Ride In 3/10

Rain. I drove my wife to the Metro this morning and I told her that I planned on using the phrase "powered by self-righteousness" in describing the how I biked in today. She suggested that it would be a good bumper sticker (especially for our Prius) and I suggested that maybe it could be sewn on the back of my bike jacket, the way that motorcycle clubs sew their logos and mottoes onto their leather. Here's a mock-up I  put together:

Anyway, here are some things worth sharing about riding in the rain. There's other, more serious (i.e.better) posts on this, but I will not let this blog slip into seriousness. So here goes:
  1. Don't ride if you do want to. When you get to work, the reaction of your colleagues will range from apathy to hostility. No one will praise you for being tough. They will think that you are dumb and did something even dumber than you normally do (bike commuting). You must derive your own smug self-satisfaction! (I suggest blogging) For me, it made sense to ride morning because there was a mudslide on Canal Road, which would have screwed up driving and any commute to work by Metro would have taken about an hour long than riding in.
  2. Be prepared (to get wet). Don't wear your work clothes unless you work as a dolphin trainer or deep sea welder. Have a waterproof bag or pannier. I wore a wool cap under my helmet today to keep my head dry-ish-er. Have fenders on your bike. Bring extra clothes and socks for your ride home. But most importantly, resign yourself to the fact that you are going to get completely soaked from a combination of rain and road spray. Cars will splash you when they drive through puddles. You cannot let this make you murderously angry. It's probably not on purpose. If you do not want this to happen to you, see number 1. Also, use lights.
  3. Don't fuck around dilly dally. On rainy days you should stick the roads and routes that you know the best. Since you want to avoid grates, manhole covers, potholes, sketchy patches of pavement, gremlins or whatever and these things might be less visible in the rain or covered by puddles, you should stick to the most familiar roads. Also, go a little slower than normal, especially when making turns. Getting wet is bad, falling on your ass in worse. Also think about the routes with the most predictable car traffic- for me, that's America's Neighborhood (my coinage), Glover Park.
  4. Ride with an annoying nonchalance. Oh, it's raining? I hardly noticed. This earns you triple smug points. Also, do like I did (quite haughtily) and give a thumbs up to a cyclist you pass in the other direction. He deserved it, just like I did! So did the two other people I saw out riding today. You (and by you I mean us and by us I mean me) are the real heroes.
  5. Ride a little farther out in the lane. This helps your visibility and keeps you out of the piles of little pebbles and sticks that accumulate on the sides of the road. On a dry day they're annoying; on a wet day, they're slightly more dangerous. I find that drivers tend to actually behave better around me when I'm riding in the rain and are less likely to pass me too closely or too quickly. Take advantage of that and take the space that you need. 
So, those are my suggestions for doing something dumb like bike commuting in the rain. I mean, aside from those "tips," try to be predictable and don't flout too many traffic laws.

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