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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 10-20-10, 11:48 AM   #1
nostalgic
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Cycling in the rain

I have not ridden my bicycle in the rain yet. I'm taking the bus today because there is a 60% chance of rain. I'm unsure as to how to ride in the rain, so...

Would it be best to wear a raincoat and poncho? Or what?
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Old 10-20-10, 11:51 AM   #2
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I prefer a cape and spats.you do have fenders? I felt a bit poached in a jacket.Don`t worry more you do it easier it gets.This time next year you won`t even consider the bus ;-).
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Old 10-20-10, 12:20 PM   #3
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Take it a little slower the first few times. Check your brakes occasionally. Wear what you would wear if you were going for a walk in the rain (? except a trenchcoat might not work very well). Have fun!

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Old 10-20-10, 12:52 PM   #4
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Get yourself some good wet weather gear and you won't even notice it's raining. I have a waterproof lighweight rain jacket which keeps out all the rain for the upper half. For the lower half, I have purchased some 3/4 length wet weather shorts. these things are great, they are 100% waterproof and can wear them over my shorts, or if I'm wearing pants I just roll up the legs and problem solved. If I'm commuting, I'll always take a spare change of clothes in my panniers anyway, but normally I'm still dry when I get to work.

Riding in the rain is good fun, embrace it !
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Old 10-20-10, 04:04 PM   #5
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Riding in the rain shouldn't present any serious problems in terms of how the bike handles, but it's a good idea to reduce your speed just a bit and to start braking a little sooner than usual.

The bigger problem is staying cry and staying clean. If you've got fenders on your bike, you'll get wet from the rain, but you won't get that annoying stripe of mud up your back. If you're in an area that gets a lot of rain, then it would make sense to get fenders.

A waterproof jacket and waterproof pants will both help you to keep dry. And on a cold day, the waterproof pants will keep your legs warm because they add an extra layer where the wind can't get through.
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Old 10-20-10, 04:26 PM   #6
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Chill on the speed as mentioned above. I usually wear a wind breaker and thats about it. If i am gonna go somewhere I bring my backpack with a change of clothes in it =) Socks, never forget the socks
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Old 10-20-10, 05:04 PM   #7
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There are a few other points to mention.

First, if you're riding in moderate to heavy rain, it pays to use a light and a safety vest. Rainy days are often heavily overcast, so you'll need to be a little more careful to make yourself stand out.

Also, if there are a lot of fallen leaves on a part of the road, be extremely careful. Wet leaves are deceptively slippery.
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Old 10-20-10, 05:29 PM   #8
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I'd start by wearing something you already have. If you find yourself getting too wet or sweaty you can find something better for the job later. Try going for a ride in the rain when you don't have to be anywhere in particular so you can get a feel for it. Though I think the best way is just ride to work when its not raining and get caught in the rain on the way home. Its good motivation to ride in the rain when you want to go home!

If you have something rain coat like I'd go for that over a poncho. I've found a rain-cape poncho picks up like a sail and billows if it is at all windy out making it hard to shoulder check etc. Especially if its lightweight.
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Old 10-20-10, 08:04 PM   #9
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Rain is one of the few times I avoid using bikes around here. It is not the bike itself I am worried about, it is the drivers that are not used to driving cars in the rain. This can be a very dangerous time to be on a bike.
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Old 10-20-10, 09:12 PM   #10
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I wear a cape in heavy rain, but bear in mind it slows you down since it is not aero, and it can lead to you being blown around a bit on gusty days. I find it is hard to keep it over your gloves so they may get soaked. It has an internal waist tie so it doesn't float up. One time I forgot to tie it and it came up like Marilyn Monroe's skirt on the subway grate.

I don't like rain pants because they are sweaty and the cape provides better ventilation.

I can't get away with just a rain jacket since a lot more rainwater hits the front of your thighs when you are biking compared to walking, as they come up higher than when walking.

The comments about more attention to braking and on the dangers of wet leaves are spot on.

Even with a cape and fenders I still get soaked feet, but I always have a full change of clothes including socks and shoes stashed at work.

Last edited by cooker; 10-20-10 at 09:19 PM.
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Old 10-20-10, 09:21 PM   #11
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One time I forgot to tie it and it came up like Marilyn Monroe's skirt on the subway grate.
lol
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Old 10-20-10, 09:32 PM   #12
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I think its important to make a distinction between cold and warm rain. What city is the OP from? I started riding in cold rain in Sacramento CA. It only rains in the winter there. In Sacramento I wore a full rain jacket with pit vents, rain pants, and gaiters.
Now that I live in Seoul where the winters are dry but the summers bring in the monsoons I don't wear anything special. Its so humid in the summer here that I just wear fast dry cloths in the summer to help deal with sweat. When it rains I just get soaking wet, even on my way into work, and then change into dry clothes when it get there. If I wore a rain jacket in the summer here I would end up soaked and selling of sweat rather than just being wet.
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Old 10-21-10, 12:10 AM   #13
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Like Newspaperguy, I live in a fairly wet, cool climate, so it makes sense to use fenders, rain pants and a rain coat. I tried a poncho, and I found it to be extremely impractical on a bike. Goretex fabrics are expensive, but they breathe, and are well worth the extra money if you get rained on a lot. In very warm weather, any kind of rain gear is probably not a good idea; in temps above 65 F, getting soaking wet without rain gear is still way more comfortable than getting overheated in a rain suit and getting soaking wet from sweat anyway.

If this sounds a lot less comfortable than a car, it is. But it's a lot more fun, and over distances of 5 miles or less, probably faster.
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Old 10-21-10, 08:38 AM   #14
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Take it a little slower the first few times. Check your brakes occasionally. Wear what you would wear if you were going for a walk in the rain (? except a trenchcoat might not work very well). Have fun!
Yes. Riding in the rain is not at all bad except the wet feet. I rode in the rain the other day and enjoyed it because the air was clearing and the temperatures were mild.
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Old 10-21-10, 08:47 AM   #15
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In very warm weather, any kind of rain gear is probably not a good idea; in temps above 65 F, getting soaking wet without rain gear is still way more comfortable than getting overheated in a rain suit and getting soaking wet from sweat anyway.
That's where a rain cape is useful. It breathes extremely well It keeps your gloves and everything above the knees pretty dry. I use it above 65F because we frequently get sudden, torrential rains, which can cool you off pretty quickly and make things very miserable. In colder weather, especially below 50F, the pants and jacket are probably better.
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Old 10-21-10, 11:58 AM   #16
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In these discussions of foul weather cycling, I'm always aware that what mainly stops people is psychologhical rather than physical. Over the last century, we have brainwashed ourselves into believing that being outdoors in rain or snow is bad or uncomfortable.
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Old 10-21-10, 12:00 PM   #17
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Yes. Riding in the rain is not at all bad except the wet feet. I rode in the rain the other day and enjoyed it because the air was clearing and the temperatures were mild.
For wet feet it depends on how heavy the rain is. Waterproof booties that go over your shoes (including cycling shoes) work well but bear in mind enough time in heavy rain you still may get wet feet. Poor man's booties are plastic grocery bags over your socks under your shoes so your feet stay dry even though your shoes don't.

For moderate rain if you keep a spare pair of shoes at work then just ride in whatever and change your shoes at work.
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Old 10-21-10, 12:04 PM   #18
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For wet feet it depends on how heavy the rain is. Waterproof booties that go over your shoes (including cycling shoes) work well but bear in mind enough time in heavy rain you still may get wet feet. Poor man's booties are plastic grocery bags over your socks under your shoes so your feet stay dry even though your shoes don't.

For moderate rain if you keep a spare pair of shoes at work then just ride in whatever and change your shoes at work.
Another way to go is with gore-tex shoes. You can get these in hiking boots or all-terrain running shoes. Both work well for everyday cycling.

I do like to keep a pair of shoes at work like you suggest.
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Old 10-21-10, 12:47 PM   #19
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Everyone knows I don't care for cycling in the rain. I Care even less for cycling in the snow and can’t even picture why anyone would cycle in ice. Yes I know they do but playing the semantics card for Roody I don’t think we are brainwashed because even dogs seek shelter from the rain. We just have the ability of making it “less uncomfortable” by using proper gear.

I have enjoyed riding this year even more than I did last year even if I am almost 2000 miles short of my mileage last year. So when we got our first reasonable rain storm this week I have been playing hide and seek with the rain all week. I finally broke down and asked a bike guru friend of mine from Seattle what I should carry if I plan on riding in the rain at all. He has given me some valid suggestions and has even talked me into some short night riding, another pleasure some enjoy far more than I do but I now sport a 150 watt nightrider.

Thank goodness we don’t get much rain a year but to follow Roody’s suggestion about shoes I would have to change pedals even on my MTB. Everything I ride now has clip-less pedals and the MTB has egg beaters. I have to go with covers or switch to platform pedals.
So a rain jacket, rain pants or shorts, shoe covers and full fingered gloves will do the trick where I live. It is still not as comfortable and not being exposed to the rain in the first place but it will allow me to ride if I must get somewhere and I don’t want to drive.
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Old 10-21-10, 02:06 PM   #20
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In the end, riding in the rain is about attitude. If you look at it as a hardship, it's going to be a hardship. If you see it as just another riding condition, it will be a lot easier. And if you choose to embrace the rainy weather and welcome it, you might find a ride in the rain can be quite pleasant.

One of the best rides I've ever had has been in a heavy rainstorm. Each time a car passed me, I felt sorry for the people inside because they were missing out on the experience.
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Old 10-21-10, 04:02 PM   #21
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In the end, riding in the rain is about attitude. If you look at it as a hardship, it's going to be a hardship. If you see it as just another riding condition, it will be a lot easier. And if you choose to embrace the rainy weather and welcome it, you might find a ride in the rain can be quite pleasant.

One of the best rides I've ever had has been in a heavy rainstorm. Each time a car passed me, I felt sorry for the people inside because they were missing out on the experience.
Poetic. But through all of recorded history I guess those looking out from the protection of their cave, TV, Igloo or other shelter on those standing, walking or riding in the rain as the ones to feel sorry for. That is one of the reasons we have rain gear, to protect us from the rain. I can remember being caught out over night several times and trying to sleep under a tree, or worse yet out in the open, when it was raining and no matter how much I could have or would have embraced the rain I couldn’t sleep. However inside a tent, camper shell, trailer or hut I can sleep just fine.
So don’t worry about those of us inside while you are riding outside, we aren’t interested in joining you.
But I guess it is easier to make lemonade with the extra liquid from the rain when you are trying to encourage someone else.
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Old 10-21-10, 05:24 PM   #22
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In these discussions of foul weather cycling, I'm always aware that what mainly stops people is psychologhical rather than physical.
Yep. I always dread going out for a ride when it's raining, and I'm always glad I did.
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Old 10-21-10, 05:43 PM   #23
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Poetic. But through all of recorded history I guess those looking out from the protection of their cave, TV, Igloo or other shelter on those standing, walking or riding in the rain as the ones to feel sorry for. That is one of the reasons we have rain gear, to protect us from the rain. I can remember being caught out over night several times and trying to sleep under a tree, or worse yet out in the open, when it was raining and no matter how much I could have or would have embraced the rain I couldn’t sleep. However inside a tent, camper shell, trailer or hut I can sleep just fine.
So don’t worry about those of us inside while you are riding outside, we aren’t interested in joining you.
But I guess it is easier to make lemonade with the extra liquid from the rain when you are trying to encourage someone else.
So I guess you profess to know exactly what everyone, throughout recorded history, has thought about being out in the rain? I think you might be over generalizing just a tiny bit there guy.

For me personaly, I find that I don't enjoy the transition from being dry to being wet. I think that is what a lot of people don't like, though I wont claim to "know." Once I am wet then I hardly even notice that I am riding in the rain. The drying out part at work is actually kinda fun too.
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Old 10-21-10, 05:46 PM   #24
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I guess Robert is such a sweety he will melt in the rain.
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Old 10-21-10, 06:32 PM   #25
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I love riding on a warm, sunny day, but some of my best rides have been in rain and on snowy roads. If I restricted my riding to what some here would consider good cycling weather, I wouldn't have that many days on my bike. I'd have to get off when it's hot or cold or windy or rainy, but those days are all part of the more complete experience of riding a bike.

It is possible to have days when it's not good to be out on a bike, but those are usually the days when it's not good to be in a car either.
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