One of Seattle Bike Blog’s all-time most read stories has a simple title: How to bike in the Seattle rain.
Some people thought the post was a cop-out since, in a way, it contains little real advice about what to buy and what to wear. But that’s the point: Biking year-round in Seattle is totally awesome, and you don’t need lots of special gear to do it.
Well, here we are again, about to enter the darkest and rainiest time of the year. Daylight Savings Time ends 2 a.m. Sunday, so get ready for it to get darker sooner.
If you feel a bit lost on how to make sure you’re ready for the winter, there are two different efforts coming up to help you keep biking no matter the weather. You may learn that winter biking is the best way to generate a bit of your own sunshine amid the seemingly endless gray skies.
Light Up Your Ride
Lots of the winter cycling gear out there is optional, but bike lights are not. A front headlight and rear reflector are required by law during dark hours, but we highly recommended that you have both front and rear lights at a minimum and that you also run them when it rains.
We live in a crazy country where lights are not a standard feature on bicycles, so it’s on you to buy, charge and remember your lights. I know it’s messed up, but for now that’s the way it is.
So what’s a “good” headlight? There’s no official standard in the US. Be skeptical of lights that cost less than $25 or so, and beware of cute little lights that take hard-to-find watch batteries. In the past, we wrote the following, which I still think is a pretty solid standard: “If your light is bright enough to illuminate potholes in the road in front of you, it more than surpasses all legal requirements and is bright enough for a person driving responsibly to see you.”
Using good front and rear lights are enough for many people, yours truly included. But others like to add all kinds of extra lights and reflective materials, and that’s cool too. There’s no single right way to do it. Whatever makes you feel confident on the road is great (just watch those blinking strobe headlights, especially on trails and dark streets).
— Swift Industries (@SwiftIndustries) October 28, 2015
You can learn all about how other choose to stay lit through the winter or show off your style Thursday. Details from Commute Seattle:
Light Up Your Ride is back! Stop by on October 29th between 4:00pm – 6:30pm for snacks, raffle prizes, safety give-aways and information on lights and reflective gear to make your bike commute safer.
Join us at 5:15 for the best lit bike contest and enter to win the Lite Brite Bike Award. Top two best lit bikes take home great prizes from Chrome and Velo!
Commute Seattle along with partners from SDOT, King County Metro and Cascade Bicycle Club as we hand out pertinent information on what you need be safer on the streets this fall. You can also enter to win prizes like a bike tune up or bike light from Velo Bike Shop and other great prizes. We’ll have reflective stickers and ankle bands so you can gear up for the darker days of winter!
You’ll see us 1st, blinking and reflecting at McGraw Square on Stewart and 5th Avenue!
Ride in the Rain
Well, now there’s a rainy season commute challenge that everyone can join. Cascade Bicycle Club is teaming up with the University of Washington to grow their annual Ride in the Rain program into a region-wide challenge.
Just go online and sign up, then track your miles and trips throughout November. Just like during Bike Month, you can form a team with co-workers to help motivate each other to keep it up even on those dreary days when it’s really tempting not to ride.
Remember, November is the rainiest month of the year in Seattle. So if you can bike through November, you can bike through any month.
Details from Cascade:
Cascade Bicycle Club invites pedalers of all varieties-folks who ride every day and folks who are brand new-to bike as much as possible for any reason November 1-30. The idea of the Challenge is to turn a common barrier to biking-inclement weather-on its head and celebrate biking during the rainiest month of the year. We think that if you can ride during the rainiest month and enjoy it-and we’re confident you will-you’ll want to bike all year round. Bonus: Cascade and our partners are offering a series of free classes, parties, group rides, and other events throughout the month to make sure you have a blast this November. Check out the events calendar here.