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Winter Cycling Don't let snow and ice discourage you this winter. The key element to year-round cycling is proper attire! Check out this winter cycling forum to chat with other ice bike fanatics.

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Old 01-25-08, 04:46 PM   #1
jliu33
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Riding in the rain?

I have been trying to ride to school everyday in the rain. I've worn waterproof jackets and all that, but I still am never able to make it all the way without getting soaked. On top of that, by bike sits out and gets wet while I'm in class, so that makes it even worse on the ride home. I was just wondering how anyone else manages a rainy ride?
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Old 01-25-08, 07:16 PM   #2
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Here's my solution from riding in Oregon and Alaska. Don't wear clothes in the rain. Or actually wear as few as possible. I usually just have a tee-shirt and shorts with a pancho over them. Arms and legs are bare except for shoes obviously. Your exposed limbs will get soaked but are about 100 times easier to dry off with a handy rag than clothes are.

As far as your bike there are covers available.
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Old 01-25-08, 08:16 PM   #3
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I go the other way, towards full coverage. I got a Patagonia Rain Shadow jacket, which has a hood I can pull up over my helmet. I also got Rain Shadow pants, and they are seriously waterproof! I have to shake myself off like a dog before I come inside, bc the water is just shedding off my coat. I also got a cheap pair of automotive safety goggles to keep the rain out of my eyes. As far as the bike goes, can you find a covered spot to stash it? Otherwise, maybe put a plastic shopping bag over the seat, and then when you get home, dry the bike off and oil it. Bikes love attention...
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Old 01-25-08, 08:48 PM   #4
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Well, fenders are a good start.

Winter rain? You can stay warm by wearing stuff like merino wool and neoprene even if you're getting soaked. A nice weatherproof backback/pannier/messenger bag to keep a change of clothes and you should be all good.
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Old 01-25-08, 08:49 PM   #5
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I always bring a change of clothes on those days.I find that most rainwear are good at keeping moisture out as well as keeping it in.Doesn't breathe well enough.You might be getting soaked by your own sweat(!).Just remember that wool still insulates when it's wet.I wear an appropriate coat(for the temps gonna be dealing with)and a wool sweater or two underneath with a t-shirt.Knowing full well that all will be soaked by the time I get there.Just hang them somewhere to dry for the day.
As for the bike,all you really need to cover is the seat.A plastic bag and an elastic will take care of that.

Last edited by raleighrider75; 01-26-08 at 01:23 AM.
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Old 01-25-08, 11:24 PM   #6
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Raleighrider has it right. The first thing you need to do is figure out if you're wet because of the rain, or if you're wet because of your own sweat. If its the rain, then you've got a leak somewhere. Find it and patch it. If it's sweat, then you're wearing too much for the work you're doing. Getting a good wicking base layer would be a good step. Using rainwear that's vented will also improve your situation.

Personally, I wear a complete SmartWool base layer (shirt, tights, and socks) under J&G Cyclewear raingear. The smartwool wicks the sweat away from my skin pretty well, and the vented jacket and pants let me adjust my airflow to the outside temperature.
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Old 01-26-08, 09:30 AM   #7
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I've always thought that 30-40 degrees and cold rain is the most difficult condition to ride in. I haven't found a way to stay comfortable for long distances. Either I dress for the temperature and get wet from the rain, or I get wet from sweating under my "waterproof" clothing.

With rain, as with any other foul condition, layering is the key. Wear clothes that you plan to get wet, but keep you warm (materials such as wool), then bring a spare set of clothes, or two spare sets, for the trip home.
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Old 01-26-08, 11:44 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by jliu33 View Post
I have been trying to ride to school everyday in the rain. I've worn waterproof jackets and all that, but I still am never able to make it all the way without getting soaked. . . . I was just wondering how anyone else manages a rainy ride?
As it turns out, there is an earnest conversation up in the Commuting folder that was started by a Northwest commuter. These folks live with the wet every day. Hear them.
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Old 01-26-08, 05:12 PM   #9
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I can stay dry from the outside with waterproof "breathable" materials. But, the harder I ride, the more I sweat and I haven't found a product that will keep me dry from the rain and still "breath" quickly enough to keep me from arriving wet from sweat. It's just something I deal with. I get to work 10-15 minutes early, dry off with a towel, and sit in front of the fan for a few minutes before I change into work clothes.

I guess the only solution to arriving dry is to pedal slower...don't sweat. That can be tough if your route includes some hills to climb. The best waterproof "breathable" jacket I've heard of are the ones made by showerspass.
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Old 01-27-08, 12:31 AM   #10
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And park your bike out of the rain. If you can't, put a plastic bag over your seat while your in class all day.
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Old 01-27-08, 01:33 PM   #11
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Watch for hypothermia in the rain. Water carries away body heat 70 times faster than air of the same temperature. +40 degrees with rain is probably as dangerous as -40 degrees with dry air.
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Old 01-28-08, 12:50 PM   #12
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You know, I may be crazy but the human skin is in fact breathable AND waterproof. Try it my way and see if you like it. I'm telling you I drove through vertical lakes of water in Eugene for many years and this is the best way to do it. No covering on legs or arms, and bring a towell in the backpack.
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Old 01-28-08, 01:09 PM   #13
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Watch for hypothermia in the rain. Water carries away body heat 70 times faster than air of the same temperature. +40 degrees with rain is probably as dangerous as -40 degrees with dry air.
Word.
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Old 01-28-08, 01:18 PM   #14
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Well, fenders are a good start.
+1

To the original poster -- do you have fenders? Start there; it will help keep the total amount of "wet" you're dealing with down to something more manageable.
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Old 01-29-08, 09:21 PM   #15
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Thanks, I think I'll try Cosmoline's idea of wearing less clothes under a poncho, and bringing a towel. It will definitely be cold, but I am commuting in California, so it is not too bad at all. That would be better than sitting in class with wet clothes or probably sweaty (Thanks Raleighrider). I also really like the idea of getting some new fenders.

Last edited by jliu33; 01-29-08 at 09:36 PM.
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