La Vie Velominatus: The Rain Bike

In our privileged stables of bikes, it ranks towards the bottom of the heap as Bike #2 or lower, but the Rain Bike is no slouch. This is, after all, the bike we rely on in bad weather, trusting it to carry us safely through what typically amounts to the most dangerous conditions we ride in. Provided you ride year-round, you likely ride this machine more often than your Number One – assuming you live in an environment that isn’t a tropical island (I’m looking at you @gianni) or classified as a desert. It follows, then, that this is a machine to be curated with great care and several factors should be kept in mind when selecting the machine for this wet and dirty work.

The first consideration is the material. I hope I’m not spoiling anyone’s fantasy by pointing out that rain isn’t actually made of the sweat falling from Merckx’s guns as he pedals high up on Mount Velomis; it is mostly water, mixed with some acids and other crap. Rain water can cause certain kinds of materials to become compromised in one way or another. Steel, for example, is particularly prone to this through rusting. Calfee’s bamboo frames might be susceptible to becoming soggy – I’m not sure. For a bike which is to be ridden primarily in wet conditions, choose a durable, non-corrosive material like titanium, aluminum or carbon.

The second consideration is the components. Here’s the other news flash about riding in the rain: the roads are less pristine than they are in the dry. Road grit gets in your drivetrain and on on your rims, acting like coarse sandpaper to accelerate wear. Since you’ll be replacing some parts more often than on a bike ridden in the dry, this is a bike for which to get economical about gear selection; you aren’t going to want to replace your full titanium Super-Record cassette and chain after it wears out in 1/3 the time. The shifters, brakes, crankset, and derailleurs don’t have to be greatly affected provided you maintain the bike in the style of a velominatus, but the wheels, bottom bracket, derailleur pulleys, chain, cassette and freehub will certainly feel the strain. Anything that moves, has a bearing, or lets water in is a candidate for accelerated wear.

Third, this has to be a bike you’re going to love riding, not some beater that gets abused and you tolerate throwing your leg over. As much as riding in Rule #9 conditions is badass and an invigorating experience, it does get a bit tiresome when you ride in the rain every day from October to March (or May, for you Pacific-Northwesterners). If your position isn’t right and if the bike isn’t a pleasure to ride, it’s not going to make getting cold and wet any more enjoyable.

Lastly, this bike will be taking abuse, so remember that your safety is entrusted to this machine in conditions when visibility is low, stopping distances increased, and road surfaces slick. Maintain this bike more diligently than any other machine; check the brake pads and rims for dangerous wear, check the metal bits for rust and cracks, and keep a close eye on the chain and cables. Resist the temptation to spray it down with the garden hose as the pressure can lodge the grit deeper into bearings and other nooks and crannies on the bike. After each ride, clean the braking surfaces carefully, wipe the chain down (or, better yet, use a Cyclone with soapy water to get the grit out from in between the links) and always use a wax-based lubricant to keep the dirt from sticking to it more than with traditional oil-based lubes.

But most of all, remember that the best kind of ride is the one you’ll be able to do again; stay safe and ride carefully. Vive la Vie Velominatus.

[dmalbum path=”/velominati.com/content/Photo Galleries/frank@velominati.com/LVV Rain Bike/”/]

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290 Replies to “La Vie Velominatus: The Rain Bike”

  1. @brett

    As for the fi’zi:k EPMS, I’m sick of having pockets hanging around my arse when more gear is needed, ie it’s winter here.

    That’s just because your jersey’s too big. Which is also why you can’t stuff your gilet under it. Fitting tip: your jersey should fit differently than your nightgown.

    As for the EMPS, I should kick the snot out of you for even thinking about this, but I spent enough time with you in Belgium to know there is no limit to how much snot you produce, and I simply haven’t the time…

    And yes, a sagging jersey looks just as shit as an EPMS.

  2. My jersey is fine… if I wore a size smaller my midriff would be exposed, and no-one needs to see that.

    You wear a nightgown? And I’ve got problems?

  3. @brett

    I *wish* you actually had a drug problem and were actually going through withdrawal…it would make this EPMS talk so much more palatable.

    And, not I don’t wear a nightgown – I wear one of these. I just assumed you wore one as that would explain the problem…

  4. @frank

    @brett

    As for the fi’zi:k EPMS, I’m sick of having pockets hanging around my arse when more gear is needed, ie it’s winter here.

    That’s just because your jersey’s too big. Which is also why you can’t stuff your gilet under it. Fitting tip: your jersey should fit differently than your nightgown.

    As for the EMPS, I should kick the snot out of you for even thinking about this, but I spent enough time with you in Belgium to know there is no limit to how much snot you produce, and I simply haven’t the time…

    And yes, a sagging jersey looks just as shit as an EPMS.

    I knew it was only a matter of time before @frank showed up to lay down the hammer on the EPMS discussion.  If there’s one rule he’ll consistently defend without resorting to overly-complex half-exceptions, its Rule #29.

  5. On a related note, my wife wants to violate Rule #29, and (like everything else on her bike) wants me to help her with it.  I explained Rule #2 to her, but she just rolled her eyes and muttered something about “listening to deranged people on the internet instead of his own wife,” or something like that.

  6. @The Oracle

    On a related note, my wife wants to violate Rule #29, and (like everything else on her bike) wants me to help her with it.  I explained Rule #2 to her, but she just rolled her eyes and muttered something about “listening to deranged people on the internet instead of his own wife,” or something like that.

    Deranged people on the interwebs? I resemble that remark.

    I have only just joined the movement, and I am already developing an (unhealthy?) obsession with the rules.

  7. @frank

    I’m incredibly disappointed that none of you have noticed the cufflinks:

    Doesn’t that Garmin violate Rule #74? “Forgo the data and ride on feel”

    Oh, and I want a pair of those bar end-caps, Frank. Those are completely fucking sexy.

  8. @frank

    @Steampunk

    @frank

    Mutiple colour variations, I hope? Black on black would be nice…

    Yes, we’ll have a black on and a white one. Leader Cufflinks and Domestique Cufflinks.

    Domestique being black, I assume?  But I would think the black cufflinks would look fantastic in combination with white tape.  But then you’d have leader’s tape with domestique cufflinks…  will the paradox make my bars asplode?  What guidance is there in the rules for matching handlebar plugs?

  9. @frank

    I’m incredibly disappointed that none of you have noticed the cufflinks:

    I/we would have if the original picture (pic #1) had been the size of pic #2. Jeez, what kind of superman-like vision do you think we have? We’re not all young bucks with 20/20 you know . . .

  10. @The Oracle

    On a related note, my wife wants to violate Rule #29, and (like everything else on her bike) wants me to help her with it.  I explained Rule #2 to her, but she just rolled her eyes and muttered something about “listening to deranged people on the internet instead of his own wife,” or something like that.

    What’s worse is when your wife starts reading this shit and pointing out the oh so many ways in which you’re non-compliant.

    Much worse.

  11. @Xyverz

    @frank

    I’m incredibly disappointed that none of you have noticed the cufflinks:

    Doesn’t that Garmin violate Rule #74? “Forgo the data and ride on feel”

    Oh, and I want a pair of those bar end-caps, Frank. Those are completely fucking sexy.

    It violates the ideal of riding on feel, yes, but the Rule is that it should be simple and stem mounted – nothing more simple than a GPS-based computer with no magnets and no fuss. The Garmin reference is for the map version of Garmins, which was the only model when the Rule was written. We should update that.

    That said, the map version would have been handy as hell when I lead the Cogal on 20km of extra climbing by missing turns routinely.

    It does spoil the purity of the ride a bit, though, having numbers on the bars. I got it to log the Keepers Tour and Cogal rides on Strava for public scrutiny, but have found it’s very interesting to watch your training and objectively track your progress/habits. STRAVA is an exceptionally good service.

    I am trying to figure a secure location to mount it where I can’t see it, but it still reliably tracks the data for post-ride study. Best of both worlds – ride on feel and have the benefit of studying the data.

    @morten okbo

    no mud?

    Bugger…if you use the upload button instead of dragging, the picture will work. Its the little camera dealibob (when you’re logged in)

  12. @the Engine

    @The Oracle

    On a related note, my wife wants to violate Rule #29, and (like everything else on her bike) wants me to help her with it.  I explained Rule #2 to her, but she just rolled her eyes and muttered something about “listening to deranged people on the internet instead of his own wife,” or something like that.

    What’s worse is when your wife starts reading this shit and pointing out the oh so many ways in which you’re non-compliant.

    Much worse.

    And then commandeers your account to do some posting.

    @wiscot

    @frank

    I’m incredibly disappointed that none of you have noticed the cufflinks:

    I/we would have if the original picture (pic #1) had been the size of pic #2. Jeez, what kind of superman-like vision do you think we have? We’re not all young bucks with 20/20 you know . . .

    Ha! With the way you fuckers rip me to shreds whenever I post a picture of myself/my bikes, I figured you all had 90/1022 vision. (Is that better than 20/20, I don’t know how those numbers work, which may influence the quality of my joke.)

  13. I want to comment about the seized BB on Alu and Ti bike made by @Cyclops but can find the comment to quote…

    The reason this happens on these types of metals and not steel is because of what is called electrolysis. When two dissimilar metals are bolted together they literally attack each other and corrode each other fusing or welding them together, all it takes is a little water to get it all started. BB have steel threads and of course the BB shell is made out of the frame material. If you’ve ever taken a steel bolt out a part that is aluminum and you see a white powder that is electrolysis at work. This is why it’s always a good idea to use an anti-seize compound on the threads of the bolt before you put the parts together. I deal with this pain all of the time working on cars.

    fasthair

  14. @frank

    That is so weak. Painfully so. The V-meter shouldn’t even offer up GPS (Rule 74 actually says this). A big part of the ride experience is studying the route before you depart (or embracing the ensuing adventure). Becoming one with the roads requires that kind of preparation””this is a pivotal part of the ride experience: planning, visualizing the route. You wouldn’t go off on a ride without checking the bike, inflating the tires, etc. Why would you go off without a good command of where you’re going? If you’re training properly, you’re marking distance/climbing/time ahead of leaving. You’re not being casually deliberate if you’re constantly referring to a thingamajig glued to the stem of your bike (even when centred, it’s still unsightly).

    Rule #74 (revised): Be one with the bike, the body, and the road. Do not put your faith in numbers, data, and maps.

  15. @fasthair

    I want to comment about the seized BB on Alu and Ti bike made by @Cyclops but can find the comment to quote…

    The reason this happens on these types of metals and not steel is because of what is called electrolysis. When two dissimilar metals are bolted together they literally attack each other and corrode each other fusing or welding them together, all it takes is a little water to get it all started. BB have steel threads and of course the BB shell is made out of the frame material. If you’ve ever taken a steel bolt out a part that is aluminum and you see a white powder that is electrolysis at work. This is why it’s always a good idea to use an anti-seize compound on the threads of the bolt before you put the parts together. I deal with this pain all of the time working on cars.

    fasthair

    Beautiful.

    The threads on lots of BB’s are alu though, so steel frames aren’t immune; when I got my TSX, the alu-threaded Campa BB was seized in there nice and tight.

    Moral of the story: no matter what frame/BB you ride, grease it and maintain it often enough that it doesn’t do this. And every thread on your bike should be greased. (I loves me some white lithium grease.)

  16. @frank

    @Xyverz

    @frank

    I’m incredibly disappointed that none of you have noticed the cufflinks:

    Doesn’t that Garmin violate Rule #74? “Forgo the data and ride on feel”

    Oh, and I want a pair of those bar end-caps, Frank. Those are completely fucking sexy.

    It violates the ideal of riding on feel, yes, but the Rule is that it should be simple and stem mounted – nothing more simple than a GPS-based computer with no magnets and no fuss. The Garmin reference is for the map version of Garmins, which was the only model when the Rule was written. We should update that.

    That said, the map version would have been handy as hell when I lead the Cogal on 20km of extra climbing by missing turns routinely.

    It does spoil the purity of the ride a bit, though, having numbers on the bars. I got it to log the Keepers Tour and Cogal rides on Strava for public scrutiny, but have found it’s very interesting to watch your training and objectively track your progress/habits. STRAVA is an exceptionally good service.

    I am trying to figure a secure location to mount it where I can’t see it, but it still reliably tracks the data for post-ride study. Best of both worlds – ride on feel and have the benefit of studying the data.

    I’ve actually started just showing time, elapsed time, speed & distance on my 500’s main screen when I go on the longer rides. I’m still recording HR & cadence, but I don’t see those ’till I get home and sync it to Strava. This way, I have the best of both worlds: less distraction, AND the gathering of all related information.

  17. Rain bike… hah! I’ve spent my adult life positioning myself to eliminate the need for one. So far so good.

    @frank

    Put ’em up on the site, mate.  Quit hogging ’em.

    @All

    I have a small Fizik EPMS and a Garmin 705 that I’ll sell at a bargain price to anyone with the stones to post up in public that they want ’em.  They’re flotsam and jetsam left along the trail to Mt. Velomis.

    $200 for the Garmin, $10 for the EPMS, you pay the freight.

  18. @frank

    Nice Spinal Tap clip and reference – did  I mention my Chorus cassette goes up to 11?

    And I have to say you inspired me to check out rain bike/#2 bike again this morning, and I’ve decided she will get out more. So good job!! As you say getting back on No.1 will remind me of why #1 is #1

    … and also while I’m on it – the seized threads – I seem to remember being told not to use carbon seat posts on steel frames for the same reason – that can’t be right though, surely?

    Can anyone let me know how to post a photo to the avatar?

  19. @Steampunk

    You’re getting awfully mouthy, mister “I’m peaking for 200 on 100”. What you don’t know is I am paying @Rob to throw you in the locker and put you back in your place, Pedalwan.

  20. @frank

    Not mouthy””truthy. What’s wrong with what I said?

    “I feel like a man who has lived 10000 years, has 17 senses, and is standing knee-deep in the Atlantic.”

    That’s mouthy.

  21. @frank

    @fasthair

    I want to comment about the seized BB on Alu and Ti bike made by @Cyclops but can find the comment to quote…

    The reason this happens on these types of metals and not steel is because of what is called electrolysis. When two dissimilar metals are bolted together they literally attack each other and corrode each other fusing or welding them together, all it takes is a little water to get it all started. BB have steel threads and of course the BB shell is made out of the frame material. If you’ve ever taken a steel bolt out a part that is aluminum and you see a white powder that is electrolysis at work. This is why it’s always a good idea to use an anti-seize compound on the threads of the bolt before you put the parts together. I deal with this pain all of the time working on cars.

    fasthair

    Beautiful.

    The threads on lots of BB’s are alu though, so steel frames aren’t immune; when I got my TSX, the alu-threaded Campa BB was seized in there nice and tight.

    Moral of the story: no matter what frame/BB you ride, grease it and maintain it often enough that it doesn’t do this. And every thread on your bike should be greased. (I loves me some white lithium grease.)

    Tis Galvanic Corrosion, Wiki that http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galvanic_corrosion …

    It’s why I strip my bikes down every six months, degrease, grease and rebuild, also helps the wrenching skills stay in check.

  22. @Xyverz

    Inspired. I was thinking of mounting it on chain stays and seat stays, but that is gloriously simple. Screen 1: Time of day. Screen two: Speed, HR, distance, and Ride Time for intervals. Switch to screen two on Tues/Thurs, the rest of the time its all feel. Love it.

    @RedRanger

    @frank didn’t  you get #3 to race with? What’s going on with that?

    I’m behind on everything because there’s this website that eats up heaps of my time. Still aiming to race this year, probably starting in July or so. We’ll have to see. CX for sure.

  23. @frank

    a! With the way you fuckers rip me to shreds whenever I post a picture of myself/my bikes, I figured you all had 90/1022 vision. (Is that better than 20/20, I don’t know how those numbers work, which may influence the quality of my joke.)

    A Dutchman, Dr Snellen, is credited as the creator of the modern eyechart.  Keeping with the metric theme, 6/3 vision would be equivalent to 20/10.

    I’m not an ophthalmologist, just a sucker with really bad sight.  Not knowing anything the doctor told me last week brought me to wiki when I returned home, and that’s about all I can remember.

  24. @frank

    @RedRanger

    @frank didn’t  you get #3 to race with? What’s going on with that?

    I’m behind on everything because there’s this website that eats up heaps of my time. Still aiming to race this year, probably starting in July or so. We’ll have to see. CX for sure.

    Bummer.

  25. @Giles

    @frank

    Nice Spinal Tap clip and reference – did  I mention my Chorus cassette goes up to 11?

    And I have to say you inspired me to check out rain bike/#2 bike again this morning, and I’ve decided she will get out more. So good job!! As you say getting back on No.1 will remind me of why #1 is #1

    … and also while I’m on it – the seized threads – I seem to remember being told not to use carbon seat posts on steel frames for the same reason – that can’t be right though, surely?

    Can anyone let me know how to post a photo to the avatar?

    11 on the front of the cassette… Good… Good, I can feel your anger. I am defenseless. Take your weapon. Strike me down with all of your hatred and your journey towards the dark side will be complete!

  26. @Giles

    … and also while I’m on it – the seized threads – I seem to remember being told not to use carbon seat posts on steel frames for the same reason – that can’t be right though, surely?
     

    I had a carbon seatpost “freeze” with my steel Baum. I was too scared to mess with it too much so took the bike back to Darren Baum – framemaker extraordinaire. He said it can happen and recommended an alu seatpost going forward. I removed myself from the room before he took to my frame to remove the post…

  27. @Marcus

    @Giles

    … and also while I’m on it – the seized threads – I seem to remember being told not to use carbon seat posts on steel frames for the same reason – that can’t be right though, surely?

    I had a carbon seatpost “freeze” with my steel Baum. I was too scared to mess with it too much so took the bike back to Darren Baum – framemaker extraordinaire. He said it can happen and recommended an alu seatpost going forward. I removed myself from the room before he took to my frame to remove the post…

    Finish Line Fiber Grip to create separation of carbon from steel and also creates friction to hold the post. Also use Fiber Grip to mount 3T carbon bars to 3T alloy stem.

  28. @RedRanger

    @frank

    @RedRanger

    @frank didn’t  you get #3 to race with? What’s going on with that?

    I’m behind on everything because there’s this website that eats up heaps of my time. Still aiming to race this year, probably starting in July or so. We’ll have to see. CX for sure.

    Bummer.

    Having hung out at Casa de Frank, you people (myself included) eat up a shit ton of his time (and Merckx bless him for it). But don’t feel bad; he loves it.

  29. @frank

    It violates the ideal of riding on feel, yes, but the Rule is that it should be simple and stem mounted – nothing more simple than a GPS-based computer with no magnets and no fuss. The Garmin reference is for the map version of Garmins, which was the only model when the Rule was written. We should update that.

    That said, the map version would have been handy as hell when I lead the Cogal on 20km of extra climbing by missing turns routinely.

    It does spoil the purity of the ride a bit, though, having numbers on the bars. I got it to log the Keepers Tour and Cogal rides on Strava for public scrutiny, but have found it’s very interesting to watch your training and objectively track your progress/habits. STRAVA is an exceptionally good service.

    @Xyverz

    Inspired. I was thinking of mounting it on chain stays and seat stays, but that is gloriously simple. Screen 1: Time of day. Screen two: Speed, HR, distance, and Ride Time for intervals. Switch to screen two on Tues/Thurs, the rest of the time its all feel. Love it.

    My Merckx, you are overthinking this.  The beauty of the 200/500 is that it’s so small you press the start button, stuff it in a jersey pocket, forget it’s there and ride on feel.  Then pop the data on Strava when you get home to prove to yourself the wisdom of this approach.  End of.

  30. @sgt

    Rain bike… hah! I’ve spent my adult life positioning myself to eliminate the need for one. So far so good.

    Reports of how the Orange Sunshines established a rain-repelling high pressure dome while you were in the PNW recently are conspicuous by their absence…. So?

  31. @frank

    @Xyverz

    Inspired. I was thinking of mounting it on chain stays and seat stays, but that is gloriously simple. Screen 1: Time of day. Screen two: Speed, HR, distance, and Ride Time for intervals. Switch to screen two on Tues/Thurs, the rest of the time its all feel. Love it.

    Rarely even use the other screens on my 500, Speed, ride time, time of day & distance covered are on the main screen and that’s basically all I look at.

  32. @Nate

    @frank

    It violates the ideal of riding on feel, yes, but the Rule is that it should be simple and stem mounted – nothing more simple than a GPS-based computer with no magnets and no fuss. The Garmin reference is for the map version of Garmins, which was the only model when the Rule was written. We should update that.

    That said, the map version would have been handy as hell when I lead the Cogal on 20km of extra climbing by missing turns routinely.

    It does spoil the purity of the ride a bit, though, having numbers on the bars. I got it to log the Keepers Tour and Cogal rides on Strava for public scrutiny, but have found it’s very interesting to watch your training and objectively track your progress/habits. STRAVA is an exceptionally good service.

    @Xyverz

    Inspired. I was thinking of mounting it on chain stays and seat stays, but that is gloriously simple. Screen 1: Time of day. Screen two: Speed, HR, distance, and Ride Time for intervals. Switch to screen two on Tues/Thurs, the rest of the time its all feel. Love it.

    My Merckx, you are overthinking this.  The beauty of the 200/500 is that it’s so small you press the start button, stuff it in a jersey pocket, forget it’s there and ride on feel.  Then pop the data on Strava when you get home to prove to yourself the wisdom of this approach.  End of.

    I would feel it in my jersey pocket. Jersey pocket No.1 — one tube, one CO2, one valve, one tyre lever, spoke wrench. Jersey pocket No.2 — no smart phone, small phone or no phone. Jersey pocket No.3 — keep empty or carry extra water, sustenance. Data is left behind you anyway. Data that matters is still ahead of you and don’t record that either.

  33. @Nate

    @RedRanger

    Costs a lot more than a jersey pocket.

    @versio

    I would feel it in my jersey pocket.

    OK princess.  Just stuff it in there with the CO2 etc.

    No can do. But I will be your princess.

  34. @Nate

    @versio

    That’s a great way to disguise the fact that you are running a Ritchey cockpit when you regret not running something better.

    Dick, you are making a big opening for me. Haven’t you paid attention? 3T and ZIPP. Your Dick is showing.

  35. @Nate I’m just an enabler man. I don’t even run with a computer at this point. the amount of riding I get to do doesn’t warrant it, plus I find my 3T stem to pretty. K-Force makes quality stuff, and $50 isn’t much compared the their chain catcher and clamp on adapter($90)

  36. Nate, Natey, Nato — here are some details for your future references to The Sword. 3T Team Ergosum, 3T Team ARX 130mm at 17 degrees down (threw Ti bolts away to use steel head bolts), ZIPP Service Course tape Black, 2012 Black/Red Centaur carbon controls with Black hoods. No computer to fuck it up. No regrets, but I sense Nate regrets.

  37. So the mention here of GPS and Strave reminds me of a slight worry I had about uploading my rides: doesn’t that basically tell loads of people where I live, that I might well have a pretty nice bike, and if I upload regularly normally but then miss it for a while, that I’m probably not home? In short, couldn’t Strava be a thief’s best friend? Or is there some kind of security feature I’m missing?

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