Moved here recently (from a pretty sunny climate at that) and I’m looking for some route recommendations … especially ones that are good on these rainy days!!
I have one road bike w 23mm slicks and one XC mountain bike - I love riding em both even when it’s dumping buckets. but I do think about things like road conditions, traffic or trail conditions, which seem to matter more in rain.
I’d love any ideas or other websites to check out. Thanks all!
Every ride is a rainy day ride if you have fenders and a rain jacket
You do have fenders right? They’re a must in Portland. There’s a joke that you can’t remove them until July 4th or so (if you remove them at all) and if you do it sooner we’re guaranteed to have more rain.
Virtually all routes are good in the rain. Are you looking for recreational or commuting?
If you’re rocking 23 slicks like I am, the only stuff that’s not quite as nice are nonpaved (mostly recreational) surfaces such as Saltzman, but it’s still doable. Rain also makes highway riding less fun because it fills gaps in everything making it way noisier plus you get covered with spray.
For rec riding, I like the hills in the rain. Low traffic, quiet, and the ambient noise of rain in the trees is nice. I don’t seek/avoid anything in particular for utility rain riding. The only thing that’s truly unrideable in the rain would be a stupid steep grade like Brynwood because you’ll spin out but that road is pointless anyway except as a belt notching exercise.
Avoid riding through puddles if you can, because you’d be surprised what other hazards they can hide (like potholes or other wheel-stoppers).
Definitely avoid MAX/Streetcar tracks at shallow angles (dry or wet, but particularly when wet). Tracks can stuff all but the the widest tires if you cross them at a shallow angle, and extra so when wet. Cross them no less than 45° if you can help it. Bonus tip: bunny hop over the tracks, or at least hop your front tire over them when you can. It’s much easier to recover from a stuffed rear wheel than a front one.
AVOID WET LEAVES! They are slick as snot on ice. I’ve had a bruised wrist bone thanks to cornering on wet leaves.
Yes, beware Portland’s black ice in the winter. We don’t have it a lot, but we usually get at least a few days of it per winter and it can sneak up on you if you don’t pay attention. Because of our tepid winters, we can thaw in the day and freeze at night pretty easily (whether snow or rain), so some morning commutes/rides can be more risky than others. But generally, once you de-acclimate from sunny San Diego to Portland, we’ve got pretty good rear-round riding weather.
Thanks for all the tips and responses!! Helpful and motivating! It’s making me exited for all the biking days ahead! All those safety tips are really good too, just avoid a few key hazards and keep riding
I’m finding I really like the hills in the rain, it’s calm and refreshing. I picked up new under saddle bag that’s big enough for a rain jacket, for days with those on/off showers. That has been really handy! im amazed how fast and dramatically it can go from sunny and hot to freezing my knuckles stiff, and back again. But this seems to work out well.
some mentioned, highway in the rain feels a lot more harrowing versus a normal day. I think I’d agree with that. But I’m finding most other streets feel about the same. Thanks again for the responses!
I also enjoy riding in the rain – particularly in the hills. If you haven’t done a lot of rain riding in the past, be aware it’s hard on components. Road grime works like grinding paste on rims, tranny components, etc., and chain lube literally only lasts a day (unless you use super heavy gunky stuff in which case it lasts slightly longer). I have to get new rims every 18 months or so, and chains, cassettes, and rings don’t last nearly as long. Also, you’ll also find the wet hides and lubricates glass shards so you’ll probably get more flats.
Still way more fun than it sounds and hearing everyone complain about it (you’ll even see some of that here) somehow makes it even more fun