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Tell Me About Bicycle Rain Capes?

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Tell Me About Bicycle Rain Capes?

Old 09-26-14, 07:48 AM
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Tell Me About Bicycle Rain Capes?

I'm looking for a bike raingear solution for my son who is riding his bike to high school daily now, about 5 miles.

For a high school kid, it just isn't appealing to walk into school all sweaty in head to toe rain jacket, pants, booties. So I'm thinking about a bicycle rain cape.

I know there are some knowledgeable rain cape users here. May I please ask:

- What range of speeds does the cape work for? What's the max speed where the cape keeps you dry and doesn't slow you down too much?

- What range of riding positions does the cape work for? He rides a dropbar road bike with 2-3" of saddle to bar drop, but has interrupter levers on the bar tops as well. Can you ride in drops, on hoods, on tops?

- What range of weather nastiness does the cape work for? Is there a level of rain and wind at which you find the cape becomes ineffective?

- Is it true that you don't get all sweaty, riding in the cape?

- What is a decent but inexpensive rain cape? How about this one Rain Capes from People Who Really Know Rain Capes! ? I'm okay with buying him a more expensive one later, but only after he's shown that he'd use it.
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Old 09-26-14, 08:46 AM
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Perhaps on the days he wears rain gear, he can bring a fresh shirt he can change into and even some cologne or body spray.
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Old 09-26-14, 08:48 AM
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It's mostly wind that would concern me. Lots of "sail area." Never tried one, but I've seen others struggling with them. No thanks.
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Old 09-26-14, 02:28 PM
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I don't think I've had a bike cape since I was his age or younger. From what I do remember, yes, it did make me sweat a lot less than a jacket. It had thumb loops so it would stay on my arms. I rode a drop bar bike. I don't remember if I could reach the drops. Probably. Crosswinds are a big concern if you are in a windy area. Is Portland windy? The cape makes a big vertical surface as seen from beside.
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Old 09-26-14, 03:10 PM
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A User not a spectator critic..


Have a Grundens Cycle rain cape I Got From Riv Bike as soon as I saw it.. I live in A Fisheries Town Grundens is Well known
in the Commercial Foul weather gear sector.

Inch in 5 minutes rain squall storm fronts coming off the Ocean, out here I've had to dump the pool in the cape
between my outstretched arms, over the side, several times in a 1/2 mile.

but for the first time my hands on the bars, draped over by the cape have been dry when I get home. in non water proof gloves
(only seamless rubber gloves can be any where near waterproof.)

> But .. I dont use it riding my drop bar bike (dont use the drop bar bike much any way)

& I havent put a battery in any bike computer I own, for 17 years - no speed data--




NB you are no wider under the cape than you are without it ,

its a cone not a rectangle so Mine really doesn't flap .. it wraps around my backside and theres thumb loops under neath in the front..

But thats part because its a heavy welded seam PVC with a nylon backing .. lighter coated nylons may act differently..



My bike has Trekking bars and an IGH with a Grip shifter.. lights are mounted Low so cape never covers them ..


UK Carradice Pro Route cape was brighter [neon lime] , but not as large [friend has 1, he rides a drop bar bike]



CampMor NJ, had a cheaper one than J&G. none left just overshoe booties http://www.campmor.com/Product___50052

And CAT Oregon in Eugene will sew one of theirs Up, JIT.. offer custom options , like a hunch back cut, so you can wear a backpack under it.

Last edited by fietsbob; 09-26-14 at 03:31 PM.
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Old 09-26-14, 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
A User not a spectator critic..


Have a Grundens Cycle rain cape I Got From Riv Bike as soon as I saw it.. I live in A Fisheries Town Grundens is Well known
in the Commercial Foul weather gear sector.

Inch in 5 minutes rain squall storm fronts coming off the Ocean, out here I've had to dump the pool in the cape
between my outstretched arms, over the side, several times in a 1/2 mile.

but for the first time my hands on the bars, draped over by the cape have been dry when I get home. in non water proof gloves
(only seamless rubber gloves can be any where near waterproof.)

> But .. I dont use it riding my drop bar bike (dont use the drop bar bike much any way)

& I havent put a battery in any bike computer I own, for 17 years - no speed data--

NB you are no wider under the cape than you are without it ,

its a cone not a rectangle so Mine really doesn't flap .. it wraps around my backside and theres thumb loops under neath in the front..

But thats part because its a heavy welded seam PVC with a nylon backing .. lighter coated nylons may act differently..

My bike has Trekking bars and an IGH with a Grip shifter.. lights are mounted Low so cape never covers them ..

UK Carradice Pro Route cape was brighter [neon lime] , but not as large [friend has 1, he rides a drop bar bike]

CampMor NJ, had a cheaper one than J&G. none left just overshoe booties http://www.campmor.com/Product___50052

And CAT Oregon in Eugene will sew one of theirs Up, JIT.. offer custom options , like a hunch back cut, so you can wear a backpack under it.
I didn't think about the lights. His lights are on the bar-ends and on his helmet, so far no light on his stem or bar tops.

What is "CAT Oregon"? He does use a bag so extra room would be helpful.

Portland is rainy but not particularly windy. There can be brief windstorms but they last half a day.
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Old 09-27-14, 07:26 AM
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Old 09-27-14, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
A User not a spectator critic..
Another User here, just about to cape-up and ride the town bike to the farmer's market in a steady drizzle.
It's a practical way to get around in the rain and avoid the sauna suit effect in South Central TX.
Bet a free range chicken that I'm only cyclist "braving the weather".



The British know all about riding in the rain, I use a Carradice Pro Route on a mudguard equipped bike.

Good pic here of a blogger:

Raincape Madness

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Old 09-27-14, 09:06 AM
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Used one for years between commuting to college, Puget Sound trips and long distance trips. Worked great. Mine was a fairly sturdy synthetic coated cloth, similar to what was used on framed backpacks. Bright yellow with two finger loops, waist tie and a short zippered collar. I recall pedaling in a downpour outside Harrison Hot Springs in 40 degree air temp and being totally comfortable in a t shirt and cycling shorts. Like traveling in a portable micro climate. Windage was never a problem. Had fenders as well on the bike so I rarely got wet above the ankles but usually always had wet shoes if it rained for any length of time.
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Old 09-27-14, 12:45 PM
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I ordered him a Carradice cape, hopefully he'll like it, and if he doesn't my daughter (who started college in Eugene, another biking town) might use it, or I might.

I also stumbled on a sale for conventional rain jackets, so bought him one of those too. He can compare them.
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Old 09-27-14, 02:39 PM
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I just thought of something. If your thumbs are in loops, how do you extend your arm to the side to signal a turn?
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Old 09-27-14, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by jyl View Post
I just thought of something. If your thumbs are in loops, how do you extend your arm to the side to signal a turn?
Good question. Maybe you can't. But I make most of my signals with my head. Try it.
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Old 09-27-14, 06:18 PM
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I've been using a rain cape for many years. I bought the cycling cap from CampMor but I wasn't able to find it just now.

To answer some of your questions:
- The cape is less sweaty than typical rain gear. I find the contact points (shoulders, back) do sweat a bit. I don't use the hood. That's the worst.
- I typically slow down quite a bit just in case a gust of wind happens.
- I find coverage is better than rain jacket and pants. My shoes don't fill up with water for one thing.
- It's also light to carry, about 8 oz.


On the downside though for a kid it might be too dorky.
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Old 09-27-14, 06:27 PM
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These kids sure do have delicate egos, don't they!
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Old 09-27-14, 06:30 PM
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Silkscreen a "swoosh" on it.
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Old 09-27-14, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by gerv View Post
On the downside though for a kid it might be too dorky.
Yeah... if I was 16... riding my bike to school... a rain cape?

Now that I'm a 44 year old professor (i.e., paid to be a nerd), I really don't care.
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Old 09-27-14, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Ozonation View Post
Yeah... if I was 16... riding my bike to school... a rain cape?
No way to be Cool, unless dad is going to pony up for a Bentley convertible.

So for cycling to school in the wet:

1) Remove soaking Carridice cape in one motion and stash, rider is reasonably dry and sweat free. Ignore wet shoes.

B) Remove rain jacket & pants in a struggle of epic proportions while doing the one-legged moon-dance in public and emerging in a sweat worthy of Saigon in August with wet shoes.

iii) Realize that one is a young cyclist and deal w/ 1) or B) since it's raining and a cyclist commutes in the rain or shine.


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Old 09-27-14, 09:12 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
I don't think I've had a bike cape since I was his age or younger. From what I do remember, yes, it did make me sweat a lot less than a jacket. It had thumb loops so it would stay on my arms. I rode a drop bar bike. I don't remember if I could reach the drops. Probably. Crosswinds are a big concern if you are in a windy area. Is Portland windy? The cape makes a big vertical surface as seen from beside.
I used one on tours in Vermont back in the 80's. Cannondale, I think. Thumb loops and also I recall leg straps - elastic loops that you stepped through, they sat on the upper thighs just below the butt and were stitched to the sides to keep the back and sides of the poncho from flapping. ++ on coverage and non-sweating comfort. ++ on total dork factor.
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Old 09-27-14, 10:20 PM
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I have no experience with rain capes but have been thinking about buying the Electric Houndstooth from Cleverhood so I am glad someone asked this question. Capes just seem to make sense for me for keeping dry. Plus I like that this cape has the reflective thread sewn it. Currently I use the Shower Pass Elite 2.1 rain jacket and after about a year it leaks like a sieve. Would never buy it again. The cape is the same amount of money so that works all right for me. I ride an upright bike so this is where I think the cape will really shine.

To the OP, I hope your son or daughter or you end up liking the cape.
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Old 09-27-14, 10:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Bandera View Post
No way to be Cool, unless dad is going to pony up for a Bentley convertible.

So for cycling to school in the wet:

1) Remove soaking Carridice cape in one motion and stash, rider is reasonably dry and sweat free. Ignore wet shoes.

B) Remove rain jacket & pants in a struggle of epic proportions while doing the one-legged moon-dance in public and emerging in a sweat worthy of Saigon in August with wet shoes.
That is exactly the scenarios I'm thinking of, and 1) seems so much better. Bike rain gear is deeply uncool, I'm informed. A dayglo yellow cape may not be much better, but you can get it off quickly!

The Cleverhood cape with the reflective threads looks great, I think it might even be not grossly uncool. But it is more expensive.
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Old 09-28-14, 07:37 AM
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+1 for a rain cape. It makes you sweat far less than a rain suit or jacket, is easier to put on/take off, really keeps you dry. But fenders are a must, and you shouldn't ride too aggressively.
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Old 09-28-14, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by jyl View Post
I'm looking for a bike raingear solution for my son who is riding his bike to high school daily now, about 5 miles.

For a high school kid, it just isn't appealing to walk into school all sweaty in head to toe rain jacket, pants, booties. So I'm thinking about a bicycle rain cape.

I know there are some knowledgeable rain cape users here. May I please ask:
I have the one from J&G you referenced.

Originally Posted by jyl View Post
- What range of speeds does the cape work for? What's the max speed where the cape keeps you dry and doesn't slow you down too much?
I'm not sure what the max speed I can ride without getting too wet is, but in general, as long the rain isn't accompanied by too much wind, I can ride at a reasonable pace. Probably 12-15mph.

Originally Posted by jyl View Post
- What range of riding positions does the cape work for? He rides a dropbar road bike with 2-3" of saddle to bar drop, but has interrupter levers on the bar tops as well. Can you ride in drops, on hoods, on tops?
I ride with a drop bar bike sometimes too, and it is difficult to change positions. The straps it has for hand holds are too long and your hands end up getting wet unless you grip the cape itself. I usually ride on the hoods with the cape. I'm going slower than normal and need my head up to stay more alert.

Originally Posted by jyl View Post
- What range of weather nastiness does the cape work for? Is there a level of rain and wind at which you find the cape becomes ineffective?
Yes, there is a level of rain where it is ineffective for staying dry. Lots of rain and/or lots of wind usually means I'm getting wet.

Originally Posted by jyl View Post
- Is it true that you don't get all sweaty, riding in the cape?
Not more sweaty than normal.

Originally Posted by jyl View Post
- What is a decent but inexpensive rain cape? How about this one Rain Capes from People Who Really Know Rain Capes! ? I'm okay with buying him a more expensive one later, but only after he's shown that he'd use it.
The J&G one is okay. My biggest complaint is the hand hold straps are really too long to keep my hands dry and makes it difficult to move my hands around.
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Old 09-28-14, 08:16 AM
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Thank you for starting this thread. I'm going to consider one for myself.
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Old 09-28-14, 08:30 AM
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Lived and commuted in Vancouver B.C., CAPE DIEM. A cape rolls up nicely , for those that remember toeclip straps and saddle bags . A very visible idea would be a clear cape with a blinky inside or some programmble message board .
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Old 10-12-14, 11:39 AM
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Got my Carradice rain cape! And next week is supposed to see soaking rain! Excited.
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