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Car Free - preparing for the rainy season

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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.

Car Free - preparing for the rainy season

Old 08-06-09, 09:29 PM
  #1  
techman
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Car Free - preparing for the rainy season

My car died in April and I decided to remain car free as long as I can.
I lost a ton of weight that I don't wan't to gain back.
But here in the San Francisco bay area, the rainy season will start in about a month.
Commuting to work is easy, because I can just shower and change when I get to work or back home.
But what about those days off when you want to ride to meet a friend for lunch or run some errands.
Do you just tolerate walking into restaraunts and stores soaking wet?
Please provide some advice and gear recommendations for protecting my clothes
and even my feet from getting soaked on rides in the rain.
Thanks
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Old 08-07-09, 06:10 AM
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For me it depends on the situation. I have rain pants and jacket. But sometimes in a downpour I carry extra shoes and clothes and arrive a little early to do a full change at the destination. After the change you look like you just got out of the shower- which you did.

The rain usually feels clean and refreshing once I get going. The worst thing is the spray from cars which seems filthy. If you're riding on arterial roads and especially if you pass construction sites you and your bike will get dirty.
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Old 08-07-09, 07:17 AM
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Get fenders, they will keep your bike sooooo much cleaner in the rain. Also get waterproof pants and a good rain jacket. I also typically ride with sandals then either keep them on or put shoes on. If you are worried about your hair you can wear your hood of your jacket up then put your helmet on top.
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Old 08-07-09, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by techman View Post
But what about those days off when you want to ride to meet a friend for lunch or run some errands.
Do you just tolerate walking into restaraunts and stores soaking wet?
Please provide some advice and gear recommendations for protecting my clothes
and even my feet from getting soaked on rides in the rain.
Thanks
If you have rain gear, you can just take some of it off when you arrive at your location. I travel with a rain poncho, so it's easy to get all the rain gear off. The poncho doesn't however provide the most complete coverage, but it is convenient to carry for emergencies like quick showers. Campmor has the only suitable poncho I could find.

Even if you do travel with a complete rainsuit (and , depending on climate, there may be good reasons to do so...), you can still head for a bathroom and get out of it. For that matter, I don't see why it's any worse than having an overcoat on and I don't see why you couldn't just drop your rainpants as you enter a restaurant, especially near the coat rack.
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Old 08-08-09, 06:04 PM
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In warm weather, I usually wear quick-dry clothing and change at the destination. There's no sin in getting wet.

In cooler weather, a good (meaning expensive ) rain suit is the way to go--"breathability" is what I'm looking for here. The gear mede specifically for cydling is nice, IMO.

In cold rains or wet snow, the cheapest plastic rain suits work well, since I won't sweat as much in the cold weather.
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Old 08-08-09, 11:34 PM
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I have a water proof top (mostly for the cold) and a change of clothes in my bag. My work shoes are stowed at work.

Don't forget dry socks. Even if it's hot outside and the rain feels good without any rain gear on, I HAVE to have dry socks when I get to work.
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Old 08-09-09, 08:04 AM
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I don't see much point in rain gear unless it's gonna be cold rain. I rode to work yesterday in the rain and allowed myself to get completely soaked. Just changed clothes and shoes at work, and I was fine.
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Old 08-10-09, 08:58 AM
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I take the bus if I'm going to get soaked, unless it's on the way home from work - in which case I don't mind arriving home wet.

I can walk to/from bus stops with an umbrella and rainboots and stay pretty dry. I find that every solution for riding in the rain that I've tried has left me wet and/or sweaty plus cranky.
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Old 08-10-09, 01:41 PM
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Waterproof jacket, pants (preferably breathable with zippers to ventilate), helmet cover, and shoe covers. Take off outer gear when meeting friend. Done.

For errands if its downpouring I'll put them off for a different time.
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Old 08-10-09, 02:28 PM
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It rains only in the summer where I live so Im with Roody on the quick dry cloths. I also ride with my Keen Hybrid sandals that are made to get wet and dry out fast. If I am going to meet friends then I wear a well ventilated rain jacket. Basically my legs will be wet for about 20 minutes after I get off the bike. Thats not so bad, no worse than if you were to take a long walk with an umbrella.

If the weather is cold then Ill consider a full rain suit, they are cheap and available anywhere. Just make sure you ride slow so you dont get too sweaty.

I would love to try a rain cape at some point but they are hard to come by where I live. Maybe I can get one in China next weekend during by birthday trip!

If I need to look REALLY good at whatever destination I might be headed off too (clubbing or a work dinner or something) then I take a cab, bus, carpool (pay for gas) or some other such thing.
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Old 08-10-09, 03:19 PM
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Anybody wear eyeglasses? That is the WORST thing about riding in the rain, IMO.
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Old 08-10-09, 05:31 PM
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I wear glasses..yes. It's probably a good idea even if your vision is 20/20. (Ever had a close call with a bee?)

In rain, I manage to use my index finger as a wiper. Not that effective, but better than nothing.

What really irritates though is the burning sensation in your eyes....
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Old 08-10-09, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by gerv View Post
I wear glasses..yes. It's probably a good idea even if your vision is 20/20. (Ever had a close call with a bee?)

In rain, I manage to use my index finger as a wiper. Not that effective, but better than nothing.

What really irritates though is the burning sensation in your eyes
....
Burning sensation? I never had that. Maybe you stuck your finger in your eye when you were wiping your glasses.



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Old 08-10-09, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
In cold rains or wet snow, the cheapest plastic rain suits work well, since I won't sweat as much in the cold weather.
Unless the snow is on the ground in anything over an inch. Pedaling through snow is darned hard work.
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Old 08-10-09, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by coldfeet View Post
Unless the snow is on the ground in anything over an inch. Pedaling through snow is darned hard work.
Sure is hard work--much like pedaling through sand or mud. And it will make you sweat, you're right.

This is the one time when I wear absorbent fabrics like cotton while riding. A heavy cotton jersey or tee under a rain jacket will soak up all that sweat, and leave my skin almost dry.
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Old 08-11-09, 05:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Anybody wear eyeglasses? That is the WORST thing about riding in the rain, IMO.
I wear a billed baseball cap under my helmet. It keeps the rain off pretty well, and I imagine that I am under a canopy looking out at the rain. That helps to take my mind off the misery.

Originally Posted by GodsBassist View Post
I have a water proof top (mostly for the cold) and a change of clothes in my bag. My work shoes are stowed at work.

Don't forget dry socks. Even if it's hot outside and the rain feels good without any rain gear on, I HAVE to have dry socks when I get to work.
Once this year I wore a new pair of white socks in the rain and the ankle portion got so stained by road grime that won't wash out. Recently I picked up some elongated bagel freezer bags (from Finagle-a-Bagel). They are almost cylindrical, designed to hold about a dozen stacked bagels. I slip them over my socks and tuck the top of the bag over my socks. I haven't ridden with them on a particularly challenging rain day yet, but I would hope that they at least keep the socks clean, if not dry.

This morning was in the high 70's, about 65% humidity with a few sprinkles and my feet did not perspire too much within the bags. One problem I did encounter was if I put my foot all the way to the end of the bag, I did put a hole in it by my great toe. The bag though is of a moderate guage of plastic. FWIW.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 08-11-09 at 06:57 AM.
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Old 08-11-09, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Burning sensation? I never had that. Maybe you stuck your finger in your eye when you were wiping your glasses.





Maybe I use the wrong finger.
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Old 08-11-09, 06:24 PM
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I like the bagel sack idea. I'm gonna have to try that.

There's other good ideas here. And you'll be able to figure out what's best for you with practice.

The only suggestion that I'd add is to carry also a cheap set of rain pants that you've cut off at the knee. The big advantage is that you can slip these on and off quickly without having to sit down, take off your boots and all that. The price you pay, of course, is that your lower legs are still exposed to the wet, but in all but the coldest conditions this is not really a liability. You're likely to welcome the cooling effect.
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Old 08-12-09, 04:14 PM
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For rain over 40 f., less is more. The tribes of Oregon and Washington knew this and went around near naked in the wet. Your skin will acclimate to it much better if you don't try to cover up. I usually wear cycling shorts, a wicking short sleeve shirt and a pancho. That's it. I let my legs get wet along with my arms. I just dry off quickly with a towel at work and I'm good to go. The more you pile on the more sodden clothing you have to contend with. If local regs permitted I would cycle buck naked in the rain. As a side benefit this resolves sweat.

Once you get used to this, your limbs will fill with blood and "blush" in the cold water. It's great stuff, and an extra incentive to get out in the weather.

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Old 08-13-09, 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Anybody wear eyeglasses? That is the WORST thing about riding in the rain, IMO.
This is actually the reason I have been wandering through this part of the forums. Just moved to portland and my glasses-clad buddy is havin a hard time with the combination of rain and specs. The hat idea is definitely something I will pass on. He also has had slight issues with his glasses fogging up (due to the combo of heat and moisture no doubt). Any suggestions for that or any other suggestions for keepin the rain away from his lenses? Thanks.
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Old 08-15-09, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Kilgore Trout View Post
This is actually the reason I have been wandering through this part of the forums. Just moved to portland and my glasses-clad buddy is havin a hard time with the combination of rain and specs. The hat idea is definitely something I will pass on. He also has had slight issues with his glasses fogging up (due to the combo of heat and moisture no doubt). Any suggestions for that or any other suggestions for keepin the rain away from his lenses? Thanks.
Well, first is to keep moving, and turn your head from side to side to get air behind the lenses.

The stuff they make for car windows can be used (Rain-X or Fog-X, IIRC). It also helps to wash your glasses in dishwater (water with dish detergent), NOT rinse them, but just dry them off. Scuba divers spit on their goggles, but I haven't found that to help much.

I have glasses with anti-reflective coating. It's kind of expensive, but it cuts down on headlight glare at night, and it also seems to fog up less than uncoated lenses.
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