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It might be the rainiest time of the year, but I still can’t find a bike parking space at the grocery store

Statistically, the rainiest day of the year is November 19. And, indeed, it has been hella rainy this week.

One of the most common excuses I hear for not investing in bike lanes in Seattle is all the rain. Nobody bikes when it rains, people say.

Well, somebody should tell that to all these people who biked in the rain to Central Co-op Sunday. I showed up soaked and still couldn’t find a place to lock up.

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IMG_2165Rain or shine, bikes are the best way to get around town.

If you want some ideas for staying warm and dry while biking in the rain, check out this post from last year. And if you get wet and cold, just remember: If you can bike through November, you can bike all year!

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21 responses to “It might be the rainiest time of the year, but I still can’t find a bike parking space at the grocery store”

  1. Yeah, it is usually like that at this time of the day. You know, hungry/grumpy prime shopping time.

  2. Sachi Wilson

    You are so right! It actually can be rather soothing to ride in Seattle’s rain.

    FWIW, I lived in San Diego for the last ten years. People in that city bicycle less in the summer and spring than Seattleites bike in the winter. I just don’t understand it, but it makes me appreciate Seattle Cyclists all the more.

    1. bill

      I’m in Honolulu right now (yes, envy me sopping suckers) and this place defines automotive dystopia. Everybody drives everywhere, slowly, over short distances in heavy traffic, relying on AC to protect them from the divine climate.

      Central Coop has some of the best eggs you can buy in Seattle. I regularly ride from atop a hill in West Seattle to shop at Central Coop. The Coop could sure use some more bike parking.

    2. Gary

      Re: San Diego

      It’s an issue of safe streets. San Diego has “bike lanes” on roads with 45 mph speed limits where people drive 50+. When you can do at best 25 down hill and 10mph uphill the speed differential makes it dangerous because cars come up so quickly on riders that they don’t react and “change langes” or even move over slightly.

      So while SD has the weather for bicycling, they don’t have the infustructure…. yet.

  3. Jeff Dubrule

    Remember, folks, to keep it slow when the ground is wet, especially on the downhills. Your brakes don’t work as well, and your tires have way less traction. Stopping distance will be doubled or tripled, and when you bike, you’re usually closer to the curb (and the people trying to cross the road) than a car would be.

    So, in short, don’t be that guy, and don’t accidentally be that guy because you thought you could stop as if it were dry, either.

  4. Janine

    Thanks for the reminders, Jeff.

    I love riding in the rain despite the various hassles. Once you’re soaked (I don’t do full rain gear because I gots to have free legs), all that’s left to experience is the joy.

    I’m happy, generally, staying off arterials as much as possible–but especially in rainy weather, when the cacophony from of hundreds of auto tires on wet pavement can be distressing and confusing.

  5. Becka

    Is it just me, or are all the biking spots filling up lately? I can’t tell if it’s confirmation bias…but I swear I’m seeing way more bikes parked on the streets lately.

    1. Anecdotally I’ll concur, and the Fremont Bridge bike counter numbers are up over last November.

  6. Andres Salomon

    I didn’t bike today, but I did walk for at least an hour. The rain felt wonderful, I arrived home soaked but refreshed.

  7. Joseph Singer

    People often ask me how/why I bike in the rain (or even light snow) and my explanation is this: If you don’t bike in the rain, you’re walking in the rain or you’re waiting in the rain (like for a bus) so what’s the big deal? You just wear a very visible slicker and have working lights and reflectors. It’s not a big deal except perhaps getting a water wave from a passing car going through a puddle.

  8. Matthew Snyder

    Wow, sure seems like a great opportunity to install a bike corral and move these bikes off of the sidewalk. I wonder if the coop has requested one. Spots like these are really the low-hanging fruit for bike corral success stories.

  9. gw

    Thanks for the link to the post about riding in the rain–I’ve admittedly been riding less since the rain started, mostly because it’s also been hella windy on my West Seattle hilltop but also because most of my casual pants are–you guessed it–cotton jeans. Gonna try out some rain pants.

    1. Gary

      In the full on Seattle rain like yesterday I go for ibex Shak wool shirt, ibex 3/4 wool knickers, wool knee socks and the full showers pass commuter pants & jacket. I’m wet but warm. I wish that gortex/e-vent stuff actually worked but it doesn’t. All my other alternatives I’m just as wet but colder.

      1. bill

        E-vent is the best goretex type material I’ve found. But if it’s raining so hard the exterior is completely covered with water you’re out of luck. Moisture can only transpire through the jacket if it can reach air on the outside. It’s important to maintain the water repellancy of the exterior. Wash in Nikwax Tech Wash to remove dirt and residue of other detergents you may have used, and treat with a wash-in or spray-on waterproofing agent. If you’re daring, steam the jacket with a steam iron held an inch or two away from the material to better activate the water repellant. Don’t iron the jacket because that might damage the waterproof seam tape.

        I always get too hot and sweaty in full waterproof pants, breatheable or not. If things are really bad I wear Rain Legs. Mostly I do fine with wool shorts or knickers, wool leg warmers, wool socks and ski socks. Helmet covers are great!

  10. Leif Espelund

    Remember to be extra careful while navigating all the crazy slippery things. Railroad tracks, manhole covers, metal construction plates, crosswalk paint, etc. This morning, right after slowly making my way up one of the ridiculously slick plastic yellow bumpy sidewalk ramp death squares, I totally ate it going over these stupid metal expansion joints on the sidewalk towards the Fremont bridge: http://goo.gl/maps/pN66T

    Normally I’m really good about hitting those at an angle, but this AM there was a convergence of about 5 cyclists (two going the wrong way as usual) and a couple pedestrians so I was concentrating on not running into people. Think I sprained my wrist. Grrrrrrrrrrrr.

    1. Gary

      Sorry to hear that…. Good gloves help a bit… Youngstown Extraction Kevlar gloves will at least keep your skin in one piece.

      1. Leif Espelund

        Yeah, I wear gloves (not Kevlar) so I didn’t get any road rash. Plus I was going pretty slow since I was on the sidewalk. Just a swollen wrist as far as I can tell.

  11. kommish

    Not to derail, but I have some great waterproof and water-resistant gear that has become less so with age. Does spray-on nikwax actually work? If not, is there something better?

    1. kommish

      Never mind, I just read Bill’s comment above. Looks like Nikwak is fine for my stuff. Woohoo!

      1. bill

        Just be sure to wash first with a non-detergent cleaner like Tech Wash. The spray-on water repellant is supposed to work better than wash-in, but it makes a heck of a mess. Spray outside and not over any surface that will be dangerous if it becomes slippery.

  12. Joseph Singer

    But why did they remove the “bike corral” at Broadway Market? Yeah, there are two regular racks, but most of the time there’s no space there.

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