Sharing the Road with U2!
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: North America -- USA -- Midwest -- Iowa -- Des Moines
Bikes: Lemond Tourmalet and a Trek 4500 for Winter Commuting and Trail riding
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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!