Tales of Winter Riding in the Desert

I got to ride in the rain yesterday. To some, this might not seem like a big deal, or may even be a daily nuisance; but to me, it IS a big deal. I live in Phoenix. We never get rain. The past two weekends have ushered in some rain as this massive storm system moves across the mid-west and Rockies. When I woke up yesterday morning, I was rather surprised to see moisture on the ground as I stepped outside to check how cold (read: brisk) it was.

At first I had to run through my alternate options of transport, but then I remembered that I have been waiting for this day since I started bike commuting in August. Granted, I yearned for that day in August for completely different reasons, but I still wanted to get some experience riding on wet roads – if for nothing more than my own cycling “continuing education.”

I dressed the same as I have been lately, wearing a compression shirt, half-zip lightweight pullover and my bright yellow windbreaker, which naturally doubles as a rain jacket. It was not actually raining when I left, but the roads were wet, and I got some drizzles along the way.

Rains came and went throughout the day, and I saw a little bit of a heavier downpour on the ride home – but still nothing too crazy. A good introduction to inclimate-weather riding.

The highlight of the day was the surprised look on my co-workers faces when they saw that I rode my bike to work, even though it was raining. Due to the lack of rain in this city, people in Phoenix seem to get thrown off enough by the thought of driving a car in the rain – let alone riding a bike.

In my continuing efforts to make bike commuting look as easy as it really is, I simply commented that riding in this poor weather was not much different than other days. I didn’t dress any differently than I do on a cold day. Naturally, you want to be more aware of your surroundings and more attentive to drivers who might do something stupid, but a little rain is no reason to leave the bike at home.

That’s right, the Velorution is waterproof!

I also broke my shoe yesterday. Bummer.

As I was walking down the steps of my apartment with my bike, the heel of my cycling shoe got stuck on the lip of the previous step. As I continued moving forward, my shoe stayed in place and I ripped the top velcro strap right off of the shoe. Thankfully, my shoes have 3 straps, so even though I ripped off the most important strap, the shoe is still functional. It was looser than normal (obviously) but I was able to ride to and from work without incident. I will reluctantly begin a quest to replace the shoes – but I guess in the grand scheme of things, getting more than 2 years out of a pair of cycling shoes is pretty decent…well at least in the age of the “replace your gear each season” mentality.

While it is not ultimately the shoe manufacturers fault that the velcro strap ripped off my shoe, I am still disappointed that I have to replace the shoes. There is still one perfectly good shoe remaining that will become useless. I will continue to ride with these shoes until I honestly feel that they threaten my safety or ability to ride.

On the bright side, had the strap not ripped off, I most likely would have fallen down the 2 or 3 remaining steps as my heel got jammed in between steps, and would have landed (painfully) on the cement with a bike on top of me, or worse, me on top of the bike.

Every cloud has a silver lining it seems…


  1. Max

    Take the shoes to a shoe repair store, they always have one in the 2nd largest mall near you (they always seem to be in malls that are not on the cutting edge of coolness). They can stitch that strap on while you wait!

  2. Ghost Rider

    +1 on the cobbler…you might not need a new pair after all!

  3. Jeff the Veloteer

    Maybe I can convince the guy that I am from the future, and these are the kinds of shoes that people wear in the future!

  4. Quinn

    I actually like riding in rain/snow etc. about a week ago we got out fist 6″ snow, and it happened as I was riding, cars drive a Wide path around me. the snow/rain also keeps me cool.

  5. Pingback: First Impression: Sette Elite Carbon Road Shoe | Bike Commuters

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