Commuting - Rain gear/Cold off bike clothing
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01-02-10, 05:37 PM
I know similar topics have been beaten to death, and did some searching, but couldn't quite find what I was looking for.
So I go to school in Atlanta, live car free, my daily commute is about 6 miles at about 20-25 minutes. In the 4 months I have been here, it has rained more than it has in the last 4 years in the state (literally). The unusual element is, I moved here after being born and raised in South Florida, so for me, it is considerably colder here than what I am used to.
What I'm looking for is some decent rain pants, but they don't have to keep me bone dry for like 20 miles or 2 hours of riding. I'm fine with getting sweaty, just don't want to be soaked and cold (right now I'm using nothing). I'll probably get some booties to keep my feet dry and warm and have already gotten some gloves.
My main concern is the jacket. Again I want something rain resistant for 20-25 minutes of riding in rain. However, I want to also have the option of using this jacket as a regular item of clothing. My current wardrobe has left me pretty chilly the last week or two of riding as the heaviest items I have are really light sweaters. It would be nice to have something to wear those sweaters under and perhaps look somewhat aesthetically pleasing for casual wear off the bike for going out to eat, drink etc.
I'd really like this jacket to be a multi-tasker. I don't have a lot of money (student remember?) but if one article of clothing can have several uses (cold, rain, wind, casual wear) then I may be fine with spending a bit of money. The last two weeks it has been getting down into the lower 20's with normal wind-chill and even colder at bike speeds. Allegedly it isn't supposed to get much colder and will stay this way for a while yet.
Any suggestions, advice, or other threads would be much appreciated. I'm used to just riding in the rain and changing when I arrive as it never gets cold and rains where I'm from. Thanks in advance!
$30 rain suit from Wal-Mart, get a size bigger than what you wear to go over layers.
01-02-10, 07:18 PM
I have heard good things about the Shower's Pass jacket. The price was a little more than I wanted to throw for a jacket. I bought the J&G jacket instead. It was a little less expensive and seemed to have some of same key features.
For the most part, I don't generally like to spend a lot on clothes. When I buy clothing, functionality is one of my things I am looking for.
I bought my jacket with the intention of using it pretty much the same way you are describing. So far I have no complaints. At around 20 degrees F I had to remove my insulating layer while I was riding.
For my legs, I have Wally-world rain pants, and a pair of Rain-Mates.
01-02-10, 07:28 PM
I also have a J&G jacket, and it's held up perfectly. I've worn it all winter and during heavy weather in warm months for 3 years now, and it has no signs of wear other than the bottom of the zipper pull broke off in the clothes dryer. The pull is still there, just a tiny bit shorter.
I'd buy it again, no question. I hear the shower's pass is good too, but since the J&G has given me everything I wanted, I'd have a hard time spending more than twice as much.
01-02-10, 07:53 PM
Why not consider a Carradice rain cape.
01-02-10, 08:23 PM
Why not consider a Carradice rain cape.
If I didn't wear a lighted reflective vest, I would go with a Carradice rain cape.
I've had good results in that variety of conditions with layering. Get a good packable rain jacket (see what REI, EMS, or other decent outdoor stores have on sale now that the holidays are past). It can do double-duty as walkabout rainware and probably as a wind layer. Depending upon your size, you may need to go a size larger to allow room for an insulating layer underneath. Get cheap fleece from Target or Walmart, etc. for insulation. If the rain jacket is packable, you can more easily carry it with you when it's going to be dry on way and wet the other.
01-02-10, 09:44 PM
The rain cape seems nice, compact, and effective. However, how warm is it? Also, although I'm not exactly the most stylish person ever, I don't know if I could wear that around in non-rain situations. If I lived in a climate that was extremely cold consistently, I would just invest in an winter wardrobe. However, I'm only here for a short while, and don't want to invest in such just yet.
I'm checking J&G, but can't find a retailer anywhere. I'm going to head to REI tomorrow and check out some rain suits maybe or any other similar items they may have. Keep the suggestions coming. Thanks!
01-02-10, 10:26 PM
SP Elite 2.0 is very versatile for rain and dry-cold windbreaking. It should last you for many years, and at REI, you get a full-satisfaction refund or replace guarantee.
You'll have to learn how to tweak the multiple under-shell airflow features to get optimal performance, and wear different layers for varying temps, but this jacket works to keep you warm and minimally damp (totally dry for short rides, or if you like riding colder than some of us). I've worn mine from 14 F to 54 F so far.
Try the Showers Pass Portland. http://showerspass.com/products.asp?ManId=1101&ProductId=12&Product=Portland
It's a cycling coat that's made to look like it's not a cycling coat when you are off the bick.
01-03-10, 08:35 PM
Went to REI today. Hit the clearance rack and picked up a Canary zip up windbreaker, blue, but not waterproof. However, I think it will be better than the cotton sweatshirt I have now. I went for a short run with it on over a sweater and just some jeans and my Toms on. It was a miracle. I felt great. It was a wind-chill of 15F, and I was really quite cold before I put the jacket on. I'll definitely be able to wear it around for other occasions too.
I also picked up some pants. I was surprised at how small the selection was. I had trouble finding the proper size and proper price. I ended up going with a women's medium, and was lucky to find it on the clearance rack.
I checked out some booties and found some I like. I don't use clipless pedals, I use clips. So I wasn't particularly happy about the bottomless booties. I just figured that was one more avenue for water or cold to get in. Also they only had one model, Sugoi and they were quite expensive. Anyone have any experience with these? I think tucked into the pants I'd be a very happy camper. Can anyone comment on the efficacy of booties with no bottoms?
01-03-10, 08:48 PM
I think you may do better with waterproof boots if you're not clipping in.
REI gear is very good and they have among the industry's best return policy (no questions asked, every time!) but their gear is definitely priced and aimed at higher-end goods. Ironically, they don't carry cycling gear for hard-core roadies per se, but their stuff is pretty pricey for commuting purposes.
I think you'd be surprised how good a Wal-Mart nonbreathable rainsuit is for commuting. I'd put reflective ankle straps on to keep them from flapping into the drivetrain. As long as you're not riding hard, the nonbreathableness should also keep you surprisingly warm.
For much of the 8 years I spent as a 4-season commuter in Atlanta, I relied on waterproof/breathable jackets, supplemented with various nylon rain pants or chaps. I always kept ( and still do keep) shoes at work. Various wicking polyester shirts, socks, underwear can be helpful for damp conditions. (Under rain gear, of course)
Haven't looked at booties recently. I have an older pair of neoprene booties - I think the bottom came solid, with patterns to cut out for cleats.
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