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  1. #1
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    Is there gear for making riding in the rain a joy?

    I usually don't ride my bike in the rain, but sometimes you just have to (like on a extended tour). Do some of you ride regularly in the rain. What kind of rain gear do you use. Does anyone have experience with the rain poncho that connects to handlebars as you ride (I saw this on Adventure Cycling Website). It looks like a good idea, but I wonder. Thanks for your time.
    Rob

  2. #2
    bicycleroadie bicycleroadie's Avatar
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    I too am interested in raingear. I've read the poncho is only good for a light rain and you MUST have fenders. IF the rain is heavy, it is said the spray from the underside gets you as wet as without a poncho. So far the consenses is lightwight, water resistant, and lots of venting. We sweat more than "breathable" fabrics can disapate. I've heard rain pants are aways taken on trips, but hardly ever worn. Rain jackets must have a tail even though your panner / fender divert the up-spray.

  3. #3
    cut my gas use in half Jessica's Avatar
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    How active you are (how much you sweat) and how long you are riding make a big difference. For me, rain pants are my second layer, and I wear a water resistant top over my shirt. I figure I will be damp in spots, but if I am warm enough I don't care. I always change clothes when I arrive or stop riding. dry clothes are a must, as dampness and lowering body temp due to reduced exercise SUCK.
    And I am sure there are other choices I haven't thought of, yet...

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    Fenders are always recomended for riding on wet roads. A helmet peak will keep rain off glasses.
    In warm rain, just get wet.
    In cool rain a lightweight, well ventelated gortex style jacket for the upper, over a wicking jersey.
    In colder conditions, rainpants and waterproof booties or socks (plastic bags in an emergency). Doing an alpine descent in the rain, even in summer can get really cold. I always stash some full length gloves.
    Once you start riding in the rain, its easier to keep going than to stop. As long as you are not cold or hungry you just keep pedaling. Don't forget to drink.
    Drying stuff can be a problem. Gortex can lose its surface beading over time and soak up water. It loses its breathability and takes ages to dry. I found Pertex to be much faster drying (+ lighter and cheaper) so use pertex pants.
    You need to keep all your stuff in plastic bags. The only waterproof panniers are canoe-bag style (like Ortliebs).
    Keep your map in a bag.

  5. #5
    Quietly Desperate Kodama's Avatar
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    Attitude is what makes any sort of riding a joy, and I find when I'm on tour my attitude is automatically improved

    That being said, I can't imagine touring w/o fenders - an absolute necessity, since as you mention you can't predict rain on the tour. Anyway, my last tour it rained most days and I had a great time. Apart from fenders, I had a mid priced REI rain jacket, shell pants and the Arkel waterproof covers on my panniers. I also kept my clothes/food/etc in waterproof stuff sacks I bought at REI. No water got in my panniers, but the stuff sacks helped to carry stuff to the tent and such.
    "The true traveller is without goal, it is the absence of goals which creates the ultimate traveller."
    - Gao Xingjian 'Soul Mountain'

  6. #6
    Will Pedal for Pie!
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    Rain can be a blessing and relief from endless days high temps and sun. Each extreme makes you happy the weather changes either way, so attitude, as already stated, is the key. Enjoying what you have and making the best of it.

    That said,:
    If it rains and you ride you will get wet! No rain gear can keep you dry, you can only, and must keep body warm. Gortex doesn"t breath worth a dang unless you stay absolutely still and not even then once humidity levels reach certain levels. I've owned several gortex and best thing that ever happened was they melt when someone stuck them too close to campfire!

    Like winter travel, you layer up and keep something dry to put on when you get too cold. I thank the German companies for Ortlieb's that I have the good sense to purchase about 8 years and 40,000 miles ago. As in backpacking, keping your feet dry is most important, booties and/or a good old plastic bag over your socks between the shoes is amazingly efficient and easy to come by.

    I wear Bell-weather pants for cold and in rain, they have front panels that shed light rain and still keep you warm when saturated. Good gloves are a must, keep the extremeties warm at all cost, the rest of you will get by. A wind breaker with polypro undershirt and a silk shirt in combination, in heavy rain and cold day is very efficient, light weight, will dry quickly and easy to pack away. I save the rain jacket for over dry clothes at a rest stop when out of the rain. A rain coat will keep more moisture inside than the rain on the outside! Cheap and colorful rayon shirts at second hand store make go0d subs for silk and you can toss em when your done and didnt have to spend 50 bucks a pop!

    Fenders are to some, superfluous, but when it rains they are worth the extra few ounces for three reasons. They will shed the water that otherwise would soak you and your gear and more importantly they keep all the wet sand from the road off your front and rear derailluers and chain. Zefals (plastic) can be attached and cut off a bit on the ends to loose a few ounces, not hinder performance and that way they wont catch on a curb when you wheel the bike over one!

    Good glasses to keep eyes clear is essential.

    Riding in rain can be fun, expecially when a good tail wind comes up and pushes you along ahead of a storm. I have clocked some of my best touring speeds on flat land with a storm pushing me across the New Mexico desert!

    You're brakes and wheel rims become saturated and your stopping power will be severly limited if you hit the downhills or flats in the rain, and water will slick up the oils on the road too.

    Worse than getting wet and loosing body temp is visibility. If it becomes foggy and down pour is heavy, vehicles cant see you very well, if at all and worse, they dont expect you to be on the road in bad times.

    So, it can be fun, dangerous, exhilirating, a free shower if you break out the soap and time the down-pours correctly, and add to your adventure, and best done when you
    dont have much of a choice, otherwise hit the pub for beer and burgers and pedal off the calories when the rainbow comes out!

    Oh! and last but not least. Rain Okay! Lightening BAD!

    MJ

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    Juneau Alaska gets lots of rain. The people I know who ride all year around, regardless of weather, use rain suits of some type.

    I am not real interested in full rain suits as I generate a fair amount of body heat while riding. Sweating inside a waterproof suit (even Goretex) becomes a real issue for me. A long time ago, we settled on rain capes (not really ponchos). They are conical and either have an attached hood, or no hood and a cowl neck opening with a drawstring. There is usually some method of tying them around the waist inside, and thumb loops to keep the cape over the hands.

    My preference is for NO HOOD since with a hood, turning you head in traffic is nearly impossible to do safely. We use capes with no hood and add a waterproof helmet cover. This allows easy head turning with no blocked visibility.

    This is what we use for tours. Check out http://www.bicycleclothing.com/
    Our color choice is bright yellow.

    Since we both wear glasses (My wife has no choice, though I can get by without), we have opted for helmets with visors. Thus, the helmet covers are their long versions that will also cover the visors. The combo helps keep the glasses less rain speckled.

    The helmet covers have the advantage of also providing some warmth on cool days when using one of the modern well ventilated helmets.

    Spray up under the capes has never been a problem we've noticed. The ventilation of a cape means even _I_ do not sweat unduly under the rain covering. The feet are a bit exposed and will get wet, some, as might the legs. You gotta have fenders. If you're worried about spray onto your feet, you can make your own mudflaps or sdee is you can find covers for your shoes. We have not bothered with that, wearing tights if necessary for warmth when wet. The feet don't seem to get too wet for comfort. We are also not above deciding to put off riding if it is too rainy for fun.

    Here is one person's mudflap solution: http://www.phred.org/~alex/bikes/fendermudflap.html

    Mike
    Juneau Alaska

  8. #8
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Burley makes a nice rain jacket. I also have their helmet cover.
    My rain pants are ok, but I don't think
    they are anything special.

  9. #9
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    Mountain Equipment Co-op makes rain pants called Cyclone tights that seem to be pretty rightous. Stretchy not so tights with brushed inside, work really well, also breathe and dry out quickly when it stops raining - you feel dry, not clammy.

    But when you ride in the rain you need to embrace the wet.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelW
    Fenders are always recomended for riding on wet roads. A helmet peak will keep rain off glasses.
    In warm rain, just get wet.
    In cool rain a lightweight, well ventelated gortex style jacket for the upper, over a wicking jersey.
    In colder conditions, rainpants and waterproof booties or socks (plastic bags in an emergency). Doing an alpine descent in the rain, even in summer can get really cold. I always stash some full length gloves.
    Once you start riding in the rain, its easier to keep going than to stop. As long as you are not cold or hungry you just keep pedaling. Don't forget to drink.
    Drying stuff can be a problem. Gortex can lose its surface beading over time and soak up water. It loses its breathability and takes ages to dry. I found Pertex to be much faster drying (+ lighter and cheaper) so use pertex pants.
    You need to keep all your stuff in plastic bags. The only waterproof panniers are canoe-bag style (like Ortliebs).
    Keep your map in a bag.
    Great post.

    Just as another suggestion -- carry a couple of pairs of either food preparers gloves or thin latex gloves. Wear them under your normal gloves. They provide a *windproof* barrier. Wind (either headwind or just movement of the rider through the air) is the killer in wet weather. Latex gloves saved my bacon on a recent 1200km randonnee when we had around 15 hours of rain and wind and ...

  11. #11
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    Fenders, a hemet cover, saddle cover, shoe covers (if it's cold) and a neat cycle parka made from eVent material. eVent is an improvement over Gortex (now that the patent has expired) and is very common in Europe I understand. It's as waterproof as the tripple-layer Gortex garment (the thinnest & most breathable), but more breathable. The Century Jacket Elite http://showerspass.com/ is as good quality as any backpacking or canoe tripping parka I've used, but for less money. It has very intelligently designed adjustable venting and folds very compactly.

    Al

  12. #12
    I ride my bike Revtor's Avatar
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    Riding in the rain a joy?? I dont know if I can recommend something to that extent, but. . .
    I used a rain cape (from Campmor) this summer on my rainy tour and was fully satisfied with it. I had full fenders, and kept two plastic grocery bags tucked under my seat for the sudden rainstorms. (rain, not spray from my wheels was getting my feet wet) I use shoes and toe clips, so I just put the bags over my shoes, tuck them into my socks, get back into my clips and away I go with dry feet. The cape keeps you as dry or dryer as anything else id imagine. (upper body fully dry, legs 75% dry. A tiny bit of rain runs down your neck) Sure, trucks flying by will cause the cape to flap and flutter, but this was the only negative I can remember. (and I wasnt supposed to be on that road anyway : ) I did like how it was open on the bottom and kept me well ventilated, a definite plus. I hooked the loops around my brake lever hoods up front and there are loops inside for your legs to keep it against your back and bottom.. Mine has a hood, but I kept it tucked inside since it was more of a pain in the ass to use and kept my glasses foggy..
    Stows into its own little sack, hi vis yellow, easier to don then rain pants/jacket, and can be used as a regular rain poncho..

    fully tested and recommended.

    ~Steve

    Oh yeah, and it makes riding in the rain a joy too!! ; ) Actually, buying something and then using it and being completely happy with your choice makes ME happy, rain or shine!! same goes for my $5 toys-r-us Compass/bell combo that kept me going in the right direction when I had no clue where I was and no maps (suburb of Montreal), and when it was completely overcast and I didnt have the sun to guide me..

  13. #13
    Senior Member jnoble123's Avatar
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    One item of gear that I absolutely love to be wearing during a hot, summertime rainstorm is a pair of clipless sandals. There's something incredibly nice about warm rain splashing up from the road on to your feet.

    I use Shimano sandals and they don't seem to suffer any from water damage.

    ~Jamie N
    www.bicycletouring101.com

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    i am new in the buisnes, i am riding now in south chile and rain here is comon .
    the first rainy day was realy hard for me it was very cold mainly in the hands.
    i bought in argentina a simple rain caps its a simple plastic blanket with a place to the had
    and its cover me and the whill so the hands r dry
    its cost me less then 5$ and realy improved my rain riding
    hope i helped
    Irad

  15. #15
    Will Pedal for Pie!
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    [QUOTE=jnoble123]One item of gear that I absolutely love to be wearing during a hot, summertime rainstorm is a pair of clipless sandals. There's something incredibly nice about warm rain splashing up from the road on to your feet.

    I use Shimano sandals and they don't seem to suffer any from water damage.


    Hey Jamie, Shimano sandals are what I wear for touring cycling, exclusively since the day they put them on the market. Have used up 4 pair so far and 1 paired had resoled as a hiking shoes. Pair of sock and booties for the rain, no worries!
    MJ
    Last edited by chieftwonuneez; 01-04-05 at 04:58 PM.

  16. #16
    A New Creation! Ritz's Avatar
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    Yeah, there is... it's called a car! Sponsor Me In The BP MS 150
    "That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the de@d , you will be saved." Romans 10:9 NIV

    VIVA LA PANTS!

  17. #17
    Senior Member jnoble123's Avatar
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    I tend to tour with my sandals a lot too. I still carry a second pair of mountain biking shoes for those days when I need to pressure points to be in a different position or when I want another warmer option. Of course since people wear sandals in the winter too I suppose I should be considering taking a goretex sock along instead (or perhaps my latest christmas present, a pair of battery heated socks!).

    I definately recommend sandals for touring. Very nice indeed!

    ~Jamie N
    www.bicycletouring101.com

  18. #18
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    It all seems to be covered here, so I wont go into my version of how I keep dry & warm. The only bit of advise I can give is to wear a peak cap under your helmet, this keeps the water right out of your eyes, especially if you keep the tilt down slightly. Altura also do an exclent overshoes, keep your feet bone dry & warm, as for the top I have a North Face jacket & bottoms, almost a wet suite, the jacket has zipped vents to allow for air circulation. Seem to me you can either have total waterproof at the price of breathabillity, or total breathabillity at the price of waterproofing. The choice of which one to go for depends on the touring you intend to do & climate.

  19. #19
    A New Creation! Ritz's Avatar
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    Sorry, I was just kidding about the car! I'm not sure if anything can make riding in the rain a JOY, but like all the other posters have said, there's a lot that can make it more tollerable.
    "That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the de@d , you will be saved." Romans 10:9 NIV

    VIVA LA PANTS!

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