Riding comfortably in the rain is easy using some common sense, preparation, and a bit of additional gear.
There is no such thing as “bad biking weather”, just ask those happy folks cycling around rainy Portland or snowy Minneapolis every day of the year! Let’s take a look at how they do it, while staying stylish and still arriving at home or work in warm, dry socks.
On your body:
- A synthetic or wool (non-cotton) base layer (underclothes) will keep the sweat from sticking.
- A wool or fleece (again, non-cotton) outer layer (shirt or sweater) will breathe but keep you warm in cold temperatures.
- A waterproof jacket or rain cape will keep the water out, but avoid hoods that cover your ears and keep you from hearing traffic noise.
- Waterproof rain pants and boots or shoe covers will keep you dry from all of the water that your tires will splash up from the roadway.
- Neon and bright colors are especially important in dim but not dark conditions.
- A waterproof bag, pannier, or backpack will ensure that all of your valuables stay dry even if you don’t.
- You can put a rain cover over your bike helmet but avoid wearing a hood that covers your ears. You need to be able to hear traffic to stay safe, especially in rainy conditions.
Alternately, if it is rainy but not too cold you can ride in quick drying, synthetic biking gear but carry a change of clothes in a waterproof bag or pannier. Once at work you can then towel off and change into your work clothes, then by the end of the day your bike gear is (mostly) dry and ready for you to ride home in!
Consider keeping a pair of shoes, socks, and pants at work that you can change into in a pinch, in case you are caught in the rain and arrive at work wetter than expected.