What’s with the wet roads? And orange mushrooms?

mushroom_forest
Saturday night’s weather report said Sunday would be a nice day, no rain. So I clean up my “nice” bike (Trek Emonda SLR) and ride it home from the shop Saturday night, leaving the new Boone ‘Cross/rain bike behind.

Sunday morning I wake up to… wet streets. Really wet. My plan for an early ride over Old LaHonda and up West Alpine, early because the Redwood City store would be open this particular Sunday (in advance of Christmas), was wrecked. Instead, I had to go down to the shop and grab my other bike, finally hitting the (wet) road with Kevin at about 8:30. We improvised an “ugly” ride, heading out Canada Road to 92, up 92 to Skyline, then south on Skyline to 84 and back down into Woodside. Pretty nice ride actually, but very, very thankful to be riding our rain bikes.

10-day outlook says dry though, so our nice bikes should get a workout soon!

Oh, the photo at the top? If you’ve been riding much lately, you’ll have noticed mushrooms are everywhere. What made these stand out was their color. Pretty bright orange. I’ve seen one here & there, but this was the first time I’ve seen a lot of them in one place.

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Very disappointed; not much rain for test of new bike!

disappointing

Somehow I doubt too many will relate to this. The idea that I’m frequently disappointed because a “big storm” is forecast for my morning ride, but all it ends up being is a light drizzle. This morning was especially disappointing because I was putting my new “rain bike” to its first real test. I normally don’t even ride on Friday mornings, but thought this was going to be an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.

Sure, it was wet out there, sure, the roads were probably pretty slippery for those with the wrong tires. But if it’s going to be wet out there, it really doesn’t make much difference whether it’s pouring cats & dogs or just a light drizzle. Your clothes get wet, your bike gets wet & possibly muddy. Same thing either way. But if you go out in an epic storm, you get street cred. People are impressed (by a combination of tenacity and stupidity that they’re frankly thankful they don’t share). Plus, if it’s really dumping, your bike usually comes back pretty clean. Light drizzle and everything’s a mess.

It was just a short ride anyway; quick run up Old LaHonda and back into Woodside via 84. The new bike passed every test with flying colors (well, almost… the fit still needs to be dialed in a bit, mostly the bar height, which needs to come down). The now-severely-aged Dura Ace 10-speed Di2 (first generation) that I rescued from my old bike, with 32,000+ miles on it… still works great. And I can’t say enough about disc brakes in the rain! They were everything I’d hoped for, and more. No lag time, waiting for the muck to clear off your rims before your brakes decide to try and slow you down. Extremely predictable force (easy to get used to). Consider me impressed!

new_rainbikeNow, would I consider disc brakes for a bike normally not ridden in the rain? No. I have all the stopping power I need from my rim brakes, and that dry stopping power of a rim vs disc brake isn’t much different, if at all. Plus the extra weight of a disc brake, and finally, the annoyance of a bit of pad drag on the rotor (noise, which tries to convince you that you’re wasting a lot of effort, which you aren’t).

Two big thumbs up for disc brakes in the wet, two thumbs down for the reliability of the weather service for predicting “big” storms. Of course, as I type this, at 5pm, it’s pretty nasty outside. Wish I was out there riding in it! Go figure.

 

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