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How to handle rain on the road

Old 08-15-23, 06:47 PM
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How to handle rain on the road

Carried over from the "What's your can't live without gear ?" thread :

Originally Posted by indyfabz
Rain gear if it might rain, especially at altitude.
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 ?
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Old 08-15-23, 09:59 PM
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I have often taken full days off due to rain. But that is on trips where I have either an open end on the schedule or where I could adjust my route to make up lost time.

On my Canadian Maritimes trip I took advantage of the wifi on the ferry to PEI, I saw five consecutive days of rain in the forecast. I chucked my plans, made reservations to spend several nights in the hostel in Charlottetown, PEI. It was really nice to have a dry indoor place to sleep during part of those five days of rain. I was only there for two days and three nights, but that made the rain before and after less daunting.

I usually tour in colder regions, thus use rain pants, rain jacket, shoe covers, rain cover for helmet, etc. Full finger gloves can be really nice to have when it is in the 40s (F) and raining. I like yellow lenses on my glasses in rain.



In the photo below, if I recall correctly on this day it was warm enough that I only used a helmet rain cover and rain jacket, no rain pants. Had several days of rain. On the first dry day after those rain days, I wore my campsite shoes on the bike and gave my cycle shoes a chance to rest and air out.


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Old 08-15-23, 10:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
I usually tour in colder regions, thus use rain pants, rain jacket, shoe covers, rain cover for helmet, etc. Full finger gloves can be really nice to have when it is in the 40s (F) and raining. I like yellow lenses on my glasses in rain.
Thanks Tourist, you've given me several things to think about. Now that my tent just arrived I thought I was pretty much done getting hold of what I didn't already have, but I realise I haven't thought about rain enough. It'd be nice to be warm and dry even if it was cold and raining. I have a good raincoat but I'm sure it's too long, tight and stiff to be comfortable on a bike. Ok for the campsite, though.

Nice pictures.
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Old 08-15-23, 10:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul_P
Thanks Tourist, you've given me several things to think about. Now that my tent just arrived I thought I was pretty much done getting hold of what I didn't already have, but I realise I haven't thought about rain enough. It'd be nice to be warm and dry even if it was cold and raining. I have a good raincoat but I'm sure it's too long, tight and stiff to be comfortable on a bike. Ok for the campsite, though.

Nice pictures.
My rain jacket is over a decade old, a Marmot Precip. Has a hood that I use in campsites, but never wear a hood on the bike.

Rain pants are REI Elements, which was discontinued many years ago. They are supposed to be breathable, not sure if they are or not. They have long enough zippers on the legs that I easily can get the pants on over the shoes. I hate continuously having to pull my pants up, thus I use suspenders on rain pants. That however can be very inconvenient when you have to take the jacket off to remove or put on the suspenders. Rain pants have to be long enough that when you bend your knee at the top of the pedal stroke, the rain pants still cover the tops of the shoe covers quite well.

Strap on the ankle to keep pants out of the chain.

Rain covers for shoes varies depending on which shoes I am using.

Helmet rain covers seem to rarely fit the helmet you have. That is a bit of a downside to those covers in general. Sometimes I wear the cover to keep the wind out in cooler weather. My month long trip in Iceland, I never took the cover off. I use helmets that have a visor over the front.

I use a leather saddle. I put a rain cover over that to keep the leather from getting too wet. Also, put the cover on it every night in case of dew. Brooks Proofide is a leather treatment, that helps make the leather more water repellant, but you really do not want a leather saddle to get soaked.
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Old 08-15-23, 11:09 PM
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First of, fenders, long ones. Ages ago a friend of mine used to make fun of my fenders until the day we got caught way out there on heavy rain. his bike was flinging water all over the place which doubled down on his misery.

There is some fantastic rain gear that will keep you bone dry. It still need to breathe or else you'll be soaking wet from perspiration. If you want the ultimate cycling dryness look at kayaking jackets, they are designed to shed splashing water so rain is not even a concern. You can get them pretty darn close around your face and with adjustable cuffs. Basically the design lends itself keep you from all the splashing you are bound to encounter while riding your bike, including cars spraying you full force.




I still mourn my old Patagonia Lotus design kayaking jacket. I used it for everything :'(
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Old 08-16-23, 01:52 AM
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I have a dedicated seat post bag for the Rover rain cape, which rolls up very compact (& lightweight):
https://cleverhood.com/products/rove...40416266715341

Capes/ponchos are good at keeping rain off whilst providing plenty of cooling air circulation - as opposed to a rain jacket, where you can end up sweating yourself as wet as you would have been without it.

For cycling in colder weather, I'd recommend the Carradice Duxback Rain Poncho.
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Old 08-16-23, 03:48 AM
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Make sure any rain gear is still waterproof before you head out. Ask me how I know.

Personally, I like my Showers Pass jacket. My pants are an old pair from REI that I have re-treated. My hands have always been susceptible to cold, so I bring good, waterproof gloves if I think the conditions might call for them.
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Old 08-16-23, 07:54 AM
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I will double-endorse the Marmot Precip (make sure any rain jacket you take has PIT ZIPS!!!), and the Carradice Poncho, although i have the (much lighter/smaller-folding) day-glo one, not the waxed-canvas one. I usually take both.

That Rover poncho looks very nice also.
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Old 08-16-23, 08:13 AM
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If it’s warm enough I ride in speedos and a thin rainjacket.
Dog poop bags between socks and shoes will keep feet warm if not dry. Rolled up newspaper in shoes works wonders drying them out overnight.
Hands can get cold after a while, so I wear thin gloves, but not rainproof, as they become nigh on impossible to put back on when wet on the inside (from condensation and water running down your arms) and take ages to dry out.
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Old 08-16-23, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by imi
If it’s warm enough I ride in speedos and a thin rainjacket.
!!!!.

I have no words.
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Old 08-16-23, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Paul_P
So what do you do when it rains a lot?
Run daytime lights.

Day of rain on the road = running the lights all day.

Dynamo/generator hub. Or, I have a little CatEye HL-EL135N that doubles as a camp flashlight & allegedly will flash for 320 hours.
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Old 08-16-23, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Paul_P
So what do you do when it rains a lot?
One of my touring mentors 40++ years ago answered, "I get wet."

Wet + cold = bad.

Wet + warm = shrug. I mean, so long as you're not the Wicked Witch of the West.

Mind your chain lubrication.
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Old 08-16-23, 09:34 AM
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Something I think about when evaluating tents: could I pitch this in a rain & have the interior be dry when I get it erected?

The answer is usually 'no', but it's still something I consider.
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Old 08-16-23, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Paul_P
Nor can I see myself spending several days in a tiny tent with nothing to do.
Hmm. That might have been how my first child was conceived.

Anyway, you know, dispersed camping in SW Idaho during a tropical storm, yeah, maybe, but otherwise it's a good day to visit the local history museum, check out the local library and sample some local cuisine. Sit in a little diner for a bit and catch up your Crazy Guy journal.
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Old 08-16-23, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by ignant666
!!!!.

I have no words.
Haha! Theory being it keeps clothes dry.
Not the skimpiest model, although I, as all other bicycle tourists, do have extremely beautiful well-trained legs 🤣
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Old 08-16-23, 10:35 AM
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If the weather is warm enough that I won't freeze when I get wet, I get wet. If the weather is cold enough that I'd freeze if I got wet I have a set of rain gear complete with rainproof socks and gloves (sealskins are really great).

The membranes on my rain gear are breathable enough that I don't really get all that sweaty when riding. If I do get soaked by sweat though, my reasoning is that I'd rather be wet with a limited amount of my own body temperature sweat rather than a limitless supply of ice cold rain. I've tried both.
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Old 08-16-23, 10:39 AM
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Three general thoughts:

* Temperature matters. My rain jacket is good at keeping out the rain, but I also sweat into it. If it stays relatively warm (over 55F), not as big a deal particularly if I can change into something warm later. However, if it gets much colder then I need to cover hands/feet/head and also watch layers to manage sweat better.

* Duration/outlook matters. I don't mind setting up a tent in the rain. It isn't too bad to take down a tent in the rain. However, doing both and cycling in the rain is a bummer. So it is different between a drenching row of thunderstorms coming through vs. an all day soak. There is also difference between a Pacific Northwest day when it is wet all day but only 0.1 inches fall (ride through it), a Midwest thunderstorm that quickly drops 0.25 inches and moves on in an hour (wait it out) and some day when a post-hurricane drenching comes with 2.0 inches (rain day).

* Length of the trip matters. A short weekend trip or a few days and I don't have as much to play with so often the choice is more "ride/camp through it or skip/adjust my trip. On a longer trip, I'll typically have a "budget" and if I'm "ahead" more inclined to find a spot to take a rest day - and if behind or starting out, more inclined to ride.

I'm currently in my 4th month of a trip riding and visiting State capitols. I've been doing mostly motels. Last week I took a rain day and the week before also took one. Otherwise took a heat day in July in Iowa and rode through most what came at me. Nothing too bad after the first few days (drenching rain at my start and several days the first week but it seemed too early to take rain days).
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Old 08-16-23, 10:45 AM
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90F and rain? Bring it on! It's usually just a passing thundershower.
80F and rain? No problem
70F and rain? Maybe I should put on the rain jacket. I'll sweat in it.
60F and rain? Hmm, if I'm wet and the temperatures are expected to drop, this could be bad. Maybe add the rain pants.
50F and rain? Staying warm and as dry as possible is high priority now. Don't push it. Seek shelter.
40F and rain? Evacuate.
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Old 08-16-23, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Xavier65
I have a dedicated seat post bag for the Rover rain cape, which rolls up very compact (& lightweight):
https://cleverhood.com/products/rove...40416266715341
Thanks Xavier, I'll probably go with this, in yellow. I just found a bike shop 20 minutes ride away that apparently have one left in their warehouse, they're checking and will get back to me.

Already have Marmot rain pants.
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Old 08-16-23, 12:57 PM
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I knew in advance from the forecast, heavy rain was coming.

Set up the tent in the only spot that had high ground. And as you can see in the photo, it was flatter than a pancake. The area above the rock wall was not available for camping.



Yup, I found the high ground, tent was not flooded out. Photo was deceptive, the grass was taller than the puddles were deep, thus some of the area that looks like it is grass is in fact an inch deep in water. Both of the adjacent sites were flooded.



Next day was heavy wind, stayed at that camp for three nights, which included the rain day and the wind day.

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Old 08-16-23, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by ignant666
I will double-endorse the ..., and the Carradice Poncho, although i have the (much lighter/smaller-folding) day-glo one, not the waxed-canvas one. .
I used the day-glo (yellow/green) Carradice poncho for many years. It's very good. Mine then got nibbled by mice. I tried to get another one, but they didn't do the exact same version, so I shopped around. I ended up with the Rover for warm days, and the waxed canvas for wintry ones.
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Old 08-16-23, 02:20 PM
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Temporary rain shelter on the road...

I was cycling between Decatur and Springfield and a line of storms came through. AccuWeather gave me radar and suggested hail, so I was in the shelter until most intense burst passed.

A little later I reached Springfield and the post office (to pick up Adventure Cycling Route 66 map which I had mailed myself General Delivery) when it looked dark and ominous. Waited briefly inside when...

The power went out. The post office employees scooped up myself and a few other customers and we waited things out in the tornado shelter of the post office.
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Old 08-16-23, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN

That could be my bike there, in the picture. Mountain bike, yellow frame, black everything else, fenders, Brooks saddle, front and rear racks, 4 Ortlieb panniers + bar bag.

Except for the bars. Mine are slightly risen and slightly swept back flat bars with Ergon GP-1 grips.

Last edited by Paul_P; 08-16-23 at 05:28 PM.
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Old 08-16-23, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul_P
That could be my bike there, in the picture. Mountain bike, yellow frame, black everything else, fenders, Brooks saddle, front and rear racks, 4 Ortlieb panniers + bar bag.

Except for the bars. Mine are slightly risen and slightly swept back flat bars with Ergon GP-1 grips.
Touring bike, not a mountain bike, but the frame is designed to accommodate a 100mm suspension fork, so I can see how you might think it is a mountain bike, it has 57mm wide tires on it. On that trip I was using Carradry panniers in back, not Ortliebs.



And some trips I use Ortlieb panniers. I consider this to be my heavy touring bike, built to carry a load.

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Old 08-16-23, 08:30 PM
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If you line your leg warmers to stay warm in the rain, do not use the Sunday circulars.


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