bother about stuff in your bag; you know nothing won’t be wet, or even humid, when you arrive.
If you ride with your working/city shoes, waterproof overshoes may be usefull (but they usually are not breathable).

18 10 2012
thelazyrando

@Blobby – I think it’s last year’s version of this jacket:

http://www.goreapparel.com/GORE-BIKE-WEAR%C2%AE-COUNTDOWN-2.0-GORE-TEX%C2%AE-LADY-Jacket/JGCOUW,default,pd.html?dwvar_JGCOUW_color=4400&start=6&cgid=gbw-women-geartype-jackets

Sharon likes it. Not much else I can do in the way of review as it’s not my size ;)

19 10 2012
heather

Way to go! As a lifer, always happy to see others going for commuting glory. I still cannot fathom how Victoria rarely gets downpours when not that far away, rain is endless and brutal. I expect to be biking in heavy rain much of the year. Leaving work after dark makes it double fun. At least right now I am not working so can choose to stay inside. I watch the clouds for a brightening and make a break for it and bike into town for errands. It was very hard to say goodbye to that beautiful weather.
I ride in my old gortex jacket and pants when it rains, sometimes even wear rubber boots, but they aren’t so good in the cold. Wool is the best in my opinion. I am considering a rain cape, but of course want the most expensive one possible so will never get it.
As for snow, I commuted in Saskatchewan year round and Ottawa in the winter too. But on the west coast, snow is rare and usually involves absolute chaos, bad roads etc, so best to avoid it. I will go out once the roads are ploughed and shoulder clear to ride on. A few years ago we had weeks of snow and it was beautiful, the roads were quiet because most people were too scared to drive.
So, Sharon just might get out there on snow days yet.

20 10 2012
thelazyrando

If you live 5km north from us you can easily get twice the rain. Victoria is situated on a low point right in front of the Olympic Peninsula. The rain falls on the mountains across from us in WA and we get very little heavy rain. Check out the Env Canada rain records for Victoria [the harbour not the airport which is 30kms north outside Sidney].

Sharon has no snow riding experience and can’t really get any here with only a handful of days a year of snow. It’s safer for her to take a break those days than to learn the ropes.

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