Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Commuting
Reload this Page >

I need help dealing with the rain!

Notices
Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

I need help dealing with the rain!

Old 09-03-14, 11:53 AM
  #1  
Jwall0804
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Tacoma, WA PNW
Posts: 16

Bikes: 2011 Specialized Sirrus Elite

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I need help dealing with the rain!

So I am a first time bike commuter and commuted by bike this last spring and summer. I just rode last night in the rain to work and was embarrisingly unprepared. I want to know what is necessary in order to stay dry and get to work safely. I live in Washington where there is rarely a downpour just a constant drizzle all year. I ride a 2011 sirrus specialized elite to commute in and I love that bike. I know I need fenders but what are some other gear that's pretty valuable. Any help on this matter would be greatly appreciated.
Jwall0804 is offline  
Old 09-03-14, 12:01 PM
  #2  
Booger1
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Gaseous Cloud around Uranus
Posts: 3,741
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 35 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 7 Times in 3 Posts
I've found that if you ride in the rain,you get wet.....Either from the inside or the outside,take your pick.

If it's a warm weather storm,I just get wet...If it's a cold weather storm,I get wet and work on staying warm.
Booger1 is offline  
Old 09-03-14, 12:02 PM
  #3  
scroca
commuter and barbarian
 
scroca's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Potomac, MT, USA
Posts: 2,494
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I like my rain jacket with pit zips.
scroca is offline  
Old 09-03-14, 12:07 PM
  #4  
alan s 
Senior Member
 
alan s's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 6,947
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1482 Post(s)
Liked 176 Times in 117 Posts
Originally Posted by Jwall0804 View Post
I want to know what is necessary in order to stay dry and get to work safely. I live in Washington where there is rarely a downpour just a constant drizzle all year.
Let me know when you figure out how to stay dry in the rain. So far, I've only been able to stay warm. As far as safety is concerned, use lights and take it easy on the turns.
alan s is offline  
Old 09-03-14, 12:16 PM
  #5  
gregjones
Senior Member
 
gregjones's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: West Georgia
Posts: 2,823

Bikes: K2 Mod 5.0 Roadie, Fuji Commuter

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 20 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Clear safety glasses to see when the clouds get dark, goggles don't fog when it's cold.
gregjones is offline  
Old 09-03-14, 12:24 PM
  #6  
Jwall0804
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Tacoma, WA PNW
Posts: 16

Bikes: 2011 Specialized Sirrus Elite

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by scroca View Post
I like my rain jacket with pit zips.
Any recommendations on a good rain jacket?
Jwall0804 is offline  
Old 09-03-14, 12:27 PM
  #7  
Jwall0804
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Tacoma, WA PNW
Posts: 16

Bikes: 2011 Specialized Sirrus Elite

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by alan s View Post
Let me know when you figure out how to stay dry in the rain. So far, I've only been able to stay warm.
Do you just change clothes at work? What is your routine to remain presentable at work? I work as a server at a restaurant which is required to have a neat clean uniform.
Jwall0804 is offline  
Old 09-03-14, 12:31 PM
  #8  
scroca
commuter and barbarian
 
scroca's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Potomac, MT, USA
Posts: 2,494
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Jwall0804 View Post
Any recommendations on a good rain jacket?
Mine is years old but this is close to what I have. Patagonia Men's Torrentshell Rain Jacket
scroca is offline  
Old 09-03-14, 12:31 PM
  #9  
jrickards
Senior Member
 
jrickards's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Sudbury, ON, CA
Posts: 2,641

Bikes: 2002 Norco Bigfoot, 2012 KHS Tempe, 1988 Bianchi Strada, 2012 Kona Sutra, 2002 Look AL 384

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 127 Post(s)
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Originally Posted by Jwall0804 View Post
Any recommendations on a good rain jacket?
https://www.showerspass.com/ has some highly recommended ones but they are a bit pricey for my wallet.

When you're riding, you're generating body heat and a good rain jacket will keep the rain out but trap the heat in making you hotter and sweatier. Yes, there are some that permit moisture to cross the barrier (inside to out) but probably not as fast as you're creating it.

As most do here, on wet days, I just get wet but if I'm riding in lower light conditions, I'll don my rain jacket because it is bright and has lots of reflectivity (in addition to riding with lights). I also make sure that my work clothes are well packed so that they don't get wet.
jrickards is offline  
Old 09-03-14, 12:32 PM
  #10  
scroca
commuter and barbarian
 
scroca's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Potomac, MT, USA
Posts: 2,494
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Jwall0804 View Post
Do you just change clothes at work? What is your routine to remain presentable at work? I work as a server at a restaurant which is required to have a neat clean uniform.
Change clothes.
scroca is offline  
Old 09-03-14, 12:33 PM
  #11  
alan s 
Senior Member
 
alan s's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 6,947
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1482 Post(s)
Liked 176 Times in 117 Posts
Originally Posted by Jwall0804 View Post
Do you just change clothes at work? What is your routine to remain presentable at work? I work as a server at a restaurant which is required to have a neat clean uniform.
I always ride in cycling clothes and change at work. My commute doubles as a workout, so I'm usually sweaty no matter what the temperature is outside. Never found rain gear that "breathes" enough to let out moisture and keep out rain, so I get wet from the rain and/or sweat regardless. Suppose I could slow it down a bit to keep cool, but the less time in the rain the better.
alan s is offline  
Old 09-03-14, 12:35 PM
  #12  
Bike Gremlin
Mostly harmless
 
Bike Gremlin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Novi Sad
Posts: 4,176

Bikes: Custom made on Scott Speedster frame, Custom made on a 1996. steel MTB frame (all but frame changed at least once in the past 20 years).

Mentioned: 19 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 994 Post(s)
Liked 46 Times in 31 Posts
Originally Posted by Jwall0804 View Post
So I am a first time bike commuter and commuted by bike this last spring and summer. I just rode last night in the rain to work and was embarrisingly unprepared. I want to know what is necessary in order to stay dry and get to work safely. I live in Washington where there is rarely a downpour just a constant drizzle all year. I ride a 2011 sirrus specialized elite to commute in and I love that bike. I know I need fenders but what are some other gear that's pretty valuable. Any help on this matter would be greatly appreciated.
Stop trying. There is nothing bad, or wrong with getting wet. Soaking wet.

The only bad thing is staying in wet clothes, letting them dry on your body.

My solution is to cycle in synthetic clothes that dry quickly, hang them to let them dry, change to work clothes, then put cycling clothes back on for the ride home. If there was no way of drying clothes at work, I'd just bring 2 pairs of cycling clothes.


Most windproof jackets will keep you warm enough when cycling, even if you get wet. My favourite is hiking trousers, jackets.
Bike Gremlin is offline  
Old 09-03-14, 12:49 PM
  #13  
Jwall0804
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Tacoma, WA PNW
Posts: 16

Bikes: 2011 Specialized Sirrus Elite

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanks everyone for the advice and tips on how to tackle the rain. Changing clothes at work seems like the easiest way to keep my work clothes dry. Also, to be honest it want so bad riding in the rain, just arriving at work with my pants soaked for the first hour was no fun!
Jwall0804 is offline  
Old 09-03-14, 01:36 PM
  #14  
CrankyOne
Senior Member
 
CrankyOne's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 2,373
Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 341 Post(s)
Liked 26 Times in 22 Posts
Unless a really heavy downpour and high winds I stay quite dry. My bike (upright Dutch city bike) has good fenders, spats, and a full chaincase. Often just an umbrella is sufficient though for heavier rain or wind I'll also wear a poncho. I'm also riding on segregated cycleways so there's no spray from cars, trucks, or buses.
CrankyOne is offline  
Old 09-03-14, 02:08 PM
  #15  
matimeo
Senior Member
 
matimeo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Beaverton, OR
Posts: 808

Bikes: It's the motor, not the bike, right?

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 39 Post(s)
Liked 15 Times in 13 Posts
I don't like getting wet, and here in PNW you definitely get more wet from the outside rain than the inner sweat (in rain gear). Even on a really long commute, you can't get any wetter from sweat than from rain. Frankly I don't understand the people that say you should just get wet. On a cold morning and warmer afternoon in which both are wet, you can always take it easy on the way in with you rain gear, and just get wet on the ride home if you want.

I got rain pants that go over the top of regular pants at a Columbia outlet store, and they work well to keep my warm and dry and breathe reasonably well. If it's a little warmer I wear just underwear underneath them. Most of my other rain gear if from local thrift stores. Look for the vented rain shells, and if you get lucky you'll find a gore-tex shell like I did. $10 and I wear it whenever there's a heavier rain. Of course a $5 reflective vest from harbor freight goes on the top. Wear layers of clothing that don't absorb sweat. Most of my shirts are the dri-fit material activewear shirts from Target when they're on clearance for $5.

I haven't bought shoe covers for the rain since most are fairly ineffective. I plan on making some this year by cutting up a cheap rain jacket I got from the thrift store and sewing on some elastic, just to cover the top of the shoe.

Fenders are a must at least 8 months out of the year. I have a rain cover for my helmet, but I rarely use it, since a little rain in the vents keeps my head cool and short hair dries fast when I get to work.

+2 on changing clothes. I do that every day, no matter the weather. I have to dress in slacks, shirt and tie at work, so it's never worth the hassle and discomfort (I did it the first time I rode to work and never again).

My best advice? Make friends with the rain. Embrace it and enjoy the awesomeness of kicking it's butt every time you ride to work. Let the moss grow behind your ears a little and it won't bother you anymore.
matimeo is offline  
Old 09-03-14, 02:21 PM
  #16  
joeyduck
Senior Member
 
joeyduck's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Nanaimo, BC
Posts: 2,014

Bikes: 1997 Kona Hahana Race Light, 2010 Surly LHT(deceased), 1999 Rocky Mountain Turbo

Mentioned: 34 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 86 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
This is so dependent on your ride and goals and available amenities.

I live just up the road and I bike in nearly the same get up year round. I add layers and shoe covers in the rain. Otherwise I have a shower and use it. So I bike fast and hard and prefer to get wet from rain and stay cooler than sweaty and hot wearing a jacket.

My wife on the other hand has a short commute and puts on rain pants and a jacket and pedals leisurely. She has no shower. Sometimes she wipes off with a wet rag.
joeyduck is offline  
Old 09-03-14, 02:23 PM
  #17  
ratell
Senior Member
 
ratell's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 361
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I agree with Matimeo. Here in the northwest you are going to have months of cold rain (the coldest I've been was 45 degrees and raining). It's worth investing in rain gear if you plan to commute year round.
I love the showers pass stuff. Although it's expensive my showers pass jacket is going on 6 years of daily use during the rainy season and still going strong. A cheaper option is one of the rain capes which my wife likes though it can be a bit like a sail when its windy.

I also like the showers pass rain pants, but the rei novara rain pants are a lot cheaper and work fine.
I also use booties because otherwise all the water runs off the pants into your shoes. I like the Pearl Izumi ones, but you could also just wear waterproof shoes of some kind.

Gloves are the toughest. The rain proof ones are expensive and aren't ideal. I have two pair of wool gloves with a windproof liner. I wear one pair in and then ride home with the dry pair giving the first pair time to dry.

Good Luck
ratell is offline  
Old 09-03-14, 02:28 PM
  #18  
rumrunn6
Senior Member
 
rumrunn6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: 25 miles northwest of Boston
Posts: 25,126

Bikes: Bottecchia Sprint, GT Timberline 29r

Mentioned: 104 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3813 Post(s)
Liked 975 Times in 679 Posts
a little mentioned tip is using a clear cheap motel style shower cap over the helmet. it's also useful when the temps drop and you want to regulate your head temperature. it's easy to whip off and stow while riding. being clear it doesn't block your reflective bits. also it doesn't look dorky like other opaque helmet covers.
rumrunn6 is offline  
Old 09-03-14, 03:59 PM
  #19  
Mr.McBeardson
Member
 
Mr.McBeardson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Sometimes Snowy Place
Posts: 28

Bikes: 70's Schwinn Suburban, 70's Schwinn Continental

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I'v been told that a poncho works great (one that doesn't have sleeves) as it allows for air circulation under it to keep you cool. And just in general keeps the rain away from you more than your regular old rain jacket.
Mr.McBeardson is offline  
Old 09-03-14, 04:13 PM
  #20  
ItsJustMe
Seior Member
 
ItsJustMe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Michigan
Posts: 13,749

Bikes: Windsor Fens, Giant Seek 0 (2014, Alfine 8 + discs)

Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 446 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 8 Times in 7 Posts
I just don't mind getting wet as long as the temp is over 55 or so.

Below that I have a vented/breathable J&G jacket that I paid about $100 for. It's lasted years, I wear it all winter as a windbreaker/top layer. bicycleclothing.com

With various things under that, that takes me all the way down to below zero.

Below about 40 I start wearing rain pants as well, from the same source, about $80. Also very long lasting. Above that I just let my legs get wet.

I have booties but I find them a gigantic pain in the ass and I would rather just let my feet get wet than to deal with them.
__________________
Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.
ItsJustMe is offline  
Old 09-03-14, 04:15 PM
  #21  
PaulRivers
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 6,392
Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 506 Post(s)
Liked 25 Times in 23 Posts
Originally Posted by jrickards View Post
https://www.showerspass.com/ has some highly recommended ones but they are a bit pricey for my wallet.

When you're riding, you're generating body heat and a good rain jacket will keep the rain out but trap the heat in making you hotter and sweatier. Yes, there are some that permit moisture to cross the barrier (inside to out) but probably not as fast as you're creating it.

As most do here, on wet days, I just get wet but if I'm riding in lower light conditions, I'll don my rain jacket because it is bright and has lots of reflectivity (in addition to riding with lights). I also make sure that my work clothes are well packed so that they don't get wet.
Yeah, I have a showers pass jacket, it was the best I could find, but around 60 degrees it's ability to "breathe" gets oversaturated I start sweating - if I'm biking hard. If not biking to hard, temp range is higher.

Best I could find for warmer weather was a rain vest - didn't trap as much heat in. Arms got wet, but they dried easier than the rest of the body.
PaulRivers is offline  
Old 09-03-14, 04:31 PM
  #22  
FedericoMena
Senior Member
 
FedericoMena's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico
Posts: 197

Bikes: Viruela, Piccola

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Waterproof shoes are nice. Some people swear by tying plastic bags around regular shoes, but I've never tried that

Mudguards, at least a front one, are *very* nice to have. You'll keep your shoes much dryer, and your chain cleaner.
FedericoMena is offline  
Old 09-03-14, 04:49 PM
  #23  
SlowJoeCrow
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Central Oregon
Posts: 441

Bikes: Redline Conquest Pro, Kona Cinder Cone, Trek Fuel EX8(RIP) Pivot Mach 5 frankenbike

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
Liked 7 Times in 6 Posts
Fenders are critical, waterproof clothing helps a lot. Like a lot of riders I live in the Pacific NW where winters are more wet than cold. In addition to full coverage fenders (Planet Bike Cascadia) I have a Showers Pass rain jacket, rain pants, Endura waterproof gloves, Shimano winter MTB shoes (booties work but shoes are less hassle), and a choice of a waterproof helmet cover, a hood for my jacket or a cap under the helmet to keep my head dry.
For occasional rain protection you put plastic bags over your socks, which keeps your feet dry although your shoes still get soaked. Also rubber gloves can sub for waterproof gloves and watch out for water wicking down legs or sleeves. I once got caught in a hailstorm and ended up with a 1/2" puddle in the bottom of my waterproof shoes from water soaking my tights and running down my legs.
SlowJoeCrow is offline  
Old 09-03-14, 05:18 PM
  #24  
imi
aka Timi
 
imi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Posts: 3,047

Bikes: Bianchi Lupo (touring) Bianchi Volpe (commuter), Miyata On Off Road Runner

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 80 Post(s)
Liked 60 Times in 47 Posts
I need help dealing with the rain!

Lights and hi-viz clothing
imi is offline  
Old 09-03-14, 05:19 PM
  #25  
jralbert
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 143
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Well, I just finished buying a fully-waterproof coat (Showers Pass Elite 1.0), pants (Gore-Tex Path), gloves (Showers Pass hard-shell), and SPD boots (Northwave Celsius Gore-Tex). Winter is coming; that rain ain't gettin' any warmer. Other people can maybe handle just getting wet, but I need to spend an hour on the bike each way, and I'd freeze even in early-autumn rain, never mind what it's gonna be like in January. I rode through the last winter without proper rain gear; I won't make that mistake again!
jralbert is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.