Monday, September 18, 2006

Neither Rain Nor Gloom of Night

This evening we held an afterwork seminar on the subject of bicycle commuting in the rain and darkness. The text of my remarks is posted here:

http://www.carsstink.org/peterson/NeitherRain.html

9 comments:

Brad said...

Wow, Kent! I'm glad you told us how to ride in the rain. It sure came in handy on the commute this morning. Your timing is, as usual, impeccable. The people this morning down at Key Arena waiting for "American Idol" should have read your blog last night though. Most looked pretty miserable.

Bruce's Bike Blog said...

Hi Kent, I frequent your blog--Your are the Jedi Master! I read this just in time. Summer is over and the days are a little shorter. Time to get out the lights and look over what I need for the evening commutes home.

Anonymous said...

Some additional tips from a fellow cycler at my job

I would add a couple more points for rain riding:

1. Some road hazards are much more dangerous in the rain. Any thing metal --railroad tracks, metal plates, grates, bridge decks-- become deadly when wet. Slow down before you get to anything metal, and make sure you have room to maneuver. Railroad rails are particularly dangerous because they often cross your path at shallow angles, making it easy for your front wheel to slide out. They usually have slot-like potholes next to them filled with water, which can also catch your wheel, and which keep the rails slick even when other pavement has dried. Whenever possible, cross tracks at a 90 degree angle. Be careful of cars, however, as they can mistake the maneuvers required to hit tracks correctly and think you are heading off the road and out of reach of traffic.

2. Pavement is especially slippery on the first day of rain that follows a long dry spell. Oil builds up on roads during dry weather. The first rain lifts it up to the surface without washing it away.

3. Conditions which increase your stopping distance also make cars more dangerous to you. I generally take over the lane when I have to stop at a light. However, I try to avoid this when it's raining, in case a driver misjudges the stopping distance necessary.

Mark Watson said...

Hi Kent, What do you think of this?

Lithium Batteries Kill LEDs Says Petzl

http://www.outdoorsmagic.com/news/article/mps/UAN/4127/v/1/sp/332933698389328935310

Kent Peterson said...

Hey Mark,

That Lithium and LED stuff is interesting. I think it depends on how much the manufacturer is counting on the internal resistance of the cells. In the past I've run Lithium cells in Princeton Tec LED flashlights without ill-effects but I mostly use alkalines or NiMH rechargeables. The lithium batteries are nice because they weigh less and last longer but the downsides are the price and the fact that when they do go dead, they go dead really fast.

The NiMH cells have gotten really good lately. On the GDR, I ran AA NiMH batteries in my main headlight and my camera and I had a little solar charger. Every couple of days I would swap batteries from the solar panel to the headlight or the camera. I used disposable AAA alkaline cells in my helmet light, however.

I'll be interested to see what the ultralight backpacking folks have to say about Lithium cells and LEDs. Those guys tend to like the lithiums because of the low weight.

Brad said...

How soon we forget good advice. I wore jeans on my commute in today and it's taking about 1.5 hours to dry off every time I travel to another gig.

Wet all day....

Phil said...

I'll second the comment about metal being more dangerous. Crossing the tracks on my way home today, my rear tire did about a 6" dance perpendicular to my direction of travel.

Alberto said...

Thanks for sharing. The advise is quite welcome for my winter riding in Galicia. (Just another Seattle.)

Anonymous said...

I saw your comment about night and rain riding. For my old 3-mile commute, for footwear I took the old plastic bags used to cover our newspaper, and put those over by foot, shoes, and all, up to my ankle, strapped with a rubber band. Between that and waterproof rain pants, and with help from fenders my socks did not get wet, even in hard rain. I'm one of those "no special cycling shoes for me" guys, and I'm a little wimpy -- if it is raining in the morning, I'll usually drive. (I'm from SF Bay Area, so this is only about 10 days/year).