At this time of year, having reliable dry storage is more important than ever. What starts as a trickle quickly turns into a deluge as more water seeps in. If you carry precious cargo, like your laptop, phone or a change of dry clothes, leaking water is not acceptable.
You have options
Many bags feature a waterproof cover you can simply stretch over the bag. You can also buy these separately. We think that extra step isn’t worth the hassle if you live in a place where it rains nine months out of the year. Instead, invest in a quality bag that’s 100% water proof, and save that dapper unwaxed canvas satchel for a summery day.
Waxed canvas goes a long way toward repelling rain, especially if your commute isn’t more than five miles. Linus makes a nice line of bags that easily attach to a bike and are durably made to last.
A fully water proof bag like Ortlieb is a nice option. The bags are easy to clean (just wipe them down, inside and out) and the bag closure ensures 100% waterproofing in even the worst conditions for endless miles. Ortlieb was primarily known as a rafting gear company for a long time, so they’ve got the waterproofing thing down to a science.
At this point, it becomes a little more about aesthetics.
Portland-based bag makers North St., Black Star and Blaq (to name just a few) all produce well made bags in a variety of styles using fully waterproof material. North St.’s Woodward Convertible is a fantastic option if you want to go from pannier while you ride to back pack while you shop/hike/adventure.
Keep it Closed
An overstuffed bag is going to leak. Any channels in the fabric will pool water that eventually could seep toward the closure. Ensure your bag has a firm closure with no gaps, preferably with the fabric sloping downward toward the outside of the bag. This is your best bet in combating leakage.
Where is Your Bag Mat?
Create an area in your house where you can easily set down your wet, drippy, grime-covered bag after a long commute home on a dreary day traversing the dirty streets. Maybe that’s a small mat near your front door where you can also kick off your shoes. Keep a junk towel near by and make a habit of quickly wiping down your bag. This will prevent tracking grime through the house and brushing that grime against your clean work clothes the next morning.. Once that bag dries, road debris and fine gravel from the road easily falls off wherever your bag goes.
How do you Carry?
How do you carry your needs through the winter? Share your ideas below.
The Portland Product Party wasn’t nearly as huge, by a long stretch, but it was still a very cool event we hope to see grow.
Held at Velo Cult Bike Shop and Tavern, the Product Party was a casual (beer drinking) environment for retailers to check out 2015 products from a variety of bike businesses. Company reps were on hand to talk about new product features.
The event was put together as a last-minute idea, but the consensus all around seemed to be that it’s worth hosting again next year. Bike shop employees are often too busy to spend their time researching the finer points of new products, but this event was a cool environment to parlay that information. The focus on bike industry retailers is important. It’s no secret that online shopping is taking away from local businesses. If shop employees are more knowledgeable, they can offer an attractive service that has the potential to draw shoppers away from the sterile, self-driven online shopping environment.
If nothing else, it was an awesome opportunity for industry people to interact, something Portland needs a lot more of.
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Every once in a while, it’s good to be famous.
Filmed by Bike showcases the best bike movies from around the world and the task of selecting those films is the prestigious honor of the Filmed by Bike jury, a panel of local film and bike enthusiasts and celebrities.
Nominate your bike hero to the jury! Jurors are granted VIP access to the event and an insider peek at the huge collection of international bike movies.
Deadline for nominations is 12/1/2014.
And self nominations? Yeah, they’re totally allowed.
Once every decade, Oregon State Parks makes an assessment of their non-motorized trails use. This is your once in a decade opportunity to weigh in.
From Oregon State Parks:
The survey covers trail use anywhere in Oregon, from local parks to national forests.
Survey responses will help local, state, and federal agencies efficiently allocate funding to meet the needs of non-motorized trail users. The survey, and each question in it, is voluntary. All responses are confidential – they will only be reported as part of larger groups.
People who fully complete and return the survey within three weeks will be entered into a drawing for one of two Oregon State Parks 12-month day use passes and one $100 grocery store gift certificate.
Please complete the survey by November 26th.
If you have any questions about the survey, please contact the project lead, Kreg Lindberg, email@example.com
There’s a relatively new kid on the rainy season block, the cycling rain cape. And no, these aren’t the dorky rain ponchos you buy in a clear pack for $12 when is starts raining at the baseball game, these are rain barriers specifically designed for riding a bike.
And they work.
Sure, rain capes may look a little funny at first, but these light weight pieces are surprisingly effective and comfortable.
Why Use a Rain Cape
The key difference between cycling rain cape and a traditional rain poncho is that the body of a rain cape extends over your handlebars to create a solid tent to keep you dry.
The vast majority of rain cape users agree that rain pants are a drag. They’re awkward to put on (you probably need to take off your shoes) and even more awkward to remove. They are bulky and unattractive. Depending on what’s worn under them, rain pants can be rather uncomfortable.
With rain capes, it doesn’t matter what you’re wearing underneath, or what your body type is. Fit becomes less of an issue.
With one piece of clothing, you can get coverage for your head, top and bottom.
Rain capes allow for better air flow, so on days when it’s wet but not cold, they’re a great way to go.
Rain capes provide a tent of coverage from above to protect your legs, and fenders do the job from below.
Rain capes are easy to take on and off and they dry off fairly quickly.
How dapper you look depends on how much you want to spend, in most cases. There are a few independent fabricators making cute rain capes for under $100 that are marketed as being designed for cycling and hiking, but we can’t verify the quality of these items. Most capes range from $175-250.
Standard yellow-rain-jacket-type capes exist and are a smart choice for safety reasons, what with their bright colors and all, and they’re often the least expensive, like these from J&G Cyclewear. But better-looking options are certainly out there.
Brooks, well known for their style, offers a rain cape with leather detailing. Unless you opt for the upgraded Oxford Rollup (vs the Cambridge stowable) we don’t think it’s worth the cost because aside from the leather detailing, the cape is nothing special.
The Center for Appropriate Transport in Eugene, a hub of clever cycling, fabricates their own waxed canvas cape. It’s a nice alternative to synthetic fabrics, but it’s also much heavier. They offer optional hoods, bump outs for messenger bags, and fleece lined collars.
Iva Jean, a Seattle-based designer who makes functional and fashionable women’s bike clothes, has a very nice cape that features elegant arm holes (seriously, that is a thing) and a series of pull cords that allow you to reshape the garment to your liking.
Cleverhood has really set the bar high, with nicely tailored capes in interesting fabrics. Billed as a “US-made rain cape for livable cities,” these capes are known for their excellent quality.
Take Into Consideration
A cape without a rear cinch will fly up in the wind. You may or may not care about this. If you do, opt for a cape that has features to prevent this.
Depending on the cape design, often it will obscure your lights, particularly on the handlebars. You’ll need to make adjustments for this, such as mounting your light to your helmet instead.
The cost isn’t all aesthetics. Many expensive caps offer handy features you’ll wish you had and reflectivity built into the classy-looking fabric. Do your research before you decide what you want to spend.
Do You Cape?
Are you a cape wearer? What do you love about it? Share your comments below.