Just wondering how people handle the rain... in terms of outerwear. I'm in the Los Angeles area and the weather is starting to get colder and wetter. I'm looking for a lightweight and waterproof jacket that can also be used when its not raining... so no ponchos. Would also be great if it doubles as a 'safety' jacket... bright orange or yellow, but doesn't look ugly.
www.mec.ca had a nice yellow waterproof jacket last year for $70 Cdn. Dont know the price of the matching pants. It had under arm zips for ventilation. Dont bother with fancy high priced 'breathable' materials as they dont make any significant difference in humid conditions. You will also need bootees to keep your feet dry.
I considered the REI Rainshadow, but seems it is not totally waterproof, only "highly water-resistant". It also does not have a hood. If I was only going to use it biking, then I think the Rainshadow is a good choice.
2011 Bianchi Infinito, 2010 Surly Long Haul Trucker
I recently picked up a Gill Traverse jacket and Gill Freedom pants. Seems as soon as I got them, the rain started coming down. Today has been nothing but deep green, yellow, and lots of red spots on the radar. Made it to work and back. So far, I like my jacket and pants, and I'm thoroughly enjoying rainy rides.
I also highly recommend sandals and wool socks. Very, very comfortable at 50-60 degrees today.
EMS has a nice breatheable jacket with hood and pit zips for $79. Marmot Precip basically same jacket for $99 (REI and other places). Performance Bike has a jacket called the Commuter which is yellow and has lots of Illuminite for $139, but it is always on sale and was recently $99. I got a good deal on the REI Spire jacket a few weeks back, $109, now $169. Whichever you get, make sure they have pit zips and a hood.
As far as pants go, get some bicycling specific pants in black. They will work much better for bicycling (tapered legs, longer legs).
All of the above are what I call Fake Tex; not Gore Tex, but 1/2 to 1/3 the price and basically the same from what I've noticed.
I have a 'PA102 PRO ACTION SUIT' in 'orange' that I use on my motorcycle. Absolutely waterproof and breathable at the same time. Have other 'rubberized' suits that are waterproof but sweat me so much I might as well not wear it. Both jacket and pants around $70.00. Website says more but you can find them cheaper elsewhere. I believe the combined wieght of jacket and pants is around 15 ounces. Can hardly tell you have them on they're so lightweight. Try 'em you'll like 'em!
A waterproof that you can wear comfortably in the dry is a rare thing. Even the best Gortex is too clammy. I used mine for wet riding only, and wore a windproof in the dry. This will save wear and tear on your waterproof, and you will be more comfortable.
I'm currently using a jacket by Paramo which is waterproof to mountain-climbing standards, and breathable, but it is too warm for most riders.
North America -- USA -- Midwest -- Iowa -- Des Moines
Lemond Tourmalet and a Trek 4500 for Winter Commuting and Trail riding
It is important for comfortable riding in the rain to have either a breathable helmet cover or a water-resistant breathable light hat (wool) under your helmet that also prevents water from dripping down the back of your neck.
The best raincoat system I found is a 4 year old Burley (Eugene Oregon) standard yellow rain jacket at about 90 bucks. This has vented armpits and back that are crucial top comfort especially when the chilly day starts warming up. One size larger than normal will also allow you to wear one or more layers of thin breathable marino wool sweaters (I find mine at goodwill shops in a variety of sizes.. also see them on ebay). The raincoat also has a fleece-lined collar that prevents rain from pouring inside and a zipper that goes either up or down so you can vent your abs or vent your chest area or just leave the thing open. This coat holds up against the rains quite well and has lots of reflective material on it and Velcro sleeve-ends to fit over a variety of gloves. There is a zippered pocket in the back and two in the front which provide safe haven for cell phones, wallets, etc..
Burley also makes a standard rain paint. I have a similar brand but not as good. The one I have has side pocket-like openings which allow ventilation… but often water gets inside and the leg base is not as tight fitting as I want. So waterproof they can turn into a sauna if NOT left unzipped which defeats their purpose… make sure you buy breathable material!!
Shoes can be covered easily with several booties that vary greatly in price… I am more comfortable wearing bike shoes that have a gripping bottom so prefer to wear Shimano sandals with breathable (but also expensive) waterproof socks such as Danalco's Waterproof socks and gloves (sometimes on ebay) only if it is a predictable and relentless downpour… you can actually stand in a creek and not get wet with these products….
They keep wet and chill out depending on the type sock you buy… of course when it is really cold and wet I wear these with a shoe and will wear covers for long riding when the rains turn to snows and slush….
Most of the time I get by with wool socks in a light mist to medium rain but wear shoes. In the Winter the water and slush are often black with car and road pollution so I will always wear shoes rather than wear fuel-laden/stinkin' wool socks.
A comfortable non-slip pair of bicycling glasses are also a good option. Some have interchangeable coloured lenses that also make a difference in how well you can see during the day and evening… and I always use a helmet light even when I can see so I can aim my head-beam at car drivers!
If it starts to sleet heavily pull over and get a coffee… this is the worst stuff for riding in----slippery roads and painful!