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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 12-20-00, 09:09 AM   #1
RainmanP
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What do you wear for cold, rainy weather? I have rain wear, but it is more for walking around than riding. No "give". I am sure I will split the crotch the first time I try to mount in a hurry.
So, suggestions on rainwear for cycling would be appreciated. Suitable for wearing an extra layer of insulation if needed.
Regards,
Raymond
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Old 01-02-01, 01:04 PM   #2
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wish i could help...

... but i'm in the same boat, trying to decide! right now it's between burley rainwear (http://www.burley.com/html/access/rain/rain.html) or a gore-tex bike jacket, probably REI.

burley makes cycling-specific rainwear out of another type of water-proof breathable fabric, and has been recommended to me by a few people, and it is about half the cost of a really good gore-tex jacket. it's supposed to be fairly breathable, like gore-tex. but i've been using gore-tex pants that have served me very well, so i'm not sure which way to go.

gotta hurry up and buy already, since it's pretty wet around here.
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Old 01-02-01, 07:25 PM   #3
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rainwear

If your ride is short,(5 mi. or less?), rain pants and water proof shell are OK. If you are riding a longer distance, enough to work up a sweat, you will most-probably get as wet or wetter from perspiration buildup inside the shells as from the rain and stinkier too!
Gore-Tex does breath a bit, but you will need a jacket with ventilation openings on the back and the arm-pits,("pit-zips"). ( I have a friend who climbed Mt. Everest who uses coated nylon and thinks Gore-Tex is a rip off.)
I prefer to wear a wind vest and wool layers on my upper body, I try to dress so I'll be a bit cold when I start so I won't get "sweat-wet" after I warm up. I carry a shell in my fanny pack and use it only if I am forced to, ie. long HEAVY rain,(I use my spare gloves just about as often if not more). For the lower body again wool,(tights), gets the nod. If it's very cold and/or very wet then a stretch water resistant or lycra tight over the wool. Lycra tights are OK, to 40 or 50 degress F but not lower, unless you layer.
I know wool getting hard to find, Giordana and possibly Pearl Isumi still make wool tights. I'm not sure who makes wool jerseys but I see them advertised. If nothing else you can get some inexpesive wool to layer with, and/or wool pants, at your local Surplus, St Vincent's or Goodwill Store etc. If you can find it use Merino wool, especially next to your skin, it doesn't itch! It's easy to care for- cold water, gentle cycle, Woolite, hang dry,
I know many of you are wondering why I didn't mention polypropelene, polyester or any of the other synthetics. I've found the wool works much better over wider temperature ranges, wet or dry, and I don't smell like some wild animal in rut when I get done. I have synthetics and use them when conditions aren't very bad to save wear and tear on the wool.
And finally, never, never ever wear cotton when it's wet and cold, it just makes it far worse.

[Edited by pat5319 on Jan 2nd at 08:49 PM]
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Old 02-19-01, 07:32 PM   #4
Jean-Paul Rivegauche, PhD
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Protecting against Hydrous Oxide penetration!

As I sit here, it is literally pouring outside...a reminder that tomorrow's commute will require FULL rain gear. I am currently commuting an easy 5 miles each way, basically a sprint to and from the worksite, on a cyclocross hybrid that I have found perfect for everything from strong head-winds to keeping me ahead of the "Yellow Flash" (another hot-shot bikecommuter whom I encounter from time to time). As far as rain goes, I have found a high-visibility yellow North Face single-GoreTex layer shell, with attached hood perfect for my needs. Any similar GoreTex single-layer shell-type garment will suffice, of course, but should have Velcro cuff and windflap fastening. I usually wear one or two cotton mock-turtleneck long sleeve T-shirts under that, depending on the temperature encountered (usually no colder than 28 degees F. with typically high dew-point). Bellwether "Waterproof" gloves with Aerotex fabric are also very good, being both wind and waterproof, warm but cool enough to allow use in all weather, and thin enough to allow good bar and brake lever feedback-feel. Lower half protection usually consists of white lycra/cotton tights (for good visibility) for everything except a steady drizzle (or more); when the rain starts to come down more seriously, a pair of single-layer yellow GoreTex shell pants are good (again for high-vis), since they conform to the leg fairly well with Velcro closures and do not get caught in gears, chains, etc., suffice. Sweat build-up varies with the person (I have never had a tendency to sweat much, ever), so you may need to ventilate more if perspiration is a problem for you on exertion. Proofed shoe covers are simple to use and a blessing for eliminating soggy-shoe syndrome; they are available at any good bicycle store. Finally, for head protection, I have found that SARAN "Quick Covers", a commercial grocery store product marketed by the S.C.Johnson Company for use in covering refrigerator food dishes, are simply great for use as over-the-helmet rain protection. These nifty little shower-cap-like elasticated bags snap over the helmet snugly and the "Large" size are perfectly sized for regular, high-quality, and full size helmets like the Gyro Boreas. They are disposable, cheap, and snap on and remove in the blink of an eye. A new product, the SARAN "Quick Covers" are in my opinion missing a good bet by not being sold at bike shops as the perfect "over the helmet" disposable rain cover. Keep in mind that local winter-time conditions, such as are found in Sacramento, California, are typically wet, foggy, cold, and surprisingly unlike that mind's eye impression most non-California residents have of "sunny, warm, 'it never rains here' California". One last concern in foul weather is insuring that one is SEEN, so bright colors (such as yellow, fluourescent greens and oranges) are preferable to drab, dark ones. Speaking of this, it amazes me that so many bicyclist insist on clinging to (no pun intended) the traditional black, Lycra-nylon tights for riding at night or in poor weather. That is almost insuring that you will be hard for motorists to see. Much better are Lycra-Cotton blend white tights, that stand out clearly in the gloom. Remember, "Be seen or be dead". Eyes demand good protection, of course, and I find that clear lexan wrap-arounds are best for all round wear (unless sunglasses are needed) and during then rainy season I coat my lenses with a commercial automobile anti-moisture product known as FOG-X (available at any auto parts store) that keeps them clear in rain conditions. Good luck with the rain and stay dry, citizen!
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Old 02-19-01, 11:11 PM   #5
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Rain Wear

I've found that for light to moderate rain a jacket like those already described (gore-tex or equivalent, pit zips, extended back flap) works well and cycling pants with gore-tex type front panels and breathable, stretchy type back panels (available at MEC - Mountain Equipment Co-op: http://www.mec.ca/) work very well.

In heavy rain I dress for warmth because your going to get wet, either from within or from without.

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Old 02-20-01, 01:23 AM   #6
Chris L
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A different idea

Personally I make absolutely no effort to remain dry in a ride. None whatsoever. Instead I just keep a change of clothes dry, and change into them at my destination. It might sound crazy, but I should add that the last serious illness I had was food poisoning in June, 1998. I must be doing something right.

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Old 02-20-01, 09:14 AM   #7
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If I lived on the Gold Coast, I wouldn't concern myself with rain either!

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Old 02-20-01, 11:04 AM   #8
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I like Pertex for rainpants. They are more breathable and a LOT cheaper than Gortex. I wear them over polyester track pants that can handle the damp.
I use a Gore Cosmo jacket in heavy rain, it works OK but I feel clammy esp on hills. For cold wet weather I am veering to a light Pile and Pertex smock (Buffalo Teclite).

Footwear remains the biggest problem. I think lightweight waterproof boots are best, the less padding the better. No messing with over under-socks. Used with clips, they perform well enough.

I do enjoy a really heavy rainstorm, esp with a stormy sea raging along the seafront.
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Old 02-20-01, 02:14 PM   #9
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Re: rainwear

Quote:
Originally posted by pat5319
. . . I prefer to wear a wind vest and wool layers on my upper body, I try to dress so I'll be a bit cold when I start so I won't get "sweat-wet" after I warm up. I carry a shell in my fanny pack and use it only if I am forced to, ie. long HEAVY rain . . . <snip> . . . I know wool getting hard to find, . . .
This is pretty much my situation as well. As far as wool getting hard to find, most recently I have been getting wool items from Kucharik (www.kucharik.com), including wool undershirts to wear under my bright, visible-in-traffic jerseys.
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Old 10-01-07, 07:11 PM   #10
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I wear a Showers Pass Century rain jacket (one of the best out there, imo.) And Rainshield O2 3Flow rain pants with Louis Garneau Stop Tech shoe covers. I stay totally dry in the heaviest of Rain.
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Old 10-01-07, 07:15 PM   #11
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My strategy is to keep my top/torso dry, and wear synthetics below (bike shorts/leggings) but to not worry about keeping my legs dry. They are still genrally warm, even when wet, and as long as your "core" area is warm and dry heat will spread to your extremities.

Basically, I find it to be too much of a PITA to try and find gear that keeps my legs dry and still allows for reasonable range of movement. So I compromise.
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Old 10-01-07, 07:40 PM   #12
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If its warm and raining, get wet.
If its cool and raining, wear a softshell.
If its cold, like real cold, and pouring, wear a waterproof made from eVent. In order to not sweat to death while wearing a waterproof shell you must dress light, and have pit zips, and as much active ventilation inyour jacket as possible, and it must be cool/cold out.

eVent breathes twice as well as the best goretex. There is a lot of research on it. Heres a couple links, google will find you lots more.

http://www.climbers-shop.com/Waterproofs.aspx

http://www.spokesmanreview.com/sport....asp?ID=193267

http://www.prolitegear.com/cgi-bin/p...xdpy/kb/00029/

Showerspass Elite jackets are the best I could find for cold wet weather. A lot better than goretex.
J&G also makes a jacket that a lot of commuters here like and for a great price.
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Old 10-01-07, 07:56 PM   #13
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If its warm and raining, get wet.
If its cool and raining, wear a softshell.
If its cold, like real cold, and pouring, wear a waterproof made from eVent.
Just so, and I also like long cycle pants (I have a pair from Novara) for cool/cold and wet or just cold in general.

Watch out in hard rain when temps are below 35F. I've ridden OK down to 15F but I nearly froze to death last December in a hard downpour at 33F.
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Old 10-01-07, 09:22 PM   #14
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Shell with vents. Add a middle layer as needed. I don't worry about my legs.
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Old 10-02-07, 06:44 AM   #15
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I wear a rain cape in the rain. I wear appropriate clothing under it to stay warm. Rode home yesterday, second time in a week, in a downpour. My cape it great!
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Old 10-02-07, 10:50 AM   #16
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I'm completely convinced that I have spent entirely too much on rain "gear." As the monsoons begin in earnest here in the Pacific Northwest, I'm going with a bike poncho this year. I have the ubiquitous rain pants, but I'm tired of the sauna effect that Gore-Tex is supposed to alleviate. Theres no such thing as staying dry inside rain "gear" unless you are female (women don't sweat, they glisten) - and you don't exceed 5mph.
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Old 10-02-07, 11:00 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by idcruiserman View Post
Shell with vents. Add a middle layer as needed. I don't worry about my legs.
I think a shell w/ vents is basically what my burley raincoat is. Long pitzips. I could have worn short sleeves under that today and done fine (pitzips wide open). Went w/ long sleeves under the coat, wound up w/ a sweatier back than I wanted, but nothing too bad. Just shorts for my legs. Wool socks. Shoes that are mostly mesh to improve drainage.
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