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How to handle rain on the road

Old 08-17-23, 12:15 AM
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I have a Showers Pass rain jacket that truly does keep my dry without sweating. A great piece of gear. I also have some old REI rain pants that I use.

But, for me, the key is keeping my shoes and socks dry. I hate riding with wet (and cold) feet. I've tried various rain shoe covers and finally created my own using old plastic water bottles and homemade gaiter:



They look funny and make an odd crunching sound when I walk, but they work! I've used them many times and they keep my shoes and socks dry, especially when wearing rain pants which drip water down the leg and onto (into) my shoes and socks. I wrote an article on how these are made, if you care. By the way, the plastic water bottles are easily replaced as they wear out after while.
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Old 08-17-23, 01:20 AM
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I just grin and bear it, something I learned in Infantry. Waterproof clothing never lives up to its name, and the more external water it is likely to repel, the more likely you will make up for it in sweat, no matter how “breathable” the makers may claim. I don’t mind getting wet on a ride so long as I get to a place where I can dry off myself and my gear.
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Old 08-17-23, 01:53 AM
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For rain-proof footwear I use the Adidas Five Ten Trailcross Goretex:
https://www.adidas.fr/chaussure-de-v...ex/S29146.html

I've not tried them in very cold weather (<5C), but I find them a bit too warm in mid-summer (>30C).

They work on any flat pedal. I have Acros: https://acros-components.com/pedale/xl-pedal?c=88
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Old 08-18-23, 04:08 PM
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Thanks to all for the tips, I think I'm now pretty set. Got the Rover cape (which is really nice (and soft)), my rain pants, fenders, a shower cap, uh... helmet cover, cheap shoe covers that I'll try make better and I'll use thin gloves inside disposable nitrile gloves if it's raining and cold. I also wouldn't be without my lightweight 7'x10' tarp for a picnic-table kitchen which also lets me put up the tent in the rain without it getting wet, as I had to do the last time I car camped.

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Old 08-20-23, 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul_P
Carried over from the "What's your can't live without gear ?" thread :



I've been wondering about this as I'm getty ready to go on a short camping only trip.
My experience with rain gear is that if I'm doing anything the least bit exerting, I'll get soaking wet inside the outer layer even if it's really cold out.
But I can also see that if it's cold, I wouldn't want to be drenched in the pouring rain unless I was really working hard and on a bike that might cause problems at contact areas.
Nor can I see myself spending several days in a tiny tent with nothing to do.

So what do you do when it rains a lot ?
We've been touring in Norway the last couple of years and to do that it's a requirement to have good rain gear. The good stuff is expensive, but it's worth it.

My two favorites are the Showers Pass Century jacket. It's got a nifty vent on the back and I don't get sweaty and hot in it. It's made from eVent which breathes at the top of class. For colder rides and for more than just biking, by current favorite is the Outdoor Research Foray Jacket. It's very light and very waterproof and works well. It's also got pit zip vents that zip all the way down to the bottom so you can even wear it like a poncho. Neither of these jackets turn into a sauna. That said, keeping your rain gear clean with tech wash products also helps breathability.

For pants, my two favorites are a custom pair made by Foxwear out of Neoshell. These are pretty inexpensive and they work and breathe well. Or, my new favorite this year, is the showers pass refuge pant. Very comfortable, bike and hike compatible and breathe very well.

And the #1 trick to keep feet dry? Waterproof socks. You can get them on Amazon for about $25 and they are absolutely the best deal going. Our entire group had them last year when it rained every single day for two weeks and they were universally loved.

J.
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Old 08-20-23, 04:24 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by Paul_P
Thanks to all for the tips, I think I'm now pretty set. Got the Rover cape (which is really nice (and soft)), my rain pants, fenders, a shower cap, uh... helmet cover, cheap shoe covers that I'll try make better and I'll use thin gloves inside disposable nitrile gloves if it's raining and cold. I also wouldn't be without my lightweight 7'x10' tarp for a picnic-table kitchen which also lets me put up the tent in the rain without it getting wet, as I had to do the last time I car camped.
It will be interesting to see how the rain cape will work for you. A few people really like them, so they seem to work for their type of touring.

My wife and I were riding with some Parisian friends when we were in Paris. While riding toward a train station to catch a train back to Paris, we experienced a violent thunder storm with a heavy downpour and high winds. We all put on our rain gear. My wife and I put on our rain jackets and pants, and helmet cover. The other couple put on their rain capes. It was a tough ride to the station. It seemed like the couple's capes acted like a sail and exacerbated the effects of the headwind. They also got pretty wet. They were experienced bike tourists and the capes seemed to work for them. However, when we finally reached the station they asked a lot of questions about our rain gear and wanted to look at our gear.

Let us know how the cape works out for you, especially in tough conditions.

My wife's setup, and don't forget the Ortlieb panniers.



If all else fails, get out of the rain


This has been my setup for a lot of bike touring. The brands and materials have changed; but a jacket, pants and helmet cover have been my go-to for rain gear during the last 50 years. If we are into the shoulder seasons we will carry a pair of glove liners and a pair of waterproof socks. Today's fabrics repel water well, breathe well, and are relatively comfortable. As mentioned above, "keeping your rain gear clean with tech wash products also helps breathability."


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Old 08-20-23, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug64
The other couple put on their rain capes. It was a tough ride to the station. It seemed like the couple's capes acted like a sail and exacerbated the effects of the headwind. They also got pretty wet. They were experienced bike tourists and the capes seemed to work for them. However, when we finally reached the station they asked us a lot of questions about our rain gear and wanted to look at our gear.

Let us know how it works out in tough conditions.

My wife's setup, and don't forget the Ortlieb panniers.
Got the Ortliebs. There are two possible drawbacks to capes/ponchos. Like you say it can be a huge sail, and the other thing (I've read) is that since you hold onto the corners up front, a large puddle can form in the middle. My final decision hinged on breathability which must be more than adequate, but at the risk of ending up wet because of water flying everywhere. I liked the idea of it being like a tent and wanted to give the concept a try. When I was touring as a kid I had one of those really cheap orange nylon ponchos, but I don't remember how effective it was.

To you and JohnJ80 : Waterproof socks. Funny, I put plastic bags over my thick wool socks when I run in or after rain since I run on grass or in the woods. I don't have enough room for that in my new cycling shoes. Never heard of waterproof socks, I'll look into it. Thanks for the nice pictures. I'm really anxious to out on the road, rain or sun.
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Old 08-20-23, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul_P
There are two possible drawbacks to capes/ponchos. Like you say it can be a huge sail, and the other thing (I've read) is that since you hold onto the corners up front, a large puddle can form in the middle.
I have never really had the "huge sail" thing happen, but then i am never probably moving fast enough in the rain to notice/care.

As to the "puddle in the front" thing, yes, this can happen with some positions, especially when trying to keep the poncho clear of a handlebar-mounted headlight.

You try to keep the front bit taut enough that it doesn't, but when it does anyway, you sort of flip it out and dump it; not a big deal.
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Old 08-20-23, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul_P
.... Never heard of waterproof socks, I'll look into it. ....
I have some DexShell waterproof socks. Never tried them in the rain, I bought their winter insulated ones to wear in winter in case I have to stop and put my foot in an ice cold puddle. Bike shoes usually let water in through the sole due to the cleat hardware. And fortunately, have not stepped in any puddles yet. I tested them by putting my hand in one and submerging it in the sink, it was water proof.

SealSkinz is another brand.

Gauvins (spell?) on this forum has used some neoprene socks.
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Old 08-21-23, 05:48 AM
  #35  
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Rain: mostly pretty clean.
Water thrown up from wheels: not so much.



This bike ↓ is fitted with something called 'Kleenfeet', a product that hasn't been sold in probably ~50 years. Make your own; might be good for protecting your Molteni or Dromarti leather cycling shoes.

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Old 08-21-23, 05:56 AM
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...waterproof socks...
There's a subversive movement afoot to wear Crocs while cycletouring. Feet get wet (warm weather) ~ yeah, so what?

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Old 08-30-23, 06:18 PM
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Useful perspective. Unfortunately top range gear is pretty expensive, especially when you hardly ever use it - so it won't be an option for most tourers I imagine (including myself). About the waterproof socks: I bought a pair (Fox brand) because of these kinds of recommendations and they were soaked the very first time I wore them in a downpour. What brand did you buy?

Originally Posted by JohnJ80
We've been touring in Norway the last couple of years and to do that it's a requirement to have good rain gear. The good stuff is expensive, but it's worth it.

My two favorites are the Showers Pass Century jacket. It's got a nifty vent on the back and I don't get sweaty and hot in it. It's made from eVent which breathes at the top of class. For colder rides and for more than just biking, by current favorite is the Outdoor Research Foray Jacket. It's very light and very waterproof and works well. It's also got pit zip vents that zip all the way down to the bottom so you can even wear it like a poncho. Neither of these jackets turn into a sauna. That said, keeping your rain gear clean with tech wash products also helps breathability.

For pants, my two favorites are a custom pair made by Foxwear out of Neoshell. These are pretty inexpensive and they work and breathe well. Or, my new favorite this year, is the showers pass refuge pant. Very comfortable, bike and hike compatible and breathe very well.

And the #1 trick to keep feet dry? Waterproof socks. You can get them on Amazon for about $25 and they are absolutely the best deal going. Our entire group had them last year when it rained every single day for two weeks and they were universally loved.

J.
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Old 08-31-23, 05:35 PM
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In our group of 6, four had the Randy Sun waterproof socks. Everyone stayed dry and except for one person who one time tucked their pants into the top of the socks and you can imagine what happened there - the pants funneled water straight into the socks. Pro tip: you have to have the top of the sock covered.

The marginal cost difference between good rain gear and the cheap stuff is the difference between staying dry and being wet. The cheap stuff doesn’t breathe and if it’s even got good waterproofing, you’ll get wet from sweating. I bought cheap stuff the first time around and then bought the good stuff for exactly that reason. End result is that getting good rain gear cost me a lot more than it should have if I’d done it right the first time.

So I guess my thought is that if you don’t get good stuff then don’t bother and avoid rain at all costs.

Originally Posted by afrowheels
Useful perspective. Unfortunately top range gear is pretty expensive, especially when you hardly ever use it - so it won't be an option for most tourers I imagine (including myself). About the waterproof socks: I bought a pair (Fox brand) because of these kinds of recommendations and they were soaked the very first time I wore them in a downpour. What brand did you buy?
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Old 08-31-23, 08:04 PM
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Rain gear is funny. You put so much trouble into getting a good setup that you really want it to rain so you can put it to use and justify dragging it around.

But then you really don't want it to rain.
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Old 08-31-23, 08:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul_P
Rain gear is funny. You put so much trouble into getting a good setup that you really want it to rain so you can put it to use and justify dragging it around.

But then you really don't want it to rain.
IKR.

What I do is remind myself of the two times during one tour I got caught at altitude in cold rain without a sufficient jacket and rest easy knowing it’s worth toting around. I’ll never catch a case of weight weenieitis if I might face those conditions again.
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Old 09-01-23, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnJ80
In our group of 6, four had the Randy Sun waterproof socks. Everyone stayed dry and except for one person who one time tucked their pants into the top of the socks and you can imagine what happened there - the pants funneled water straight into the socks. Pro tip: you have to have the top of the sock covered.

The marginal cost difference between good rain gear and the cheap stuff is the difference between staying dry and being wet. The cheap stuff doesn’t breathe and if it’s even got good waterproofing, you’ll get wet from sweating. I bought cheap stuff the first time around and then bought the good stuff for exactly that reason. End result is that getting good rain gear cost me a lot more than it should have if I’d done it right the first time.

So I guess my thought is that if you don’t get good stuff then don’t bother and avoid rain at all costs.
Well, it does depend on conditions. Recently I found that I was fairly comfortable cycling in simple rain gear (the kind motorcyclists have in developing countries) on flat terrain in temperatures below 9C. Above 9C, or going up hills at that temperature, I started getting too sweaty.

Thanks for the sock recommendation. I did not know that the top was supposed to be covered...but then that's because some of the people who recommended them were using them with sandals. Not sure how that would work if the top has to be covered.

The longer story on my side is that I did have a GoreTex jacket but it's now water-resistant rather than waterproof, and had slightly better waterproof trousers that fell off my bike at some point.

Originally Posted by Paul_P
Rain gear is funny. You put so much trouble into getting a good setup that you really want it to rain so you can put it to use and justify dragging it around.

But then you really don't want it to rain.
Definitely my situation right now 😅

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Old 09-01-23, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by afrowheels
Well, it does depend on conditions. Recently I found that I was fairly comfortable cycling in simple rain gear (the kind motorcyclists have in developing countries) on flat terrain in temperatures below 9C. Above 9C, or going up hills at that temperature, I started getting too sweaty.

Thanks for the sock recommendation. I did not know that the top was supposed to be covered...but then that's because some of the people who recommended them were using them with sandals. Not sure how that would work if the top has to be covered.

The longer story on my side is that I did have a GoreTex jacket but it's now water-resistant rather than waterproof, and had slightly better waterproof trousers that fell off my bike at some point.



Definitely my situation right now 😅
if you don’t have the top of the sock layered, water runs down the pant or leg right into the sock and, hence, your shoe.
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Old 09-01-23, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnJ80
if you don’t have the top of the sock layered, water runs down the pant or leg right into the sock and, hence, your shoe.
But the sock is supposed to be waterproof...and people are apparently riding in sandals and waterproof socks.

Protecting the top of the boot is another problem I'm having right now but separate from the waterproof sock issue.
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Old 09-01-23, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Paul_P
Carried over from the "What's your can't live without gear ?" thread :



I've been wondering about this as I'm getty ready to go on a short camping only trip.
My experience with rain gear is that if I'm doing anything the least bit exerting, I'll get soaking wet inside the outer layer even if it's really cold out.
But I can also see that if it's cold, I wouldn't want to be drenched in the pouring rain unless I was really working hard and on a bike that might cause problems at contact areas.
Nor can I see myself spending several days in a tiny tent with nothing to do.

So what do you do when it rains a lot ?
The answer to your thread title is “poorly”. Your experience is not out of the norm for rain riding. Gore-Tex and other breathable rain gear works wonderfully if you are sitting around in the rain. Once you start to move, the “breathable” part is quickly overwhelmed and can’t handle the excess vapor you are generating. I find that I’m usually as wet on the inside as on the outside. The wet on the inside is generally warmer than the wet on the outside. That makes the difference, especially at higher altitudes where rain is usually accompanied by large temperature differentials.

In Colorado, temperatures can easily drop 40°F during rain. That quickly gets into dangerous territory. On the plus side, the rain gear provides some insulation which helps during those huge temperature drops. I’ve ridden in Wisconsin and Michigan during rain and it was just easier to ride without the rain gear because I was severely overheating. I rode 65 miles on a tour around Lake Michigan without rain gear and it was almost pleasant. I started with a rain jacket and it was simply too hot to ride that way.

I’ve never found anything from rubber coated nylon to high tech Gore-Tex that works. You just suffer through.
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Old 09-01-23, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by afrowheels
But the sock is supposed to be waterproof...and people are apparently riding in sandals and waterproof socks.

Protecting the top of the boot is another problem I'm having right now but separate from the waterproof sock issue.
it IS waterproof. So if you dump water inside of it, it will stay there. If you wear the sock on a bare leg with no rain pants your legs will get wet. The water on your legs runs down your legs due to gravity following the surface of your skin underneath the sock and will collect in the sock.

if you wear rain pants and they are over the very top of the sock, water will run down the pants on to the OUTSIDE of the waterproof sock and your feet will stay dry.

if you wear it with sandals it has no effect on waterproofness.
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Old 09-01-23, 02:47 PM
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Here's an example of what not to do in the wet. I used to do a regular commute (25 miles to/from work) by bike, with suitable clothing on my upper body, but no cycle shoes, just my leather work boots (short/low). Normally these boots were fine for cycling. However, one winter, I found out what happens when cycling in 1-4C with heavy sleet/snow. The boots would fill to the brim with ice cold slush that was sprayed/splashed up from the wheels. So, one ends up cycling with one's feet in an ice bath. Even though the rest of the body is nice and toasty, and one can just try and put up with cold feet, I found that it wasn't just a matter of discomfort. Eventually, I could feel the tendons/ligaments around my ankles squeaking due to having to operate in cryogenic conditions. Taking the hint, I then tipped out the slush from my boots. Fortunately, I made it home ok, but it might have been worse. Sometimes 'mind over matter' is not the best strategy for one's well being. Appropriate footwear is even better.
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Old 09-01-23, 06:01 PM
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I was a messenger over many harsh snowy NYC winters in the '80s-'90s.

We got an extra 5% commission on "foul-weather days" (snow, or rain, or hot enough that the carriage horses were called back from Central Park), because many would stay home, so there was lots of $ to be made by the, um, hardy. I showed up in whatever weather, and made that $. As a result, there is no way in hell that i would "pleasure bike" in snow, or icy, conditions. "Pleasure biking" is the derisive NYC messenger term for unpaid cycling.

The main secret i learned from those days is this: 2 pairs of heavy wool socks, with a plastic grocery bag in between them, held up (under your rain pants) by a rubber band, with "rubbers" worn over bike shoes (usually the long-gone canvas Bata Bikers). "Rubbers" are old-fashioned rubber shoe-covers for wearing over your dress shoes in the rain.

That stuff on my feet, and a rubberized nylon motorcycle rain-suit with pit-zips, and ski gloves, and ski goggles. And my thick wool ELITE COURIERS hat, from from my company (still have it).
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Old 09-02-23, 07:07 PM
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ShakeDry is the real deal. It is water PROOF, it does not wet out and therefore does breath and does not gain water weight, it is super light weight, it is super compact, it is windproof. No need to have a windbreaker and rain jacket or choose, it is both. Read Gore's description of their materials carefully. I believe that ShakeDry is the only thing out there that absolutely won't wet out. Just finished a tour with 3 friends. We had a couple days of some pretty heavy rain. I was dry and warm in my ShakeDry and the others were wet and miserable in their "rain" jackets. All three have since purchased ShakeDry jackets. I bought mine after being wet and miserable in a soaked, heavy Showers Pass "rain" jacket while one of my companions said he was never wet nor cold in his ShakeDry. He sold me. The ShakeDry cap is great too. I believe ShakeDry is what the pros use and I know we are not racing but rain is rain. Downsides are it is expensive, reportedly fragile, it is black (I use an ACA reflective triangle with it); and if I am not mistaken, it is out of production or soon will be due to environmental concerns. Supplies are limited and likely to become more and more so. I bought a second just in case and I am a cheap, retired accountant.
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Old 09-02-23, 09:59 PM
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I guess rain gear is only useful if it's not so warm that you'd sweat even with no clothing and infinite breathability. Then you might as well just get wet, which may even be refreshing. Shoes are the only real concern then, and if it's not possible to keep water getting into them, packing them away and using rubber sandals may be the best solution.
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Old 09-04-23, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Paul_P
Shoes are the only real concern then, and if it's not possible to keep water getting into them, packing them away and using rubber sandals may be the best solution.
Through 15 years of commuting and bike touring I go with bike sandals. Wear good socks for warmth, gortex socks or plastic bags when it rains. Sandals dry immediately, just change your socks. I rather put on damp sandals the next day as opposed to wet shoes. Current sandal offerings are poor these days . I use Shimano but they are not stiff enough but comfy for hanging in camp. I used to use Lakes, they were great.
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