Author Topic: Gear for cycling in the rain? Recommendations?  (Read 1126 times)

Goldielocks

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Gear for cycling in the rain? Recommendations?
« on: November 05, 2018, 10:59:47 AM »
HI All,
I switched out to my bike full time last spring, and living in the PNW, the rains are upon us.   
When it rains, I would like to wear a shell layer that I take off on arrival to a friend's house (for coffee) or the library, or fetch groceries.  I don't want to be very wet under the shell layer.   The errands I run mean that I don't change out of my clothing when I arrive.


My rain gear is not holding up well, I need your recommendations for the following 3 problems.

1)  Pants -- my 10 yr old "rain / columbia" pants that I have are fine for hiking in the rain or even skiing, but only lasted 10 minutes onthe torrential wet that comes off my bike.   My rear and top of knees soaked through completely in 10 minutes.  (I use a rear rack instead of fender, so there is an extra amount of water on the rear end)

2)  Face Shield.   Does anyone use a face shield?   Just having that much rain hit my face so fast is like running through a waterfall.  Any tips here?

3)  Shoes -- I have been using ankle high rubber shoes (like rubber boots but short), which are fine, but wondered if I should switch to my sealskin socks in a fabric shoe.   I don't use clips so I have options.

What do you do / use that works well?

niknak

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Re: Gear for cycling in the rain? Recommendations?
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2018, 09:22:12 PM »
1- As far as I know, all waterproof/breathable rain gear will eventually wet out. You could try spraying on some waterproofing stuff on your existing pants to improve performance. If you want something new however, I've had good experience with Showers Pass stuff. They're based in the PNW, so they know what's what.

2- Cycling specific caps are perfect for this. They have small brims that you wear low on your forehead to protect your eyes but won't block your vision for looking down the road without craning your neck. Go to any bike shop and they should have some.

3- Showers Pass has some rain booties that work really well. I prefer this to waterproof socks because the shoes stay pretty dry too. They slip over your sneakers or cycling shoes. Make sure to size up if you ride in sneakers because they're bulkier than cycling shoes.

Goldielocks

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Re: Gear for cycling in the rain? Recommendations?
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2018, 11:38:19 PM »
Thanks, I will check out the shoe covers and caps, although I am not sure the cap / small brim will do the trick to keep my face dry... but maybe.   I am trying to be able to get off the bike for coffee without having to take a towel to mop up my head/face before I go inside a coffee shop.  The whole drowned cat look is not great for my light makeup applications..  doh!

I am also starting to look at non-breathable rain pants, as my trips are short  - I ride for errands, not for exercise - and I don't get sweaty on the bottom half when it is cold and raining out.

katscratch

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Re: Gear for cycling in the rain? Recommendations?
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2018, 09:28:19 AM »
Another vote for Showers Pass. It's such a big difference having rain pants that can be slipped on quickly over my existing clothes/shoes, and that don't expose my lower back.

I've used the face shield from a surgery mask tied to my helmet during super heavy downpours here but that's not realistic for day to day riding ;)  I almost always wear glasses of some sort - either sunglasses or cheap clear safety glasses - to prevent my contacts from drying out, but they do seem to minimize the amount of rain on my face. And I probably bend my head down enough in heavy rain that the brim of my helmet helps.

niknak

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Re: Gear for cycling in the rain? Recommendations?
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2018, 05:13:16 PM »
Ahh, I didn't realize you wanted to keep your whole face dry :) In that case a face shield, as suggested by Katscratch, could be a winner.

Linda_Norway

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Re: Gear for cycling in the rain? Recommendations?
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2018, 02:23:13 AM »
You could also have a look at rain legs:
https://www.rainlegs.com/en/home

GuitarStv

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Re: Gear for cycling in the rain? Recommendations?
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2018, 07:54:03 AM »
I wear a cycling cap under my helmet in the rain because the little brim keeps most of the spray off my glasses and keeps my head a little bit warmer.  I put fenders on the bike that I ride in the rain to keep spray off of my drivetrain and me, and this makes a huge difference.

Other than that I just get wet.  I've found that I sweat so much in waterproof stuff that I might as well just skip the expense.

I've seen people cycling in rain ponchos, and coupled with fenders they look like a decent way to keep mostly dry.

Goldielocks

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Re: Gear for cycling in the rain? Recommendations?
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2018, 03:08:18 PM »
I wear a cycling cap under my helmet in the rain because the little brim keeps most of the spray off my glasses and keeps my head a little bit warmer.  I put fenders on the bike that I ride in the rain to keep spray off of my drivetrain and me, and this makes a huge difference.

Other than that I just get wet.  I've found that I sweat so much in waterproof stuff that I might as well just skip the expense.

I've seen people cycling in rain ponchos, and coupled with fenders they look like a decent way to keep mostly dry.
This is a great point.  I have also come to the realization that fenders are a must, even though the rear rack works fairly well, proper fenders would really help.   

Today (no rain) I also realize that a half face wrap around visor on my helmet (maybe the kind you attach) is needed, even if just for the wind.  I wear glasses, so cycling glasses are a no-go but I need to cut wind out of my eyes anyway.

I think I will try the poncho -- if It is long enough to sit on, but not too long to get caught in the tires.... it could work.  I hike in a poncho by choice, as the venting / rain combo is my much preferred, so I will give it a try.

Sweating is less of an issue -- typical bike ride is 1-3 miles, to run errands.  Hard to work up much of a sweat, I am barely warm by the time I arrive.

Clean Shaven

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Re: Gear for cycling in the rain? Recommendations?
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2018, 04:05:21 PM »
cycling in rain ponchos, and coupled with fenders they look like a decent way to keep mostly dry.

Poncho + full fenders are the best, least-sweaty, rainwear option that I've found.  I have a bike-specific poncho from Vaude.  They're fairly cheap, because they're only meant to be waterproof -- not breathable.  You get plenty of ventilation from underneath, which helps keep the sweat from building up.

If I try to ride in a rain jacket, rain pants, and booties, I'm just a sweaty mess, no matter how "breathable" it's all supposed to be.

Fenders are a necessity, IMHO, for keeping the dirty street water from spraying all over you.

foggyzhenya

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Re: Gear for cycling in the rain? Recommendations?
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2018, 08:14:04 AM »
I cycle to work and around town in NYC and highly recommend light-tinted glasses/goggles. They've been great for eye protection at night and during the day and also in the rain! The rest of my face is OK, for now. As the winter approaches, maybe I'll put the ski goggles and balaclava to use.

I use store-brand rain gear from Decathlon: a neon green poncho with built-in belt and velcro straps to attach the front part to the handlebars to keep it all from flying away and rain pants with shoe covers (while I like the shoe covers, they make the pants less usable as regular rain pants).

Last but not least, a fellow cyclist recommended putting a shower cap over the helmet.

(I didn't think Decathlon has a presence in the US, but maybe it does, at least online: https://www.decathlon.com/collections/city-bike )

GuitarStv

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Re: Gear for cycling in the rain? Recommendations?
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2018, 09:11:48 AM »
Personally I find that I get fogging issues from ski-masks.

I have to wear glasses all the time so purchased two pairs of prescription goggles from Zenni optical for cycling, one is tinted and I use it for bright summer riding and one is completely clear and I use it in the winter and when it's dark/rainy.  If you don't need a prescription, just pick up some clear safety glasses from your local hardware store . . . they'll probably only run you a couple bucks.  No tint is best for riding at night.

alarswilson

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Re: Gear for cycling in the rain? Recommendations?
« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2018, 08:26:29 PM »
+1 Poncho (+ fenders, which should go without saying)

We live in Japan and everybody here cycles in the pouring rain. We commute 18km to school year round, and a nice poncho is just awesome. The Japanese ones are the best, if you can get your hands on one. They are larger the front is long enough to go over and clip to a basket, which is a universal here. We have a nicer poncho that is slightly weighted front and back, so it doesn't fly about. It also has a hood with a clear visor, that looks silly but is awesome.  We have used these even in a typhoon, and they are miraculous. I have one I bought in Europe, and the basket+longer front poncho just does a better job.

If you add some knee-high rain boots, you are just about impermeable--and yet, because it is open underneath, you don't get super sweaty.

Linda_Norway

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Re: Gear for cycling in the rain? Recommendations?
« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2018, 01:11:54 AM »
+1 Poncho (+ fenders, which should go without saying)

We live in Japan and everybody here cycles in the pouring rain. We commute 18km to school year round, and a nice poncho is just awesome. The Japanese ones are the best, if you can get your hands on one. They are larger the front is long enough to go over and clip to a basket, which is a universal here. We have a nicer poncho that is slightly weighted front and back, so it doesn't fly about. It also has a hood with a clear visor, that looks silly but is awesome.  We have used these even in a typhoon, and they are miraculous. I have one I bought in Europe, and the basket+longer front poncho just does a better job.

If you add some knee-high rain boots, you are just about impermeable--and yet, because it is open underneath, you don't get super sweaty.

Can you with this construction still stick out your arm when you want to make a turn?

Brokenreign

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Re: Gear for cycling in the rain? Recommendations?
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2018, 01:07:54 PM »
+1 Poncho (+ fenders, which should go without saying)

We live in Japan and everybody here cycles in the pouring rain. We commute 18km to school year round, and a nice poncho is just awesome. The Japanese ones are the best, if you can get your hands on one. They are larger the front is long enough to go over and clip to a basket, which is a universal here. We have a nicer poncho that is slightly weighted front and back, so it doesn't fly about. It also has a hood with a clear visor, that looks silly but is awesome.  We have used these even in a typhoon, and they are miraculous. I have one I bought in Europe, and the basket+longer front poncho just does a better job.

If you add some knee-high rain boots, you are just about impermeable--and yet, because it is open underneath, you don't get super sweaty.

Can you with this construction still stick out your arm when you want to make a turn?

Sadly not. For everything else though these ponchos are perfect. I used one for motorcycling in Vietnam and was perfectly dry after several hours of riding at ~60km/h. You also don't sweat while wearing if you use them on a bicycle and you can just slip them off at your destination. Further benefits - they can be had for less than $10 and many come with a clear section of rubber on the front so you can see your cell phone if you have it mounted on your bars for navigation.

I'm in the same boat as everyone else re. waterproof/breathable coats and pants. The friction of riding will shred the inner layer of 2 or 2.5 layer waterproof/breathable pants very quickly. I wear my 3-layer goretex shell coat if it's both raining and colder than 10C. Otherwise it's too hot and I just put up with being wet. It was also way too expensive and I would not have purchased it if I didn't use it for skiing as well.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2018, 01:09:47 PM by Brokenreign »

Goldielocks

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Re: Gear for cycling in the rain? Recommendations?
« Reply #14 on: November 24, 2018, 12:13:59 AM »
Thanks for the Poncho recommendation.  I just placed an order for one, with slits for arm holes, and not intended to go over handlebars and a basket (although it can go over handles, keeping my cycling gloves warmer, it is not as long as the full basket covering ones are... I don't have a basket).

I have a light on the front and did not want to go to the version with the clear front patch.

I also bought a separate hat / clear visor with a rain shield on the back of the neck, to go with this.  The hat is low profile, so I could still wear a helmet over it if I like (because my traffic is quite different than Japanese cycling, I am sure... there are gravel dump trucks that forget that the shoulder is for bikes around here...).

AND  I bought the silicone / rubber shoe covers that go up to the ankles.  I won't walk very far in them, so they should work just fine.  How many time have I not entirely liked my rubber boot-shoes?  Wanted to wear normal shoes but it was raining and seemed to be an effort to pack the second pair in the paniers?

Anyway,  I had to go onto Aliexpress to find these items, as they are definitely more asian-centric, but just up my alley for full time commutes by bicycle (no car), for short distances... in the rain and foul weather.

I am just waiting for the items to arrive, now, which is subject to the postal strike here... I may not see anything until January.
HMMM I wonder if I would have enjoyed our scooter more with something like this.

ETA:   Now I need to order better fenders.  Funny, fenders (bought in NA) are going to cost me as much as my rain poncho (higher end version) plus hat plus rain / shoe covers will.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2018, 12:34:58 AM by Goldielocks »