Saturday, November 17, 2012

Riding in the Cool Rain ~

I have been commuted 10 miles each way to and from work by bike year round for quite a while but only recently put fenders a bike to ride in the rain - boy, does that help a lot! A great improvement.

Presented like this, it seems a bit much

Here is what I wear when the weather is done around 40 and rainy, which it was one day recently.

* Helmet - my everyday helmet. I only have one helmet and it has my required parking sticker on it (rather than put it on a bike, which would be a problem since I have several bikes I ride to/from work).

* Baseball cap - keeps rain from running down my face, which can be very unpleasant in a heavy rain.

* Waterproof rain jacket - I have used something called an "O2 Rainwear Cycling Rain Jacket" from Nashbar for what seems like ten years. This is an extremely lightweight jacket made of some 3M fabric that is good at the waterproof part although it doesn't breathe as well as some more expensive material (I assume). At $30 it comes with a stuff bag and is easy to have along "just in case." The main drawback is that it is fairly fragile material, easy to tear. I have not purchased a more expensive GoreTex sort of jacket because this can be used in layers or by itself and it has worked pretty well so far (and doesn't cost a lot).

* Long sleeve cycling jersey with hood - cheap lycra jersey from PerformanceBike. I like to have a long sleeve jersey like this with a hood since I can take the hood off easily if it is more than needed (or put it on) and the hood keeps wind from going down my neck.

* Short sleeve jersey - Another cheap jersey from Performance, to add a layer if it is 40 or below.

* Long sleeve base layer shirt - For me, a fairly pricey long sleeve thin (not heavy) Merino wool shirt from Ibex. I got this last year - it replaces a layer of polypropylene. Works well.

* Performance bike shorts - The more expensive "Ultra" Performance brand bike shorts last longer and compare with name brand bike shorts. The less expensive Performance brand bike shorts seem shoddy.

* Bicycle tights - I have had these so long I don't remember where they came from. They are just lycra or some lycra cotton mix and aren't waterproof or windproof. When it gets down to freezing I have some more substantial (and expensive) windproof/waterproof tights, but at 40 degrees they are too warm.

* Lightweight wool socks + pair of cotton socks - the shoes I wear in cooler weather are a size large so I can wear more than one pair of socks.

* Shimano RW80 Winter Road Boots - these are something I bought several winters ago in order to stop using summer shoes with various over-shoes and trying to cram extra socks into the shoes. They work quite well, although they are only moderately waterproof. And once they get damp inside, they are very slow to dry out.

* Addidas rubber shoe "booties" - If it is raining more than a drizzle, I usually pull these on.

* Performance Nanuk Waterproof Thermal Gloves - Silly name, but whatever (as they say). Somewhere around 45 I want to have full finger gloves and these are what I wear down to around freezing; cooler than that I want something more serious than these gloves. They aren't really waterproof although it does take a long time for them to get damp all the way through. Unfortunately they take a good long time to dry out.

So there you have it!

Bridgestone Sirius with (cheap) fenders
Newly installed fenders on 30 year old bike for rainy weather

The fenders mean that rain doesn't soak my backside; in fact, after ten miles in moderate rain the other day I could sit on a chair and not get the chair damp - pretty good! And the fenders make it a lot easier for the waterproof aspects of my footwear to work successfully - again, the other day when I got to work my socks were dry inside my shoes.


  1. Hi Michael...I really like the look of that bike with the might be 30 years old but it certainly appeals to me...

    I have only recently discovered your blog and have been catching up on your previous posts - I have now joined you as a follower and I would like to invite you to do the same over at my own blog:
    I look forward to reading more of your posts in the future..

  2. Thanks! Yes, I signed up for your blog also. This Bridgestone frame & form (which is "pre-Grant Petersen") was a lucky find on eBay at around $100 with shipping. The person selling posted a photograph that didn't show it off at all otherwise I think the price would have gone higher - lucky me! I don't think the frame was ever used! Best, Michael