Fall weather shift cyclists’ trends

As the weather in Oregon gets colder and wetter, cycling becomes less appealing as a form of transport.

“I still want to ride my bike when the weather gets worse, but it’s harder to convince yourself to do it,” said Kelsey Green, who lives in far West Eugene and commutes to her job downtown.

She said that she doesn’t like showing up to work with wet clothes, and also doesn’t like that visibility is reduced when riding while its raining.

“Sometimes, it doesn’t feel safe,” Green said. “The last thing I would want is for someone to not be able to see me and an accident to happen.”

Alex Nordenson, a mechanic at Paul’s Bicycle Way of Life, doesn’t think that the rain should slow any commuters down.

“I think a lot of people don’t really like to ride in the rain,” he said. “I don’t think it’s dangerous as long as you have basic knowledge of a bicycle. I mean, you wouldn’t slam on your brakes in your car if there was bad weather for it.”

For Nordenson, riding in the rain does require certain equipment like fenders, lights and reflectors in order to be safe. But, living in Eugene makes it easy to feel safe on two wheels. Organizations such as Greater Eugene Area Riders and Eugene Safe Ride to School are pushing to promote safety on cycles, not only working with cars but working with riders to ensure that they know how to be a safe rider.

“[Eugene] is very bike friendly. I put more miles here on my bike than I do my car.”

Of all places to feel like drivers are looking out for you, Eugene is toward the top of the list. According to the League of American bicyclists, Eugene has a “Gold” rating out of “Platinum” and the third best rating for cities with a populations over 100,000.

Andrew DeBlanc, another bike rider who commutes to school and work, does not think the changing weather will change his routine.

“Of course I will still ride my bike,” DeBlanc said. “It’s the fastest, easiest way to get around Eugene. I need some fenders [on my bike], but I’ll still ride it.”

DeBlanc also gets worried that he could have the wrong bike for conditions around Eugene.

“I get worried and feel unsafe at times because of my tires,” he said. “I feel like I might slip out sometimes or visibility is reduced. But, as long as you control it, you’ll be fine.”

The city of Eugene has made numerous advancements toward biking transportation safety. Last summer, they put in a two-lane cycle way on Alder street and “sharrows” around campus and downtown areas.

About Branden Andersen

Branden is a senior journalism major focusing on magazine journalism at the University of Oregon. He currently is the managing editor at FLUX magazine.
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