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Master the weather

3 June, 2011

It’s not bad weather, just the wrong clothes. Bike riding is an outdoor activity and weather is half the fun. I love to see the sun light up the treetops in the park on my daily ride. I also love the clean fresh look of the world right after the rain. Sometimes that rain unavoidably falls while I’m riding but I’m usually dressed for it because, as a bike rider, I’m generally aware of the weather forecast.

Here are some items to keep you comfy through winter rides:

Jacket Get one with plenty of vents, such as under the arms, because you get hot very quickly in these. Don’t be tempted to get a fully waterproof one because these aren’t breathable enough and you sweat buckets inside them.

Full-fingered gloves Look for versions with wind-blocking properties

Skullcap or hat Nice if it covers your ears too

Tights My favourites have wind-blocking fabric in the knees

Booties  These are a waterproof layer that fit snugly over your shoes to keep your feet warm and dry.

Bike shops have all sorts of other goodies as well and advice to help you decide what’s best for you.

Of course you don’t have to go for the sporty look.

Try this as a general principle: keep your extremities warm and just wear enough layers on your body to be comfortable after you’ve warmed up. You might feel cold at first but you don’t end up sweaty at the end. It’s a bit of an art to dress perfectly for the temperature and it’s satisfying when you get it right.

Tip – Mudguards make you happy

They’re not sexy but mudguards are a true friend to the all-weather rider. Fit them and forget them and they’re there when you need them. I reckon about two thirds of the saturation you get from riding in the rain is from spray from the wheels, while one third comes from the rain falling down. When it’s not raining but the roads are wet you get nothing on you if you have mudguards. You also reduce the water and crud being sprayed onto your drivetrain, which reduces wear of those parts.

There are mudguard designs for all types of bikes and they’re not an expensive accessory. Give them a try. They make me a happy rider.

This post was part of Ride On‘s June riding challenge.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. 27 July, 2011 11:57 am

    With regards to the rain jacket. Not sure what you mean by “fully waterproof” but I have (or had – lost it on my last tour) a Showers Pass Elite 2.0 jacket which is made of eVent (three layers) material. This is a very effective rain jacket and rates up there in waterproofness and is very breathable given the material. On the downside they are expensive. $260 or thereabouts. There are also Gore-Tex options that again rate pretty well.

    Personally I wouldn’t bother with any rain jacket unless it was of at least 2.5 layers of decent material (eVent, Gore-Tex or Hydrofoil) and would go where possible, with an eVent material jacket over Gore-Tex (haven’t tried a Hydrofoil jacket so cannot comment on them – Ground Effect do one but). I have a Gore-Tex bushwalking jacket and a Gore-Tex Paclite cycling jacket. For touring/commuting the eVent material comes out in front in my view. Probably too heavy/bulk but for racing but then when racing one should harden up anyway and not bother with a jacket :).

  2. Randall Oakley permalink
    16 September, 2013 10:14 am

    I don’t bother with a raincoat, a wind breaker keeps you warm without weighing you down.

  3. James permalink
    17 September, 2013 8:13 am

    I would suggest a bright coloured rain jacket, possibly with removable sleeves. When you need a rain jacket the light is often dull, so bright colours help you to be seen. You might also want to put on a jacket at night just because it’s cold, so again a bright colour is good at night.

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