Bicycling with the return of weather and fall foliage forecasts

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Gosh. I just love the sound my bicycle tires make as they zip through puddles and slosh over soggy leaves that fall on wet autumn days. That’s why it was so much fun to ride through the first decent rain of the season on Sunday.

Preston-Snoqualmie Rail Trail

OK. That’s a bunch of malarkey.

I never enjoyed bicycling in the rain much, but it’s far better than the alternatives — not bicycling at all or pedaling on a trainer in front of the TV.

On Sunday, I found my rain jacket and rolled out to the Preston-Snoqualmie Trail on my touring bike — that’s the one with fenders.

The leaves are turning along the trails out here. Although I think of all western Washington forests as evergreen, there are lots of big leaf maples tucked away in there. The dinner-plate sized leaves are turning a bright yellow now.

The US Forest Service has a list of fall colors possibilities, as does the Foliage Network and the Weather Channel fall foliage map. In the past, the Rails-to-Trails Network has recommended colorful trails, and I’m sure those hold for this year as well.

The Preston-Snoqualmie rail-trail could be on that list of recommendations, although it isn’t. The trail rolls out from Preston to a dead-end about a mile from Snoqualmie Falls. Actually, folks wanting to extend their traffic-free riding experience can start all the way back on Sunset Drive in Issaquah. Although there is plenty of traffic noise from I-90 all the way to Preston, there’s only a mile-long stretch near Preston where you have go onto a road, and it has a wide shoulder.

The trail is paved, except for a short section of gravel on the switchbacks that climb a hill. There’s an amazing view of Snoqualmie Falls where it dead-ends, although it’s mostly obscured by trees until the winter.

Rainy weather riding

Here’s my personal checklist for riding in the rain:

1. Rain jacket

2. Some kind of cap with a bill to wear under my helmet

3. Rain pants if it’s cold

4. Wool socks or something with amazing wicking properties

5. Booties if it’s cold

6. Fenders

7. Go to extra lengths to be visible

8. Rinse off the bike and dry the chain after the ride (a friend recommends using a small air compressor, hose and nozzle to blast the crud off the chain)

9. Get used to riding in the rain

I failed to do No. 8, so I had rust on my chain this morning. I treated it with wet lube and hope it will be OK. And I’m working hard on No. 9.

The Cascade Bicycle Club has its own list of rainy weather bicycle riding tips.


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