On the East Coast, most of the rainy bike commutes are over, and they're slowly becoming snowy commutes. In the Pacific North West, in cities like Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco, the rain is just starting to come into full effect.
After gearing up, setting yourself and your bike up to ride in the rain, you'll be saying "bring on the downpour." (Or maybe not :)
The biggest hurdle for getting out the to bike to work in the rain is setting yourself up right. You know, "set yourself up for success!" Spend a little to get the right gear, and you're going to be patting yourself on the back for biking to work and LOVING it during the rainy season.
So here goes: the best gear for biking in the rain.
1. Bike Fenders
At the top of the list for staying dry on a bike commute, is always a good set of fenders. Full coverage fenders will certainly do you best. But you can get away with using any type of fender to help keep all of the water on the road from splashing up onto you.
If you don't have fenders that cover the entire length of your wheel, you may consider also installing mud flaps that can help increase the coverage area of your fender.
2. Rain Coat
There are a few essentials for the ride, and this is one of them. You'll want to keep your upper body dry and comfortable for your commute. A solid rain coat, can be expensive, but will last you through many seasons and keep you happy!
Showerpass makes a lot nice completely waterproof rain coats specifically for bike commuters, so checking out their stuff is well worth a look. Otherwise any highquality fully waterproof jacket will be great. They also have a lot of other great gear like pants and gloves that can come in handy.
You may also consider something like the Cleverhood Rain Cape, which is a different style rain coat with slightly different funtionality. They run a bit longer to cover your legs, but offer for a lot of breathability. They may allow in a little bit more rain than a tight fitting coat.
3. Waterproof Bike Bag
Of course, this is where we come in with the shameless plug. You need an awesome, waterproof bike bag to keep your stuff dry on a good rainy bike commute. Depending on the type of commuter that you are, you might prefer a messenger bag, backpack, or pannier.
A waterproof messenger bag or pannier can also help keep your back dry and warm on your commute, but a pannier will be great for carrying a few of those extra things like a set of dry clothes.
4. The Right Pants
Lets not forget about your lower body, starting with pants! This can be one of the most challenging things to really keep dry, as rain pant technology is just not as good as some of the other things you can get. Very often you'll keep dry on the outside, but you're overheating inside, or the pants are breathable but not completely waterproof. As mentioned above, the combination of fenders with a rain cape can help keep your legs dry.
Using a waterproof (even light ski pants) over your pants, can help keep you dry in lighter rains. You can find some good waterproof and water resistant cycling pants at REI, and again at ShowerPass.
5. Water Resistant Shoes or Shoe Covers
Getting the right pair of shoes is a big one. I mean...your feet are closest to the splatter of the ground, and are extremely likely to get soaked first. A quick tip, and probably the most simple solution is to always carry a pair of rain booties (or shoe covers) with you in your bag, just in case the rain does come, you'll be prepared. They come in many styles, can can be easy to carry around.
You can also go ahead and grab a pear of water resistant or waterproof shoes or boots. The only down side is if you didn't want to wear these around all day, you'd have to bring a change of shoes with you to work, but not a huge deal. Definitely a comfortable and reasonable solution.
In the rain especially, and in the cold, you'll want to protect your hands as a your first line of defense to keep comfortable and warm on your commute. There are a lot of great options for bike commuters, but honestly, any glove will help and if they get too wet, set them up on a heater to dry before your bike commuter home!
7. Small Fan or Heater
You may want to get yourself an inexpensive, small fan or heater for your office. When you get there, something is bound be wet, and you'll want that baby dry for the way home. Consider setting one of these up to get your gloves or hat toasty for the ride back.
How are YOU cycling in the rain? Do you have any tips of your own for what gear you would use to bike commute in wet conditions?