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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 08-23-10, 06:41 AM   #1
ridethecliche
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For Rainy Commutes

What do you wear?

I do have access to showers/locker room at work to store stuff during the day, but I try not to get gross enough to use it. Public transport on days when it's raining is easy enough, but I'd much prefer to ride.

I have a commuting bike with fenders, but I need better tires for it. The other bike so far has been a single speed, which works well for my short (5 mile) commute.

Trying to figure out what to wear so I don't get completely drenched on the way to work or on the way home.

Thanks!
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Old 08-23-10, 07:17 AM   #2
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I have a lightweight, neon-butt-ugly rain jacket for medium rains. In summer around here, I'll sweat wearing it, so gotta keep the pace down. In my years of backpacking and biking experience, there is no magic bullet for staying dry in hot weather when its raining. Either you go jersey only and get drenched, or you wear rain gear and get sweat-drenched. So, I back off the pace a tad and wear my rain jacket and it works pretty well. I don't bother with the legs. Shorts get a little wet, no big deal. I don't cover the helmet with anything either. Maybe a little water gets in, not too much.
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Old 08-23-10, 07:59 AM   #3
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Above 60*F, shorts and a t-shirt. In the 50's, I add long sleeve under-armor type stuff. I can dry off using about 3 paper towels. No big deal. Let the stuff dry on a hanger.

Rain-gear reserved for <50ish.
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Old 08-23-10, 08:03 AM   #4
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I don't wear the rain gear above 50, otherwise, I'm just wet with sweat instead of rain. I much prefer the rain.
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Old 08-23-10, 08:07 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by BigDaddyPete View Post
I don't wear the rain gear above 50, otherwise, I'm just wet with sweat instead of rain. I much prefer the rain.
same here.
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Old 08-23-10, 08:14 AM   #6
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and here
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Old 08-23-10, 08:19 AM   #7
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I have a lightweight raincoat from J&G Cyclewear that meets most of my needs for foul weather commuting. In the winter, a layer or two underneath is all I need. But for this AM, when the air was wet and the mist was light, I just rode in my standard outfit... a mountain biking shirt from Nashbar and a pair of mesh shorts. Raincoat and workwear was in the trunkbag. As the weather gets cooler I'll add nylon shell pants and for the sub freezing commutes wool long undies from Duluth.
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Old 08-23-10, 08:25 AM   #8
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Haven't done it in the super cold yet, but so far I just ride in shorts or jeans (for the sort of cold) and a t-shirt (short or long sleeved depending on the cold) rain or shine. I don't have showers at work, but I do have an office with a door so I can hang up my wet clothes to dry and change into an outfit from the bundle I keep in there
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Old 08-23-10, 09:46 AM   #9
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Yay for fenders! They are seldom big enough, I extended mine by bolting some inner-tube flaps on. On the racer with no fender mount I made a wee U shaped channel on the downtube out of a drink bottle and cable ties, it stopped a lot of the muddy water from bouncing off onto the chain and my feet.

I made a washing line up high in the locker room, but stuff didn't dry in winter. If you have to get back into your wet clothes at the end of a cold day Lycra and polyprop are the only thing to wear.

I spent 5 years doing a 30 minute commute flat out in all weather. I acquired a Lycra wardrobe and an ultralight nylon flouro vest with mesh back, two cheap polyprop underwear longsleeve tops for very cold weather, and a big bright Goretex climbing parka for hail and snow or very cold rain.
You can buy much better cycle specific rain gear with armpit vents and less billowage but for riding fast I reckon it will still often be preferable to just get wet rather than sweaty and slowed down by rain gear.

Under the seat I stowed an emergency parka - a light plastic bag that drycleaners put over a suit. Like a garbage bag but much more compact. Cut holes for head & arms. Great in winter when you work crazy late and emerge into a storm.

In hot weather I just wore socks and shorts, and put the vest on for sun protection or after arriving to avoid disturbing public decency.
If I had not worn a full hardshell fluoro yellow helmet I would have been wearing the fluoro vest on the road.
If I didn't like riding half naked I would have worn the fluoro vest and got a nice modern invisible-from-behind helmet.

Often in winter I showered at home before riding to work, if you start clean the sweat just dries and you are fine for the day. Rather than wash bike shorts each day I wore fresh cotton underpants for the ride and took another pair to change into at work, leaving pair 1 to dry in my locker.
Tip: Antiperspirant works just as well for legpits as armpits.
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Old 08-23-10, 09:52 AM   #10
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This is probably not a great solution, but I have a cheap 'poncho' that I throw on to cover my upper body. That's all I do. I don't even have fenders on my bike.
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Old 08-23-10, 04:39 PM   #11
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Bring a change of clothes (or leave it at work) since you might get drenched.
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Old 08-23-10, 06:32 PM   #12
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I am a big fan of the J&G rain jacket. I rode all last winter using it as a shell. with layers as needed for the cold. The temperature and intensity of the rain determine what I wear for the rain.
I have Rainmates, full rain pants, rain chaps, a rain cape, and my J&G rain jacket.
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Old 08-24-10, 08:23 AM   #13
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It depends on how heavy the rain is or is supposed to be. I often just wear my regular riding clothes and get wet. Like others have said, I prefer rain to sweat. I did recently buy a $3 Coleman vinyl poncho at Big Lots or a similar store and recently tried it out on a ride to work in some heavier rain. It worked well and kept me dry and relatively cool, since the sides just kind of button up.

Another vote for good fenders, too.
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Old 08-24-10, 09:16 AM   #14
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A Marmot Precip rain jacket and cheap O2 rain pants. Works well enough for my relatively short commute.
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Old 08-24-10, 09:26 AM   #15
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I have some pretty good rain gear, which I'll wear in a really drenching rain on a cold day if I can't find any good excuse to take the day off... but usually I'll wear a windbreaker for increased visibility and not worry about the rain. Cycling is a wet business regardless of the weather.
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Old 08-24-10, 10:21 AM   #16
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Why Not try a Rain Cape.Its not as bad as it looks.It does`nt sweat like a jacket,even a good jacket.Cape and waterproof spats,just wear more under it if its cold.If you can borrow one,
do try it.Its not supposed to be as good when its windy,try that too! Get one that has the loops for your thumbs and a waist strap.As long as your front light is not covered its good.If you can move the light to a lower point on the bike thats even better,led lights make the pot-holes appear black,and avoidable.
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Old 08-24-10, 10:26 AM   #17
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I prefer to get soaked and covered in road grime and use the shower. When it is colder (doesn't rain much below 40F here) I just wear long sleeve baselayer and knee warmers and they get soaked too.
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Old 08-25-10, 08:03 AM   #18
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Rain Cape? More info please!

I have fenders on one of my bikes and I suppose I could start riding that in foul weather. I much prefer the SS. I have clip on fenders for that, but that's more of a racing solution than a commuting one.

I guess I should get the forte kevlar tires for my commuter when I get paid next huh. 32's don't really fit all that well with my fenders. Maybe because they're cross tires. Need to sell the spare set I have. I won't be using them anytime soon. Sigh.

Like I said, I'd much rather not shower if I can avoid it, but I guess I'll have to if I have to. Riding home in soaked clothes doesn't sound like fun. I do have enough space in the office to leave a change of clothes or two. And I don't ride to work in work clothes.
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Old 08-25-10, 08:14 AM   #19
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I use a j&g helmet cover. Also just picked up a showers pass club pro rain jacket, works great. Gore tex REI pants and waterproof hiking boots .Lots of rain this am, this set up works good for me, although I would not wear it above 60 F.
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Old 08-25-10, 02:14 PM   #20
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Umbrella

During this rainy season I had my commuter bikes installed with an umbrella holder. This is not suitable with strong winds. A jacket is still needed when using such attachment.









This attachment is also adaptable during hot sunny conditions.

Last edited by Sancycles; 08-25-10 at 10:27 PM.
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Old 08-25-10, 02:45 PM   #21
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I have the AGU cape,and the carradice waxed cotton cape,hope this helps.
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Old 08-25-10, 03:24 PM   #22
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I wear a WPB safety parka Firengine neon lime with wide reflex bands , and 3 layer GTX trousers. in the winter.

A rain cape is generally a cone shaped thing. long enough to drape over the handlebars, and cover your backside..

with fenders no wheel spray, and lots of ventilation as there is a tent effect behind your arms ..

Campmor in NJ sells one pretty cheap , yellow.. has a hood.

you can get a cheaper one made for all those Chinese riders to use, domestic product .
if you can get one mailed, from there.

Last edited by fietsbob; 08-28-10 at 10:45 AM.
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Old 08-27-10, 08:18 AM   #23
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Can you guys please link to some of this stuff, I've never heard of it before.

And sanscycle. A huge no to the umbrella.
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Old 08-28-10, 06:39 AM   #24
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On days with light drizzle, I put my pants or skirt into a pannier, and wear tights or cycling shorts and a microfiber water repellent jacket on the bike (bright yellow for visibility). On days with heavy rain my better half usually insists on driving me to work, but if he didn't I'd put all my office clothes into the pannier and wear a non-cotton undershirt beneath the rain jacket. I wouldn't stay completely dry with this combination, but there would be enough warmth.
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Old 08-28-10, 10:11 AM   #25
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In Calgary, it rarely rains and stays warm. It can be warm, then rain, then be warm again, but almost always cools dramatically while it is raining. I usually wear full rain jacket and pants with pack cloth overshoes while it is raining noticeably, light showers I sometimes just get damp.

What you wear, depends on the exact weather patterns and your needs. The only thing I would definitely recommend is the fullest coverage fenders that you can fit on the bike. It's not only rain water you're going to get flung up at you......
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