It’s raining and it’s dark out

Durand: Being a cyclist I hope and pray every year for a dry winter

Being a cyclist I hope and pray every year for a dry winter.

Just enough precipitation at night so the mountain gets snow and the trails are moist enough to stay tacky, but that’s it. The rest of the time I want sun, and 15 degrees, please. Considering we already have nice mild weather and can ride all year long, is this too much to ask?

Sadly, no matter how much I want it, we don’t get to pick our weather and one reason we have lush forests and fantastic trails is because it rains here “periodically.” If we were fair weather riders we would miss out on a lot of great riding. Yes, it takes a ride or two to get used to the wet conditions and we often dream of drier rides, but we should consider ourselves lucky to have such amazing riding throughout the fall and winter on the west coast. I remember back in the ’90s when the technology was horrible and winter riding was a chore. We still did it, but I don’t remember ever enjoying it. The lights of the day were about as good as riding with a candle taped to your handle bars and winter clothing wasn’t much better than wearing a garbage bag; in fact, one of my buddies chose that option due to poor finances (he was really wet and really sweaty, and he sounded like a flag in a wind storm every time we went down hill).

As time passed, the technology improved slowly, lights got a little brighter and rain gear started to breathe a bit, but it was still limiting. Wet winter rides were still generally cut short due to shivering, and night rides were a quick rip at best to avoid the blackout when the batteries all died after just one hour. I used to carry spare batteries in my bag just in case, but I think my bag weighed in around 40 pounds, so that was short lived.

These days though I look forward to winter riding. The weather has not dried out, but the equipment has improved drastically. Winter riding no longer feels like a chore, but just another season of great riding.

The night riding lights run for hours and give so much visibility that you can ride as fast as you like without penalty. The rain gear has become so light weight that you barely realize you’re wearing it, and with the cold weather gloves and water proof boots you will be as warm and comfortable at the end of your ride as you were at the start! Throw on some sticky rubber winter tires, light weight fenders that actually stay in place and adjust your suspension set up, and you can tackle any trail you want this winter.

Don’t waste your winter dreaming of riding your bike in the spring or cutting head holes into your garbage bags; drop into Swicked and ask about our loaner lights and then join us on our weekly group rides.

 

I’m James Durand and I’m Goin’ Ridin’