Seattle Weather Smackdown

View from the bars

So, I haven’t had a real commute in a while. A five-minute bike ride or 15-minute walk to the UW campus doesn’t count. So, when I got a new job I vowed to keep up the carfree style we’ve been working since the summer. It’s still not a major commute — 30 minutes each way via Xtracycle — but most people, certainly, would drive (especially if they have a free, covered, parking garage).

Well, today was my first day. On the way in, I got the typical Seattle misting. Pretty much expected, even though it wasn’t supposed to rain until the afternoon. No biggie.

And the way home?

That 30-minute commute swelled like my saturated Brooks saddle as I was treated to 50 minutes of EVERYTHING our weather can dish out: Rain over-filled storm drains along the Burke-Gilman, making a total joke of my fenders, headwinds slowed me to a crawl, and biting sleet and hail stung my face — only to be replaced by snow. Yikes. I know folks in the Midwest face much worse, but sheesh, it doesn’t usually do ALL of these things on ONE ride.

I alternated between cursing my low-carbon ways and laughing out load. Good thing no one else was around because I’m pretty sure I looked like a nut.

Turns out I wasn’t alone in my thoughts. Anne took the youngest to PCC in the midst of a afternoon rain squall. He wasn’t happy, or shy about sharing his feelings:

“Why can’t we drive. This is dumb. How about we stop Car Free Days starting tomorrow?”

Nice try fella. Tomorrow I ride.

snapdeck with a lil’ bit o’ snow

11 responses to “Seattle Weather Smackdown

  1. Good for you guys. My daughter (who is three) sometimes says she’d rather be in the car too, but I haven’t yet taken her out in nasty weather yet, so she’s got nothing to complain about.

    Be sure to care for that saddle. I understand getting a Brooks really wet and riding on it is a bad thing.

  2. Lots of folks are linking to this one, but it seems appropriate here, too: One nice thing about a cargo bike is that you can carry much more clothing than you need at your time of departure. Maybe an umbrella for the passenger? Hand warmers, anyone? The weather is a challenge, for sure, but with your hauling ability, the tools you use against it are limited only by your imagination. Ride warm!
    Oh, yes, and as for the Brooks, just make sure it dries out completely, and condition with Proofide, or (even better) Obenauf’s LP ( ). It’ll be fine, as long as you avoid stretching it too much when wet.

  3. First, my wife and I love the website! Next, hailing from Chicago the only thing I can say about winter riding here is usually there is no hail….usually. Last, keep it up! I am working on my wife to incorporate a bigger biking lifestyle…but I was always a rider but slowly but surely. Anyway, I am a realtor and you should see some of the looks I get pulling up on a bike to show a property! I usually have to explain this is a choice and not due to some court imposed lack of a car…but more and more commuters here every week and we’re so darn flat hopefully there’ll be a bigger crew riding every year.
    Have a great day!

  4. Very nice! I’m impressed that you rode on your first day of work. How was the day 2 commute?

  5. Pingback: Smackdown, day 2 « Car Free Days

  6. Thanks all for the comments!

    Smudgemo — I appreciate the saddle concern. I thought it was dry today, but I think it was just frozen. It’s definitely softer. It’s amazing what the kids can handle once they decide it’s normal. Our daughter is already there — the boy is just a little softer. He’ll get there!

    Val — I actually debated about leaving the rain gear at home and decided “hey, it’s the xtracycle, it’s not like I’m going to notice the load!” I’m using the Montana Pitch Blend stuff the Wall Bike seems to like but I think I’m going to pick up some Obenauf’s LP

    Patrick — Welcome and thanks for the nice words. I’ll have to tell my realtor cousin that it’s OK to park the SUV. He’s got a sweet vintage Paramount that he could be (should be) riding!

    And Kathleen …Day 2 is right here. Don’t worry, I don’t plan to document _every_ day!

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  11. Really impressed by your determination. In weather like that I prefer to take the bus, although I love to bicycle – in decent weather.

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