Duncan Wilcock

duncan@wilcock.ca

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Rain Gear for Biking in Vancouver

I didn't think I would ride in the rain.  

Four years ago, when I got my ebike, I was excited by the potential for avoiding bridge traffic, reducing my climate impact, and helping my son and I move around North Vancouver by bike.  I didn't think I would ride in the rain much, and I certainly didn't expect to find myself riding in almost all weather. 

Gradually - after trying to drive home from work in the pouring rain, having cars whizzing past with poor visibility, spray, and feeling less safe on Highway 1, or at busy car intersections - than when I'm on my bike and able to position myself with agility in safer places - I found I kept wanting to be on my bike - and gradually I began to experiment with biking in the rain.  

These days I ride in some serious deluges, all winter long - and as you can see - my little guy enjoys coming along too (3 yo in that photo).  I'm not intimidated by almost any rain storm.   Mostly it's just frost and ice that I avoid riding in, and I might take the bus to work once or twice per winter for that reason.

It rains less than you think it does.

I live in Lynn Valley, North Vancouver.  We are one of THE rainiest places in Metro-Vancouver.   Not infrequently, it's cloudy here, while sunny in Richmond or Point Grey.  However, I found that when I rode less than perfect weather it's often - "a bit grey," or "light mist," or "marine rain" - that doesn't get me that wet.  Moreover, on "a rainy day" - it's often only raining for an hour or two - a lot of the rest of the day it's perhaps misty, or just grey.  In short - it rains less than you think.

On eBikes, you don't sweat

You'll notice I wear rubber boots and non-breathable stuff.  I find this is a-ok because I'm not sweating under my clothing from exertion.  This is why ebike rain gear is different -  and less fancy - than fanatical cyclist rain gear. I tried those rain galoshes many bikers wear - yuck & what a pain.  Half-height rubber boots for the win!


On to the Gear:

You're reading this for the photo and the gear list, here it is:

I wrote more about my rain pants and boots in this blog post about Rain pants

You don't have to buy all this stuff to get started. This is what I found myself working up to over time.  I didn't expect to be a rainy rider - and you can see my son (3 yo in that photo) loves it too.  (We have adventures. 🙃)

I would start with waterproof:  rain pants, rain coat, rubber boots, gloves, and at least the glasses to start.   See how it goes for you, and if you find yourself liking it more - those are some more options of things we have found work well.

It's Kinda like Skiing

I love skiing.  We love skiing as a family.  I love #stormdays on the mountain.  The fun part of biking in the rain, is it has started to feel like that for me.   I have my swishy pants on, my warm dry helmet and googles.  I move at a similar speed biking and skiing.  The cool air on my face.  It feels not unlike skiing.

Cautions

Wet leaves.  In fall, when the leaves are wet - watch out for wet leaves, and even for a few hundred meters after riding over a patch of wet leaves.  I think there are oils or debris that can stick to your tires for a bit and make them slippy.  I did have a scare on my own once, and am now very mindful of wet leaves.

Final thoughts 

1. There is no bad weather, just bad clothing.

2. You're not made of sugar

I hope this inspires you to explore what your comfort level is.  Enjoy!  🚲🙃

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Who to Vote for in North Van & Rest of BC - 15-Oct-2022

Why Vote on 15-Oct-2022

 BC municipal politics matter to me because they can have a big impact on decisions that affect:

  • More Housing Options
    • Land-use Policy and zoning, which are huge drivers of the housing crisis
    • Think "six floors and a corner store" 
  • Active Transportation Networks (Walkable Cities, Transit, Bike Lanes)
    • Have you tried an electric bike yet?  Game changing.  Ask me sometime.

These are two big issues that can have a direct impact on my quality of life.  Even more important, my north-star is climate change, and these are also key building blocks for making a difference to climate change.

I live in North Vancouver, and I'm going to focus this article on our candidates.  I'll also include some links at the bottom for help identifying who to vote for in your municipality.   In my day job I'm lucky enough to do work having a positive impact on climate change. Being focused on climate change a long time, I know politics has an outsize role to play, and local governments can lead faster and better than other governments on these key issues.

So:

  1.  Please vote on 15-Oct-2022 in your local government elections.
  2. I'm hoping to make this easy for you - here is who I plan to vote for & why.

Who to Vote For: DNV

In the DNV (District of North Van) staff have been bound by a split council this past 4 years. Three councillors fairly in favour of active transport (Mathew Bond, Jordan Back, Megan Curren), Two mostly opposed = Mayor Mike Little, Betty (Pigeon) Forbes, and also not reliably in favour = Lisa Muri and Jim Hanson.

The choices on Oct 15 really matter in terms of how fast housing policy and bike infrastructure can move. Do get out to vote, and encourage your friends and neighbours to do so too. Both for CNV and DNV. 
The younger (50 & under - especially 18-35 vote) are especially important to try to get out to vote.

For what it's worth,  my voting dance card for DNV so far looks like this:

  • Mayor: Matthew Bond

Council:

  • Jordan Back
  • Greg Robins
  • Elison Mallin
  • Catherine Pope
You need 1 mayor vote, and up to 6 council votes. People tell me better to only vote for 4 if you're not sure about the other 2

 This is my current list. I may add to this list as we get closer to 15-Oct. 

Here is the full list of DNV candidates in 2022


Don't just trust me. In prior years I've used the HUB cycling advocacy candidate list, and found that the people that are in favour of their policies, are progressive and usually in favour of more housing options as well.

Last note: Incumbent mayor Mike Little says "thoughtful growth and some transport options" - but his record that I've observed is of minutia, status quo, and not rapid improvements.

Who to Vote For: CNV


If I lived in CNV (City of North Van) my dance card would be:
  • Mayor: Linda Buchanan
Councillor:
  • Tony Valente
  • Jessica McIlroy
  • Angela Girard
  • Holly Back
  • Don Bell
  • Kathy McGrenera


There may be another candidate or two aligned fairly directly with Linda Buchanan. I'm sure she's not perfect, but I definitely want more of the "walkable city" and bike priority work that has been happening for the past 4 years.
Our family goes to the CNV by bike routinely. The destinations are great (Shipyards, Moodyville Park, Grand Boulevard), and the routes are palpably better when we cross the DNV/CNV border.  I want more like them in the DNV too!

Here is the list of CNV candidates in 2022

Who to vote for - other Municipalities in BC

If you live in the Lower Mainland, HUB Cycling has put together lists of candidates who have endorsed their platform. (Same link shared above) As I said above, I have found that the people that are in favour of their policies, are progressive and usually in favour of more housing options as well.

Outside the Lower Mainland of BC, I haven't yet found as good a resource. Please send it along do duncan@wilcock.ca if you find one. I've asked the BC Cycling Coalition if they have a similar list, but they have not responded after a few days. Feel free to ask them on twitter at @bccycle :) 

Ride on!  🙃🚲