Thanks to tips culled from these forums, I had a pleasant commute into work today in rainy conditions. I only have to go 1.5 miles each way, but if I had to go longer, I would have been just fine. Very encouraging ride, and I thought I'd share some thoughts.
Conditions: 57° and rain. Winds SW at 5-10 mph. 93% humidity.
Gear: Wool socks and sandals ROCK! Initially, I had some cotton socks on under my sandals. Thought better of it and put on a pair of Rebel Ingenius socks. Best part of my ride today was how comfortable my feet were before, during, and after the commute. You Seattle folks got this right, and I thank you. 57° isn't stinging cold, but I could probably go down to 45°-50° and still be comfy. The rest of me was dry thanks to my fenders. A definite must have for rainy days.
I wore an old waterproof, "breathable" top from my hiking gear today. I was dry from the rain, but sweaty at the end of the ride. Getting a better wind/waterproof jacket from Performance this week. Zip pits would have been nice today.
Put clear lenses on my Rydon glasses. I've done some training rides in light rain with my Rydons and clear lenses. Very, very handy since I don't have to squint my way to work. Fog not a problem today, but on training rides, if I stop or slow (e.g. train crossings), they fog.
Rack and cargo net. Very versatile. I'm comfortable taking my laptop between home and work. However, I need a waterproof bag or pannier. The messenger bag I use won't do in the rain.
I'm committed to riding as much as possible during this winter in order to prepare for and enjoy the actual riding season next year. Hoping to build some base miles in the next few months so I can hit the ground running when it warms up again.
One question though for when it finally gets cold, say sub 40°. What are good middle layers to look for? I have plenty of base layers, headwear, footwear, and gloves. I'm getting a good wind/water proof shell this week. Just need the right middle layers.
Thanks to all who have shared their experiences here. Anyone fearful of riding in the rain or other inclimate weather should give it a go. Be safe but enjoy!