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Wet weather commute(11 posts)

Wet weather commutedirthersh
Apr 12, 2002 9:22 AM
I've been commuting to work here in Seattle, but never in the rain. What I want to do is use my Mt. bike for the sometimes soggy ride. My plan is to get some fenders for my bike, though because of my front suspension fork, they (it) would be the shorter kind. Of course I'd get a rain jacket and pants and I'm thinking of a helmet cover. I bought some covers for my shoes that look like they'd keep most of the rain out. So my question is am I expecting too much from my gear, thinking I'll get to work fairly dry, or should I skip the fenders and helmet cover because they won't do that much good.There are no shower facilities where I work and usually carry my lunch and work clothes in a small day pack when I do commute.I'll be riding about 15 miles one way with about half on a paved trail and the other half on a wide road shoulder. Any input from experienced sloshers would be appreciated
#1 thing to have is fendersAhimsa
Apr 12, 2002 9:48 AM

Most of the water that will get on you comes from the tires, not the sky. It is also the dirtiest water.

You need fenders and a water proof bag for dry clothes and shoes. Everything else is about comfort and warmth.

If you buy gear at all make it a high quality breathable rain jacket. Your torso is the most important part to keep dry if you wish to maintain a stable body temperature on colder days.

Today I rode in the rain in a T-shirt and shorts. I have extra clothes here. I wasn't really that wet when I arrived, so I did not need to change.

Full raingear is nice for sure. Really nice in a heavy downpour or cold rains. Truthfully though, no rain gear will keep you 100% dry in 100% of circumstances.

I'd suggest trial and error as you will learn what works and is tolerable for you. Some days I just get sopping wet and change afterward. Other days I try to remain dry as best I can.

To reitterate:

2)Waterproof bag for your gear and clothes
3)Rain Jacket


A. (It may be tough now, but it will be second nature in time)
and #2 is...gtx
Apr 12, 2002 10:08 AM
Road Bike Fender Recommendationsakjohn
Apr 13, 2002 9:17 AM
Greetings...I live in Juneau, AK and would like to commute to work this summer. Last summer, I bought some fenders that were supposed to fit road bikes. Unfortunately, they did not work. (not enough wheel clearance).
Any recommendations on good road bike fenders that are easy to install and remove?
The problem with rain gearczardonic
Apr 12, 2002 10:22 AM
Maybe it's just me, but even "breathable" gear leaves me damp from perspiration. I usually end up wondering if I am any drier than if I just braved the elements, and pondering the pros and cons of rainwater vs. sweat.

I usually compromise and go with a long sleeve regular jersey and waterproof pants. The jersey keeps mee feeling dry, and it dries out quickly.

Good, waterproof shoe covers are worth the money.

IMO, good visibility is more important than keeping bone dry. If you get rain gear, make sure that it is neon yellow with reflective pinstripes (well, as visible as possible, anyway). And use lights at all times.
re:If you ride in the rain long enough you will be wet.dzrider
Apr 12, 2002 10:52 AM
As others have pointed out, either sweat or seapage will eventually get you. I go for rain gear that works real well for the first few minutes and, if it's cold a wool sweater and wool sox. It's like swimming in the ocean, once you're completely wet it's less of a problem.

I also vote for fenders, especially up front. My rack does an adequate job on the back.

Third recommendation is a hat with a brim.

Last but not least plastic bags. Little one for my wallet, bigger ones for my clothes, and should a rainy afternoon follow a sunny morning, an emergency poncho.
Thousands of Seattle commuters all agree....Trent in WA
Apr 12, 2002 12:53 PM
I commuted all winter long with the following combo:

1) Ancient Trek 970 mtb, no suspension, slick tires, full fenders;
2) Burley Rapid Rider rain jacket;
3) Performance Ultrex rain pants;
4) Bartells' Drugs plastic shower cap for helmet cover;
5) Campy cap underneath helmet on really wet days to keep some water off my glasses;
6) Ortlieb panniers.

Tons of folks here use similar setups for riding through the winter and the equally rainy spring season. With this combination, while I did occasionally show up to school a little sweaty, I only got appreciably wet those times I wound up biking through deep puddles on the Burke-Gilman. Fenders are absolutely essential for keeping yourself reasonably dry in the rain. If you don't use them, you'll get drenched from spray coming off your tires. In fact, I think they're so necessary that if you can afford to, I'd suggest getting an unsprung bike of some description to use as your commuter just so you could fit full fenders and mudflaps on it.

Hope this helps,
re: Wet weather commuteMelMo
Apr 12, 2002 1:06 PM
I'll second the Burley rain jacket--my husband has one and it's great thanks to jumbo venting. (IMHO, venting is more important that "breathable" fabrics.) I'm also a Seattle commuter, though mine is shorter than yours (6 mi, Ballard to downtown via B-G and Dexter). WIth my shorter commute, I've found I only need/want rainpants or helmet cover on really pouring days w/temps less than 45. I got through the most of the winter in regular tights, my second-hand coated nylon Bellwether rain jacket(big vents!), and a fleece earband. On pouring days I wore my jacket plus a regular cycling cap under my helmet, since the brim helped keep water out of my eyes and the cap kept my head warm, SIdetrak shoe covers, and Xalt rain pants from Performance. But I seem to generate enough body heat riding that I'm warm even in wet tights at temps above the lower 40's. The only thing I'd like to add for next winter is better full finger gloves, since my hands do get cold when wet.

I have a road bike w/full fenders (no mud flaps--haven't gotten around to it), and they are really helpful for keeping you dry, especially the front one for keeping road goo off your shins.

Re: work. It helps to have some way to get your bike clothes dry. I have a little space heater in my cube, and I drape my gear over my recycling bin and crank on the heater. It's dry by noon. Pre-space heater, evening commutes were miserable because I started out in cold, wet gear. Yuck.

You're not expecting too much of your gear--you may be overestimating how much you'll need, especially for summer rains.

Good luck--riding in the rain is a blast, and I enjoy the folks at work looking at me like I'm a little unhinged when I show up dripping.

Front fender!TypeOne
Apr 12, 2002 1:34 PM
I have probably seen MelMo out on Dexter on soggy days--along with many other cyclists.

The clothing suggestions listed here are valuable. I don't mind getting a little wet (sweat or rain), but getting my feet wet really bugs me. Neoprene booties, thin wool socks and waterproof oversocks seem to do the trick. I have read people rave about some sort of watertight cycling "boot" that I think is made by Northwave. But the cheaper option works for my puddle-jumping in Seattle.
I have to say that a good front fender, even a downtube clip-on, helps keep that front-tire splash to a minimum.
Have fun! Riding in the rain is fun. Riding in the WIND and rain is not.
Fenders, fenders, fenders (and a poncho)retro
Apr 12, 2002 2:02 PM
Got a waxed cotton poncho from Rivendell (any surplus-store poncho would work, though) and I use that with fenders. The fenders stop the spray from below and the poncho (which has thumb loops so you can hold it out by the bars) stops the rain, while air can circulate under it. I don't ride in the rain a lot (it doesn't rain much where I live), but it works pretty well when I do.
No poncho!Kerry
Apr 12, 2002 5:02 PM
I rode with a poncho for years - huge wind drag and my lower legs got wet, even with full coverage fenders and a mud guard. I strongly recommend a full rain suit. In fact I have two: a "good" one I keep at home and a coated nylon one I keep at work. I don't use the one at work often, but there are days when I head to work on a sunny morning with nothing in the forecast, and by the time I head home, it's raining cats and dogs.