Not including these past 3-4 days, you’ve likely noticed the past few weeks that the rain is upon us once again! Yes cyclists, the days of dry summertal bliss are gone, and all that is left is the grey, cold, wonderment that reminds us why we love Portland the way that we do! Yet despite the weather cyclists in this city (as we are so well known for) persist as though they carry the same creed of our country’s postal workers, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”
We at Portland Pedal Power, your favorite food delivery service in Portland , live and operate by this very same creed! Except for the snow part… nobody in Portland should ever leave their house in the snow… seriously. Snow aside, as dedicated all weather cyclists, we would like you to stay safe and dry in the rain/fall/winter this season. To be sure you do just that, we’ve decided to provide you with some tips for safe rain riding this year!
1. Get the right gear!
So we’re not saying this is you, and to be honest I’m sure many of you hardcore cyclists have proper rain attire. For those that don’t, this is for you. Your typical rain poncho that you have at home may not be suitable for a bicycle. They can get caught in the spokes, or in the gears or chain and cause you to fly off your bicycle. Cycling rain gear has a specific cut that is made for being on your bicycle. Not to mention rain proof zippers and other useful ‘stay dry’ features that keep the water out, and the warmth in. If you don’t have the proper gear, or are beginning to get suited up try sites like Bicyclinghub.com where you can save up to 40% on rain gear. (<— awesome pitch)
2. Check your tread!
Your tire tread is going to be real important when turning those tight corners in Portland’s legendary wet weather. No tread, no grip, no ride (or you just fall on your butt). New tires can be inexpensive, especially with all the awesome recycle shops around Portland. Make sure you get those tires fixed! Things to look for:
- Can you see the fabric on your tires?
- Are your tires smooth or missing the grooves?
- Is any part of your tire bulging or lumpy?
- Are there visible holes or gashes? (Should be obvious)
Use your best judgement, but if you feel you need your tires replaced, you probably do!
3. Stay Visible
Yea, sure, it may be the middle of the day. Or it could just be getting dark, but its not too dark just yet. These factors don’t necessarily mean you are visible to motorists, or even to other bikers! Make sure you’re wearing the proper reflective gear at all times, and that you have your bicycle lights attached to both the front and back of your bicycle. When its raining especially, its not the easiest thing in the world to spot whats right ahead of you. So even if you have to buy wheel tires that make your bicycle look like a light bike (skip to :20) from Tron then do it! Tis better to light up the neighborhood than to light up the hospital.
As much as we love the colors of Fall, don’t let them hypnotise you! You must stay alert and be on the look out for the LEAVES. Leaves look great, when they’re not in the bike lane. But unfortunately when leaves fall on the road, they all somehow magically make their ways to the side of the road which so conveniently also happens to be the bike lane. Leaves can be slippery and lethal. I know we all have fond memories of jumping into piles of them as children, but those piles won’t save you now that you’re all growed up! So if you have to, signal and merge into the driving lanes as long as you need to avoid these deadly beauties.
tl/dr: Ride in the driving lane to avoid leaf piles.
5. BRAKE CHECK!
No I don’t mean how cars brake check you when you’re riding their butt! I mean check yo’ breaks kid! If you’re sporting V-brakes (which most of us do) then check the brake pads to make sure they’re not worn down and need replacing. Wipe your rims down every so often to maximize your breaking ability and decrease pad wear. Don’t be a hipster who’s too cool for brakes! They’re important… for important things… like stopping. Stopping is good.
So here are 5 tips for safe riding this Fall and Winter season. Did we miss anything? Have any other tips and suggestions? Be sure to comment and let us know your safety riding tips!