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Talk to me about rain gear

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Talk to me about rain gear

Old 03-29-19, 08:22 PM
  #1  
seedsbelize 
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Talk to me about rain gear

Leaving in a month, for my first tour, a six day affair across the state of Ohio. It will be cold, by my tropical standards. Of the three experienced tourists I've spoken to, none carries rain gear. I'm taking a wool sweater and am thinking I'll take a space blanket to wrap myself up in to wait out the rain. What say you?
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Old 03-29-19, 10:13 PM
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In only six days, if you're lucky, you might see no rain at all. I'd wait until the day before you leave, check the weather forecast, and decide what to bring then. Ohio's densely populated (at least in a sense that you'll get to a town every day), so if you ever decide you need a rain jacket, you can pick one up while you're there.

That said, a decent rain jacket is good for more than just the rain; it'll also make an excellent windbreaker. I bring a waterproof/breathable rain jacket on every tour because they're generally light, pack down small, and they're an excellent outer layer in any bad/cold weather.

In my experience, everything east of the Mississippi and north of the Red River has the possibility of being both cold and wet every day of the year, even in summer, so a good waterproof/breathable jacket might be a worthwhile investment. If you decide to buy one, look for one with pit zips (sometimes called underarm vents).
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Old 03-30-19, 03:45 AM
  #3  
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Average conditions in middle of Ohio in Apr:
https://weatherspark.com/m/146772/4/...-United-States

I only tour with rain gear that I could wear if I have to ride in the rain all day. I have never lived in Ohio, but have in Minnesota and Wisconsin, which is similar weather. And we occasionally get all day soakers in the spring.

I bring a breathable waterproof rain jacket. If camping, I want one with a hood but I do not use the hood when biking, only in the campsite. The one I am using now is a Marmot Precip. I like it big enough that I can put a polartec layer or even a down vest under it if camping in cooler weather. In cool windy conditions I might use that in dry conditions in a campsite to stay warmer.

Breathable waterproof rain pants. In warm weather I skip the rain pants and just get wet, but in cooler weather I want the rain pants to keep warmer. The ones I am using at this time are REI Elements (discontinued model). Rain pants typically need a strap to keep teh leg out of the chain, sometimes depending on bike you might need one on the non-drive side too. Legs have to be long enough so that when you bend your knees cycling, the bottom of the legs do not pull up too high. There have been a couple times when I put rain pants on in dry cold windy conditions just to keep a bit warmer.

In cold weather I want some form of shoe covering to keep some of the water off. In warm weather, I forgo that and get wet. I carry a second pair of shoes, if your bike shoes are your only shoes, I hope you like wet feet. A friend of mine that I have toured with is a real minimalist when it comes to weight savings. On one tour his feet and shoes got soaked and stayed that way for days, which started to cause foot problems. I am very careful to make sure that one pair of my shoes stays dry for when off the bike. Shoe covering to keep the water off of the shoes is ineffective if you are not wearing rain pants, the water hits your legs and flows down into your socks, thus I only use shoe covering if also using rain pants.

Most people skip a rain cover for their helmet but I like to use one. In cooler weather it also keeps some of the wind off my head. If you lack a helmet cover, if you can get a disposable shower cap at a motel where they sometimes are provided, that might fit. They can also keep your saddle drier.

I like some wrap around glasses with a lighter or yellow tint in rain to keep the rain out of my eyes. I got used to trying to look through wet glasses from driving motorcycles in rain.

In rain, you need good visibility, colors that stand out, lights on the bike, etc.

I use a leather saddle, I put a rain cover on the saddle when I put rain gear on my body.

Maybe you will get lucky and stay dry for the week you are there. Photo is in May in Pennsylvania (C&O trail).

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Old 03-30-19, 05:48 AM
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Out of curiosity what is your route? I have ridden across Ohio a few times. An U live in NE Ohio.
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Old 03-30-19, 05:49 AM
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And I live in NE Ohio.
Stupid spell check!
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Old 03-30-19, 06:49 AM
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Originally Posted by seedsbelize View Post
Leaving in a month, for my first tour, a six day affair across the state of Ohio. It will be cold, by my tropical standards. Of the three experienced tourists I've spoken to, none carries rain gear. I'm taking a wool sweater and am thinking I'll take a space blanket to wrap myself up in to wait out the rain. What say you?
it aint the Yucatan thats for sure. Being cold and wet, well, first wet and then more and more cold---just aint fun.
have you ever been in rain for hours at 10c, 15c ?
I cant imagine you have if you are asking.
It's pretty miserable.

for this gringo who has "been there, done that" for not having enough rain gear in cool to 20c temps a lot, a rain jacket, rain pants, and rain booties so your shoes are soaking wet and wont dry out for a few days (so wet , cold feet the next day too) , is what I consider necessary.
I also have a helmet cover for commuting, but use a super light super small shower cap for my helmet on trips, if its cool, its nice not to have cold water coming in your helmet.

what temps are you expecting?
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Old 03-30-19, 07:50 AM
  #7  
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Showers Pass rain gear. Sometimes it rains all day. On my last tour, it rained every minute of the three days I was on the road. And it was in the 40s and low 50s with a headwind.
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Old 03-30-19, 08:00 AM
  #8  
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Down to about 50f/10c.. Light and simple as possible, just get wet with stuff that does not get heavy and can dry quickly. I use MTB sandals in all conditions and they serve me well in wet to. A wind breaker top and bottom to reduce wind chill if needed. On the flip side... In the Mid-Atlantic heat and humidity in the summer I get just as "wet" on a sunny summer day as I do in pouring down rain, the difference being I take off my glasses in the rain.

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Old 03-30-19, 08:36 AM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by Tandem Tom View Post
Out of curiosity what is your route? I have ridden across Ohio a few times. An U live in NE Ohio.
I'm picking the bike up in Youngstown. A 1980 Trek 414, which I have yet to lay eyes on. I'm traveling to Athens, via Smithville (Wayne Co.), my boyhood home, Coshocton, Granville, Lancaster, Nelsonville, Athens. And then a week later I need to be in Huntington, W.V., two more days, if I ride the whole distance.
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Old 03-30-19, 08:46 AM
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I failed to mention that there will be no camping on this trip. I already wear yellow tint glasses over my eyeglasses. I initially bought them for night riding, as they cut the glare and still allow me to see the puddle of light in front of me. I now use them all the time.
I do expect below 20*C a good bit of the time, and yes, I am cold at those temps, and would not want to be wet too. I will look into what sort of rain gear can be acquired on this side of the border. Thanks for the dry shoes tip. Maybe I could ride in my Chacos and save the tenners for dry times. I have a windbreaker that is useless in the rain.
I ride a Brooks C15 when I travel, specifically for weather issues. It also happens to be one of my favorite saddles anyway.
Thanks for all the feedback.
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Old 03-30-19, 09:33 AM
  #11  
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I hate rain pants. They're bulky (especially on a bike seat), & not so breathable.
Chaps breathe much better, weigh less, & take up less storage space.
Use a bike-appropriate poncho (for really heavy rain at slow speeds)
or a rain jacket which is long enuf in back to cover you.
A helmet cover tops everything off.
I haven't completely figured out the shoe issue yet. Carry extra dry socks.
My poncho: Exped bike poncho
My jacket: Carradice waxed cotton cycling jacket (found used on ebay)

I've had modern breathable waterproof synthetic Gortex type coats.
Alas, the membranes eventually peel off. I suppose there's a fix for that.
But I prefer waxed cotton. It's effective (if maintained), durable, & easily
re-waxed where needed. And it has that nice waxy smell.

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Old 03-30-19, 09:50 AM
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I have come to like my Cycling Rain cape *, It's quick to put on ,
just have to take your helmet off to pull it over your head.

In humidity and warmer summer rain, It offers the same sort of ventilation
as an umbrella, open underneath ....

* Its conic shaped , where a poncho is flat, rectangular ..





...

Last edited by fietsbob; 03-30-19 at 09:53 AM.
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Old 03-30-19, 02:32 PM
  #13  
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Upon further thought, I'm just gonna wing it, and pick up a poncho if rain is in the forecast. This could be my one and only multi day trip and no sense laying out big money for something I won't use. Here at home, our dry season lasts 6-7 months so it would get no use here either.
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Old 03-30-19, 02:58 PM
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I second the tip for a poncho. Bring highly packable poncho, wear wool layers.
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Old 03-30-19, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by seedsbelize View Post
Upon further thought, I'm just gonna wing it, and pick up a poncho if rain is in the forecast. This could be my one and only multi day trip and no sense laying out big money for something I won't use. Here at home, our dry season lasts 6-7 months so it would get no use here either.
good luck then with weather, completely out of our hands that one.
Wool socks are great, still warmish when wet.
Have a good trip maje.
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Old 03-30-19, 09:52 PM
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Thanks. I wear wool socks always, when I wear socks at all.
Hopefully, I'll report back.
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Old 03-30-19, 10:17 PM
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Something I learned sailing: No matter how wet the weather becomes, the experience can be pleasant if you have the right clothes for it.
Something I learned biking: Don't burden yourself with more equipment than you need.

Unfortunately those two lessons present a conundrum. On a single 1-4 hour ride you can probably survive being wet. But being wet day after day, or getting wet and not being able to remain dry after changing, and enduring that hour after hour, day after day on a tour gives me the inclination to think that the sailing lesson takes precedent. Fortunately there are extremely lightweight options for cycling rain gear, so the peace of mind of knowing you can stay dry when things turn dicey on a tour is probably worth the small amount of additional weight. I'd prefer spending a half pound of my cargo load on that and if I were seeking areas to cut back on weight I'd forego the wool clothing in favor of other lightweight alternatives.
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Old 03-30-19, 10:51 PM
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A quick thought on wool - if it rains more than one day, that wool will become wet (or at least damp) and pick up a lot of weight and will not dry fast unless you get a major weather change. Good modern synthetics are far lighter once you see that wet and dry/lose water weight far faster.

I sailed the North Atlantic wearing the then new Patagonia expedition weight Capeline thermal underwear 9 of the 12 days. Life at 50 degrees. 50 degrees north, 50 degree air and 50 degree water. Everything was wet all the time. Water dripped of all the metal and glass inside the boat. We pumped water out several times a day, (Boat didn't leak a drop. It all came in with us.) Every time a crew member came below he brought in/let in another gallon of water. (Sometimes a lot more if he times it poorly with waves.) I was comfortable in that thermal underwear that I never took off. It would be soaking wet after standing watch on deck (the water in 60 mph winds will find every crack in your foul weather gear). I'd go below. peel off my gear and clothes and go for my soggy sleeping bag still in the thermals. And sleep soundly. Good stuff.

Get good stuff. In the break between the two big storms, I took off those thermal and put on old polypropelene thermals I had kept dry and clean in a plastic bag. Dry, clean and nowhere near the quality or comfort of that wonderful Patagonia gear. In 24 hours I could not stand the polypropelene any more and put the soggy good stuff back on for the next 4 days. Granted, that was a lotmore demanding than 3 days on a bike. Still, I would hate to see you suffering a nightmare of a bike ride. May in northern Ohio is a crapshoot. (Never liver there but grew up oin Boston and spent 6 years in southen Michigan. Both quite similar weatherwise. And both a real crapshoot that time of year.

Ben
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Old 03-31-19, 02:35 AM
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You need rain gear. It's not expensive.
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Old 03-31-19, 03:43 AM
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79P, ska forward slant rudder feller,
very interesting life experience and first hand thing with tough conditions. Thanks for sharing.

You know, the thing is that most likely this fellow will have to personally experience the downside of the crap shoot of spring weather himself to appreciate having proper raingear in cooler temps.
Nothing personal Mr belize it's human nature.

Hopefully the roulette wheel will stop at a reasonable weather window for you. And if it doesn't, well--learn from the experience.
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Old 03-31-19, 06:32 AM
  #21  
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You might get lucky and find a rain free trip, or one where the rain is only at night. And if not, by late Apr it might be warm enough that you do not get too cold.

You did not say anything about what you are carrying on your bike, other than you are not camping. Thus I do not know if you are carrying your clothing on the bike or if this is a van supported ride where your luggage is transported for you. But if you are carrying your clothing on your bike, some one or two gallon sized freezer quality zip lock plastic bags to keep your other stuff dry would be a good way to make sure you have dry clothing at the end of the day when you get indoors..

If you do get caught in rain, having a blinking red taillight on your bike adds a lot of safety because the drivers behind you have obscured visibility from the rain. A cheap AAA powered taillight would be a good idea.

Have a great trip.
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Old 03-31-19, 06:38 AM
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My current favorite rain gear is home-made of non-breathable silnylon. It's a simple anorak, weighs 3 oz and packs the size of a fist. I have matching pants, but seldom use them while cycling. Maybe on a mountain pass descent in wet snow, or something extreme like that.

What's at least as important as the outer layer is how you use the rest of your clothing. An old pro with a plastic poncho and wool sweater can often be more comfortable than a newbie with the latest laminates and tech fabrics. If you wear your breathable jacket over all your insulation while climbing in the rain, you'll quickly wet everything out and you'll be miserable on the descent.
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Old 03-31-19, 07:19 AM
  #23  
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This "tour" is the beginning phase of a month long trip, ending in a family reunion in western Virginia. I had never considered touring until I bought this bike, off craigslist, via a facilitator. That was in October. Effectively it serves to deliver the bike across the state beneath me, as opposed to being in the back of a pick-up.
I very much appreciate all the wisdom here, but I'm old school (66), fixed income, etc. I'd like to think I'll take up touring, and if I do, I'll invest in the proper gear. Wool has always served me well and is relatively cheap. I've worn wool socks year round for the past 25 years. I have a new Cygolite, which I am planning to use during the day. I will carry clothes for the bike trip and nothing more. Clothing for the rest of my month North I will pick up from thrift stores. I'm as big a fan of polypro and polyester as I am of wool, and I will have multiple layers at least in the beginning, until I adjust to the cold (anything below 70 F is cold to me). I will look into silnylon as an option.

This is my rig, during a practice run. I will be practicing and adjusting throughout the coming month. I'm carrying a Kelty tuck 35 degree bag, tools, dry clothes, possibly extra shoes. The mini-panniers are for extra water and bulk foods. A tourist I hosted starts his day with a banana every half hour, for three hours, and then switches over to nuts. And packaged tortillas wrapped around something. I assume he picks up a meal or two somewhere in there. The point of the backpack is that this trip is not a pure tour. I will return with the bike I ride on tour and another frame set packed in the same box. The backpack will serve as my carry on bag.
Keep the advice and suggestions coming, please.

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Old 03-31-19, 07:26 AM
  #24  
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The CL bike
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Old 03-31-19, 08:11 AM
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If I understand this, you havent seen this bike in person yet? If so, at least be realistic that even if good shape from not being used too much, its completely realistic that the remenants of the grease is original from the 80s, or the spokes aren't properly tensioned....I dont know how much bike mechanic stuff you do or are interested in, but its in your best interests to at least check or have someone check this stuff, as it could very well have implications on your trip

moral of that story, spending some money on checking/regreasing/adjusting would be well spent, and if not, could end up with costs during the trip.
That looks like a 50/40 and maybe a 28 at back. My first bike trip was on a bike of similar gearing, it might be ok for flat Yucatan, but that is pretty high gearing , so just be aware, and have shoes that are good for walking at times up hills.
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