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How We Ride In Portland: Getting Caught in a Rainstorm

Living in the Pacific Northwest, you learn to take the weather report as a friendly suggestion of how many layers you should pack for a day out. Those of us who have been here awhile know to bring a raincoat even if the forecast boasts sun all day—because you really never know.

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So, how is it that Portland is ranked one of the most bike-friendly cities in the US? We come prepared. This is a handy guide for people looking to bike in Portland, but intimidated by the weather. Whether you’re a hardcore commuter or you just had bad luck, here’s how to handle getting caught in a storm.

Have the right gear

  • Fenders, fenders, fenders. This is the most effective way to stay dry(ish) if you happen to get caught in the rain. They only add a little to the weight of your bike, and they stop water from spraying up from your wheels. GenZe sells fenders to accompany the e-bike, but the bike allows for other fenders if you’d rather get your own.
  • A waterproof backpack can save your life. North St. is a local company that makes great paniers and backpacks. Like most biking backpacks, they are spacious enough to fit your rain pants and jacket at the bottom, and still have room for everything else you’ll need throughout the day.
  • Visibility. In inclement weather, your grey jacket will blend in with the grey sky—so remember to carry bike lights. You can wear an obnoxious bright color, or add reflective gear to your outfit, but Illuminite makes a range of products that will keep you bright without feeling gaudy.
  • Know bike-friendly modes of transportation – If you don’t feel like cruising at high speeds with water flying at your face, there are other options! Portland loves our cyclists and has accounted for their needs—and your e-bike will fit in just like a “regular” bike.
    • Put your e-bike on the bus or MAX. Stuck without cash? Use the TriMet’s tickets app.
    • Find a Car2Go with a bike rack! As part of the bike-rack pilot program, 250 of Portland’s Car2Go vehicles are prepared to transport bicycles.
    • Call a taxi van—it’s the same price as a regular cab ride, just let them know that you’ll be loading a bike into the vehicle.
  • Wait it out! – When all else fails, we’re lucky to have so many bars and coffee shops around to fall back on. Check out Willamette Week’s Bars By Neighborhood list for some good suggestions.
  • Enjoy the ride!

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