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PNW Winter Riding Gear

Old 08-29-18, 09:20 AM
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Wilmingtech
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PNW Winter Riding Gear

I have decided to ride through the winter this year and after our 3 days of rain this past weekend it reminded me that I need to get some gear to be able to pull this off. I just don't think cycling shorts and a short sleeve jersey are going to cut it. The most important thing of course is the trainer. But after that, what do you all typically wear to ride in the PNW winters? I'd assume long sleeves and full length bibs but do you bring any rain gear, helmet covers, insulated jerseys... whats your go to when it's cold and rainy?

Thanks!

-Sean
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Old 08-29-18, 12:39 PM
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I'd say good fenders are most important. I resisted it for awhile, but I had to get a bike (Diamondback Haanjo) that had plenty of clearance and grommets to accommodate fenders (I think the Portland Design Works ones are excellent). I avoid riding in the rain and I don't usually ride if it gets below 35 degrees because I fear black ice--but temps. below that aren't that common around here in Seattle. Staying comfortable at temps above this really isn't that difficult--esp. since this area doesn't have wide variations in temperature in the winter. I don't like bibs much unless it's a very short ride b/c it's difficult to manage roadside pit stops for me. I just use shorts with leg warmers, long sleeve jersey and use either a undershirt with it or jacket if it's cold enough. I actually prefer riding on a 40 degree day to a 85 degree one--easier for recovery for me.

Trainers are great tools, but if it isn't raining I still consider it very possible to ride year around.
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Old 08-29-18, 01:23 PM
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I'm a year-round, every day rider, here is my list:

- Full coverage fenders
- Waterproof shoe covers (I like Showers Pass)
- A good quality all-weather cycling jacket (I like Showers Pass)
- merino wool jersey...be prepared to layer
- Gloves (I have various weights for different temperature ranges and if it's raining hard I bring a 2nd pair for the ride home)
- Cycling tights (I don't wear rain pants, just hang my tights to dry)
- Good lights, front and rear
- I don't wear a helmet cover, I find them too hot

Riding in the rain is as much psychological as it is physical. Recognize that no matter how much gear you put on, you'll still get wet. The trick is to make it a comfortable wet as opposed to a shivering, miserable wet. Best of luck to you.
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Old 08-29-18, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by woodway View Post
I'm a year-round, every day rider, here is my list:

- Full coverage fenders
- Waterproof shoe covers (I like Showers Pass)
- A good quality all-weather cycling jacket (I like Showers Pass)
- merino wool jersey...be prepared to layer
- Gloves (I have various weights for different temperature ranges and if it's raining hard I bring a 2nd pair for the ride home)
- Cycling tights (I don't wear rain pants, just hang my tights to dry)
- Good lights, front and rear
- I don't wear a helmet cover, I find them too hot

Riding in the rain is as much psychological as it is physical. Recognize that no matter how much gear you put on, you'll still get wet. The trick is to make it a comfortable wet as opposed to a shivering, miserable wet. Best of luck to you.
Excellent advice here!

Iím also a year round rider and the above list could be mine with one exception: Iíve had mixed results with shoe covers so I use some Showers Pass waterproof socks when conditions warrant.

If if itís really cold Iíll wear some waterproof Specialized Defroster cycling boots, but they are too warm if it isnít very cold out.

I can enthusiastically endorse Showers Pass jackets and other rain gear, good stuff made in the PNW for the conditions we get.
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Old 08-29-18, 01:51 PM
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Like Woodway, I use shoe covers, a Showers Pass jacket, and tights in the rain. But my issue is that I no longer have much tolerance for cold weather, particularly in my hands. So, I have added bar mitts to my everyday bike. I also bought a cape last year that helped markedly for keeping me warm, because it not only kept me dry but gave me plenty of room to wear extra layers underneath.

I also have a Bern helmet for rain riding. It has few vents so keeps my head a bit dryer and warmer than my racy summer helmet. I use a lot of lights and reflectors to stay visible, including a dynamo-powered pair front and rear, Light and Motion helmet lights, and another set of rechargeable lights at both ends.
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Old 08-29-18, 03:01 PM
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Full Mudguards , Cyclist rain cape **, I was using a Sou'wester with a wool hat under it

Helmet with a warm lining and a rain cover on it, planned ..

Rain pants under the cape if the rain is 'falling' sideways..

LL Bean Rubber bottom Shoes ..

Rain bike* with hub dynamo powered lights..

IF gets Icy, I *also, have an old MTB in my basement with studded tires..
It happens less often than further inland.

** Cape drapes over my hands , in gloves . not needing them to be _waterproof"

I've never had dry hands in any gloves in steady rain , best was a shell + a liner glove,
so liner could be separated, to dry quicker..






....

Last edited by fietsbob; 08-30-18 at 09:34 AM.
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Old 08-30-18, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by woodway View Post
I'm a year-round, every day rider, here is my list:

- Full coverage fenders
- Waterproof shoe covers (I like Showers Pass)
- A good quality all-weather cycling jacket (I like Showers Pass)
- merino wool jersey...be prepared to layer
- Gloves (I have various weights for different temperature ranges and if it's raining hard I bring a 2nd pair for the ride home)
- Cycling tights (I don't wear rain pants, just hang my tights to dry)
- Good lights, front and rear
- I don't wear a helmet cover, I find them too hot

Riding in the rain is as much psychological as it is physical. Recognize that no matter how much gear you put on, you'll still get wet. The trick is to make it a comfortable wet as opposed to a shivering, miserable wet. Best of luck to you.

Thanks to all for this advice. This is great.

I had never heard of showers pass before so thanks for the heads up on that. They look pricey but I am sure I'll be able to grab a jacket for under 100 if I keep an eye out.

I also never would have thought to buy shoe covers. Do they make that much of a difference?

-Sean
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Old 08-30-18, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Wilmingtech View Post
I also never would have thought to buy shoe covers. Do they make that much of a difference?

-Sean
IMO, yes. But it depends on the cover. The thin fabric ones are ok for keeping out the wind but donít do much to keep your feet dry. I use thicker neoprene booties, and those work well for both cold and water.
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Old 08-30-18, 08:23 PM
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I like these:
https://www.showerspass.com/collecti...ub-shoe-covers

They keep my feet dry when it's raining. I also wear them over my normal riding shoes when it's dry, but cold. They act like a cycling jacket, except for your feet.

Showers Pass gear is expensive, but very high quality. I own two of their jackets - a Double Century and an Elite. Bought them both ~8 years ago and have used them hard. They are going strong.
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Old 08-30-18, 08:46 PM
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I think it hit maybe 86F here today, winter does not come early to this deseert.
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Old 08-31-18, 07:33 PM
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I've been looking at Showers Pass jackets. How's the breathability on the jackets y'all have?
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Old 09-01-18, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by fishgirlcycles View Post
I've been looking at Showers Pass jackets. How's the breathability on the jackets y'all have?
I'm quite happy with mine.
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Old 09-01-18, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by fishgirlcycles View Post
I've been looking at Showers Pass jackets. How's the breathability on the jackets y'all have?
Itís as good as anything else Iíve tried - not perfect, but no waterproof jacket will be if you are working hard. Mine is vented well which helps quite a bit and I find itís great for a commute when Iím not pushing too hard.

For any real fast riding in the rain Iím getting wet, either from perspiration or the rain, but the SP jacket at least helps me stay comfortable.
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Old 09-01-18, 11:19 AM
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All Breathable-waterproof fabrics, Depend on a DWR coating for beading up vs soaking thru..
the treatment will be good for a couple years..

then you seek out DWR re treatments like Nik Wax
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Old 09-04-18, 10:40 PM
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Originally Posted by winston63 View Post
Itís as good as anything else Iíve tried - not perfect, but no waterproof jacket will be if you are working hard. Mine is vented well which helps quite a bit and I find itís great for a commute when Iím not pushing too hard.

For any real fast riding in the rain Iím getting wet, either from perspiration or the rain, but the SP jacket at least helps me stay comfortable.
Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
All Breathable-waterproof fabrics, Depend on a DWR coating for beading up vs soaking thru..
the treatment will be good for a couple years..

then you seek out DWR re treatments like Nik Wax
Originally Posted by woodway View Post
I'm quite happy with mine.
I just revived a pair of softshell snow pants with Nik Wax! I was skeptical but now I'm a convert.

Thanks for the input everyone. I'm still dithering--I like my Louis Garneau rain shell, though haven't put it through the wringer yet. But I love the look of the Hi-Viz Torch, so maybe if it goes on sale...
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Old 09-06-18, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Wilmingtech View Post
Thanks to all for this advice. This is great.

I had never heard of showers pass before so thanks for the heads up on that. They look pricey but I am sure I'll be able to grab a jacket for under 100 if I keep an eye out.

I also never would have thought to buy shoe covers. Do they make that much of a difference?

-Sean
I had a pair. I'd overheat whenever I used them. The back of my neck and shoulders are real sensitive to the cold, but my legs and feet are less so, they need more venting or I'll over heat.

Not for everyone. Maybe you can borrow a pair for a friend and see for yourself before you buy.
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Old 09-07-18, 12:02 PM
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I've tried to ride 52 weeks/year for the past 20 years in the PNW. I don't ride if it's icy. Otherwise I do. I've ridden in the rain a lot. My advice is that the biggest difference in clothing philosophy is waterproof or not. Waterproof is good if you ride easily enough that you don't sweat. If you ride hard enough to sweat, then waterproof is not good. Understand this: sweat is your cooling mechanism. It depends on evaporation. If you're wearing waterproof, there's no way for it to evaporate. You'll inevitably overheat, no matter the temperature. "Breathable" waterproof garments are a joke, IME. No way will they allow enough sweat to pass through them and evaporate to keep you cool. The only thing that can cool you in the rain is rain water. So the idea is to allow the penetration of some cooling rainwater while wearing enough clothing that's warm when wet so that you don't get cold. That's a little tricky but is easy to learn with experience.

Here are some of my thoughts on the subject - links go to various posts::
It's between 30-45 degrees and raining, you're riding 30-50 miles. How do you dress?
It's between 30-45 degrees and raining, you're riding 30-50 miles. How do you dress?
It's between 30-45 degrees and raining, you're riding 30-50 miles. How do you dress?
It's between 30-45 degrees and raining, you're riding 30-50 miles. How do you dress?
Need help outfitting for sporty rides in PNW winter conditions
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Old 09-08-18, 03:38 PM
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Waterproof is impermeable, in the case of my rain cape, its ventilated from underneath
so i got a puddle of rainwater in between my arms, on the bars , forming the awning over my legs..

I flipped the puddles over the side.. occasionally ..
I was on the windward side of the hill on Young's bay shore..

Astoria, much closer to the sea than metro Seattle..
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Old 09-08-18, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
I had a pair. I'd overheat whenever I used them. The back of my neck and shoulders are real sensitive to the cold, but my legs and feet are less so, they need more venting or I'll over heat.

Not for everyone. Maybe you can borrow a pair for a friend and see for yourself before you buy.
You might feel differently after 50+ miles in pouring 40į rain. Or not? I do ride with a guy who wears sandals and wood socks in the rain. I'm not sure how long he lasts with that combo, though. Haven't done a real rain ride with him in so long I've forgotten.
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Old 09-10-18, 06:23 PM
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I've ridden year round in Seattle for nearly a decade. Fenders, a generator hub and lights, and you're ready to start. I find much else to be distance dependent. I generally used just a light O2 jacket and rainlegs, but I can also count on a short commute and Seattle's drizzle. The longer the commute, the more you have to invest in gear, is how I see it.

For my shorter commute, I have always found keeping cool the issue, even in winter, as it's only after about 10 miles that I begin to feel chilled. Typically throughout the winter when it's not raining I just used a pair of light gloves, a tight tee-shirt, and a long-sleeve tee over that. Anything else and I was sweating buckets. That same gear after ten miles though…I'm searching my bag for my jacket.
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Old 10-06-18, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
All Breathable-waterproof fabrics, Depend on a DWR coating for beading up vs soaking thru..
the treatment will be good for a couple years..

then you seek out DWR re treatments like Nik Wax
Here's a decent article on regenerating and maintaining such fabrics.
https://bikeportland.org/2018/03/09/...ur-gear-269900
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Old 10-06-18, 03:25 PM
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One thing I do in addition to all the prior replies is I usually wear a thin wool beanie. On the way up a hill, I'll roll it off my ears, but once I head downhill, I pull it over my ears and as far down the back part of my head as it will go. It makes a real difference to me to not have the cold air bite my ears.

Also, I like my neoprene gloves when the temperature goes below about 45F. I'll sometimes put a pair of wool gloves and/or a nylon mitten over them if it's particularly cold, and may even put a chemical hand warmer in there on some frosty mornings when I'm heading out for 100-200 km rides. I rarely wear a rain jacket unless I'm planning on stopping for a protracted amount of time because they mostly just leave me soaked in sweat. If I'm going to be wet, I'd rather it be rainwater.

One thing I have found is that cold hands and feet are usually the result of not having enough warmth on the torso. If you're not sweating and the temperature is below 50, there's a reasonable chance you will have cold extremities because the body isn't sending any blood out to the surface of your hands and feet to cool it off, which kee
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Old 10-29-18, 07:53 PM
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Brrrrr...

Light breathable Merino wool base layers. And even when my ears are covered, a little piece of waded up cotton ball in my ears really makes a difference if youíre prone to winter ear aches.
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Old 10-30-18, 10:19 AM
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I can't believe how cold it is in Republic. I might actually ride in a full body merino base layer today. Last time I wore it was night skiing in the Methow in below zero temps.
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Old 10-30-18, 11:12 AM
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It's interesting as I go through this how different each person dresses depending on how they ride / style they ride. For example if you are a commuter your needs and planning for weather are completely different than someone who is going out on their road bike to put in a 20 mile work out as opposed to someone who is hitting the trails and planning on stopping along the way.

Does anyone use a spray water repellent on any of their non-waterproof clothing with any success?

-Sean
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