Author Topic: Best bike rain gear?  (Read 6367 times)

rjack

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Best bike rain gear?
« on: July 14, 2012, 05:58:13 PM »
I just got a new bike and I want to be able to bike in the rain.

I already purchased various lights, reflectors, etc., but I haven't purchased any rain gear so that I stay dry. Do you have any suggestions for warm and cold weather rain gear?

Thanks!

deciduous

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Re: Best bike rain gear?
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2012, 08:22:09 PM »
I recommend an old/used rainsuit, you might be able to find one at goodwill or on craigslist. An even better place to go is REI during their annual "garage sale" of returned gear. When I lived in Texas, that was a camp-out-all-night party, followed by all kinds of stuff for pennies on the dollar.

The reason I give this advice is not just to save money--whatever you get, it's going to get trashed by your chain, passing cars, road grime, whatever. Nice/expensive goretex or breathable tent-type fabrics are going to be ruined, and ultimately you're going to get wet anyway.

I have a bigger problem with freezing, wet feet when I ride in the winter, and I'm not sure what the solution to that is other than being a badass.

It's not so much a matter of keeping yourself dry in the rain or snow, it's key to have something dry to change into when you get there. Waterproof panniers or a day pack with a rain cover will probably do more for your lasting health and comfort than a great suit. (The REI Traverse 30 pack from a couple years ago is an example of a nice daypack with a separate rain shield in a little pouch.)

Hot weather's pretty straightforward, I just wear street clothes or basketball shorts, whatever. Spandex looks pretty silly to me unless you're in a race. A helmet with a visor helps, but I'm sure you have one already. Trek makes surprisingly cheap and good helmets, compared to everything else in their catalog which looks pretty pricey to me.

deciduous

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Re: Best bike rain gear?
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2012, 08:27:32 PM »
For cold, I find I don't need much insulation, and in fact tend to overheat in the winter more than the summer. A tight fleece skull cap under my helmet seems to do, and I use a wool scarf knit by my sister, which insulates my face much better than the one balaclava I bought and tried.

If you're riding in snow on a regular basis, you might want to look into studded tires. Road slicks and mountain knobbies both have issues. I haven't used them though, so I don't know how much better studs are. A friend of mine used to get roofing nails and drive them through old/worn mountain bike tires in order to get more bite in snow and ice.

masont

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Re: Best bike rain gear?
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2012, 09:31:03 PM »
I have a bigger problem with freezing, wet feet when I ride in the winter, and I'm not sure what the solution to that is other than being a badass.
Me too.  Until I bought these - http://www.bikerumor.com/2012/01/05/review-shimano-2012-wm81-winter-cycling-shoes/

I commuted this winter in temps down to the mid 20's, and on days we had up to six inches of snow with those shoes and a pair of thick socks from costco.  I realize on a frugality blog this might not be the most popular advice, but I share your cold-footed affliction, and I absolutely would not ride in the mid-20's without some kind of shoe like this, because it freakin' hurts my feet.  These things were worth every single penny. 

Jamesqf

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Re: Best bike rain gear?
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2012, 12:21:46 AM »
For cold & wet, I find the most important area is my hands.  Good water & wind-proof gloves are a necessity.  Neoprene socks help keep the feet warm, if not exactly dry.  Beyond that, nothing I've ever found would keep me dry in serious rain. (Encountered while biking in Britain, Ireland, and Switzerland - we don't really have rain hereabouts.)  It's more important to cut the wind, and thus the windchill factor. 

Russ

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Re: Best bike rain gear?
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2012, 11:05:21 AM »
For any weather, I generally don't wear any rain gear since I'm going to get wet either way - from rain without a jacket, or from sweat if I'm wearing something waterproof, even if it's "breathable". In cold weather, keeping my hands and feet warm are most important, so I have a decent pair of gloves and something like this - http://goo.gl/Xdkp1 - to go over my shoes. To keep the rest of my body warm, I pack a couple of plastic grocery bags with me. If i get cold, I stuff one down the front of my jersey to break the wind. If I'm still cold, one for each thigh goes down the front of the shorts. Advantages of this over dedicated winter gear are: they're pretty much free, easier to "change" in and out of (easier to put a bag down your shirt than to put on a jacket), and, in my opinion, offer even better breathability than a nice jacket, since the plastic only covers the part of you that needs the wind broken and the rest of your jersey is left to breathe without anything else in its way. If you don't want to shell out for winter shoes or those shoe covers, a plastic bag between your sock and shoe, cut off so it doesn't stick up too much past your ankle, will keep your feet just as dry and warm. I had never heard of neoprene socks before today but I bet those would work great as well.

In either warm or cold weather, fenders will go a long way to keep nasty road spray off you and your bike. A front fender will eliminate most of the water that gets to your feet and into your bike's drivetrain, and a rear fender will keep you from getting a skunk stripe up your back from road grit. They're pretty inexpensive as far as bike accessories go, or i've seen a few instructables on the subject if you're into that sort of thing
« Last Edit: July 15, 2012, 08:03:25 PM by Russ »

rjack

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Re: Best bike rain gear?
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2012, 11:30:00 AM »
In either warm or cold weather, fenders will go a long way to keep nasty road spray off you and your bike. A front fender will eliminate most of the water that gets to your feet and into your bike's drivetrain, and a rear fender will keep you from getting a skunk stripe up your back from road grit. They're pretty inexpensive as far as bike accessories go, or i've seen a few instructables on the subject if you're into that sort of thing

I did order some fenders from Planet Bike (http://ecom1.planetbike.com/7056_5.html) that I haven't installed yet, so that should help.

I had read some people use ponchos in the rain, but that seems like it would work like a sail in high winds.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2012, 05:56:21 PM by rjack »

deciduous

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Re: Best bike rain gear?
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2012, 04:03:17 PM »
To keep the rest of my body warm, I pack a couple of plastic grocery bags with me. If i get cold, I stuff one down the front of my jersey to break the wind. If I'm still cold, one for each thigh goes down the front of the shorts...

That sounds crazy/hardcore. I'm impressed. Not sure if it's enough to try it, but enough to post on the internet!

gooki

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Re: Best bike rain gear?
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2012, 04:36:08 PM »
My rain kit consists of:

1x pair of snowboarding pants
1x snowboarding  jacket

Seems to work a treat, I'm dry underneath when I get to work, and is stuff that I already own.