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It’s wet today. And it got me thinking. Rain is not the enemy many would-be cyclists assume it to be.
I’m finessing the intro text for the soon-to-be-published PDF extract of the Bike to Work Book. This sample chapter contains all of the great reasons to start cycling to work and it also lists 24 excuses for not cycling to work. You know the sort of thing: “I’ll get sweaty…I need to carry lots of stuff…I don’t want to wear Lycra…It’s too dangerous on the roads…” and so on.
Another key reason many give is keeping warm and dry. Of course, we know riding in the rain can be fun, and there are ways and means of weather-proofing our bike commute, but would-be cyclists don’t believe our zipped-up zealotry holds water.
So, this morning I’ve added a bit of text about the benefits of cycling to work in the rain and found a research paper to back up my thesis.
EXCUSE: “Rain! I hate getting wet!”
Unless you live in Seattle or Manchester, it rains a lot less times per year than you might imagine. In the UK - supposed to be a rain-sodden isle - when you cycle a daily ten mile journey, statistics say you will only have rain once in every one hundred trips. That is three to four trips a year on a daily basis.
Anyway, with modern waterproof and breathable fabrics, it’s possible to arrive at your destination in comfort. Yes, even in Seattle or Manchester. You think Denmark is dry? It rains a lot there, but cycle journeys in Copenhagen still account for 40 percent of the total.
Even if you travelled by car you might have to go outside at some point, risking a soaking, especially as you won’t be wearing the right kit.
If the weather is truly foul, make that your non-bike day.
But don’t be surprised when your definition of what makes for a foul day shifts over time. You may find you start to invest in all-weather cycling kit just so you don’t have non-bike days.
One of the reasons for this is getting to work on time: a downtown downpour can cause gridlock. The roads are slippier for cyclists, too (don’t ride on wet draincovers) but cyclists can beat the jams caused by rain.
According to ‘Factors Affecting Fatal Road Crash Trends’ by the Australian ministry of transport, there are far fewer road deaths on rainy days. The report puts this down to slower car speeds. In the wet, cities grind to a halt.
So, instead of jumping in the car when the heavens open, it’s paradoxically faster to stick with the bike.
Want to make sure you get the link to the PDF extract of the book on the very second it’s published? Type your email address into the box on BiketoWorkBook.com.