It was a dark and stormy night . . . and I went for a bike ride.
No judgment here if you prefer to keep your bike rides on the dry side — we work for all kinds of riders! If you do want to keep rolling into the wet season you’ll be wondering how to maximize comfort and minimize soggy socks, among other challenges.
Our cold weather riding tips apply on cold wet days too, so start there. Our Instagram friends have been sharing pictures of wet riding, so draw some inspiration from them. Then dig into the advice below that we rounded up from Twitter with tips ranging from brand names to low-budget ideas like plastic bags.
[Tweet “Sharing rainy riding gear tips from plastic bags to fenders #ibikeinrain”]
We had our ABC of cold-weather riding; now we have the DEFG of rainy riding. Things to think about as you decide whether you need some additional gear for you and your bike for bicycling in the rain:
Dry feet are happy feet. Spring for foot covers, improvise with plastic bags, wear waterproof boots — tactics vary but everyone said something about feet. As in cold weather, wool socks-wool socks-wool socks to keep feet warm even if they end up damp.
Evaporation is a challenge. As one person said, “waterproof” and “breathable” are mutually exclusive terms. When you keep rain out you keep sweat in; your goal is a balance you can live with.
[Tweet “One of the rainy-riding challenges: “waterproof” & “breathable” don’t coexist well. #ibikeinrain”]
Fenders are everyone’s friend. A front fender is your friend; it minimizes spray shooting up at your feet on the pedals. A rear fender is friendly for the rider behind you; it cuts the rooster-tail effect. An extra-long fender works even better for this. If it’s reflective like our WA Bikes fenders (blatant plug), it adds visibility on those dark and rainy days.
Gloves x two. Cold clammy gloves at the end of the day don’t help you stay warm. More than one person suggests using two pair, one for the morning ride, one for going home. They’ll dry faster if you prop them up to air-dry; try standing them on a couple of empty toilet-paper tubes or a piece of PVC pipe with holes bored in it as a DIY project.
Rain knickers are great in light/moderate rain if not too cold. The open lower end let’s legs breathe so perspiration dries, yet 3/4 length coverage protects well, especially if wearing booties over shoes.
I also like my REI jacket with mix of water-repellant chest/back/arm panels and breathable sides and underarm areas. Good balance of rain protection and ventilation for our Seattle area commuting(unless it is raining hard).