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11/21/2011: "Mama Bear Rain"
I rode thirty-eight miles roundtrip in the rain yesterday to attend a party for the GRID Consortium (about which you can learn more in the article I wrote for our sister publication New Colonist). I was well-protected by my Carradice Pro Route rain cape and arrived fairly presentable, though my feet were wet, as I am too stingy to shell out for the matching rain spats when it rains so rarely in LA.

I did have to wipe my face and glasses, as I'd faced a headwind the entire way out, but I had a truly beautiful ride home in what I call a "Mama Bear Rain"--not too hard, not too light.

When I left home with Gina to ride to the Farmers Market on Third for a spot of coffee, it was drizzling, and drizzle floats in the air and gets under my hat or helmet visor to land on my glasses.

When I left (with Gina staying behind to finish shopping for a magnificent six-course meal), it was raining hard, and the wind, as I said, blew the rain under the visor to, of course, land on my glasses.

But on the way home the rain was "just right"--large, gentle drops and little wind, so I rode the full nineteen miles back without a drop on my spectacles.

And let me tell you, that kind of rain riding is some of the best riding there is. The rainy day light is kind, even to an often rough and ragged city such as LA, and a hoe in the clouds in the far west let in the last light of the fading day. And of course the city actually smelled good!

It was a wonderful experience, much enhanced by my bike's fenders and sticky Schwalbe Marathon tires (designed for rainy Germany).

Not hard, not scary, not "epic," just a sweet ride through the city in the rain. Well worth the time.

It's interesting to note that the cities with the highest bicycle mode share in the US--San francisco, Portland, and Minneapolis--and elsewhere--Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Tokyo, Vienna, Beijing--are rainy or even snowy towns. There must be something behind those numbers...don't you think?

I did see a number of other riders out in the rain, as well as numerous bikes parked at stores and restaurants in East Hollywood, on my way out. LA growing up....

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