Riding in the rain is something that will make most people reach for their car keys. If you can make the mental resolution that it’s just water, albeit cold, and that with the right gear you won’t get appreciably wet then riding in the rain is no problem at all.
For me it’s better than a nice day because there are less riders out on the bike-paths. Riding on a nice day is a social activity, so don’t get me wrong, it’s that I like having the peace of the empty bike-paths when riding in the rain because it’s more personal. Riding in adverse weather intensifies the solo experience of being a cyclist; which I think is part of why people like it. Just rider and machine against weather and terrain.
So what equipment makes riding in the rain achievable or even enjoyable?
- Waterproof jacket: probably the key piece of kit to keep the rain from soaking your torso, and for most cycling-specific jackets it will cover your butt from a soaking if you don’t have mudguards.
- Booties: over-shoes to prevent your feet getting soaked. Front mudguards aren’t enough to keep your feet dry and booties are required.
- Waterproof socks: in combination with booties your feet will be dry in even most torrential downpours (provided your cleats are sealed).
- Gloves: if your fingers are wet then the wind-effect will cool them down even more than the rain. Gloves that keep your fingers dry are excellent.
- Mudguards: I think this makes riding in the rain much more enjoyable. Particularly as one gains speed over 30kph and the water from the front wheel begins to rise up towards the rider’s face.
- Rain-legs: although I don’t have them they are a good choice to keep your legs drier. Waterproof pants are really only for downpours and most equipment is not waterproof enough for that much rain.
Next time you would like to ride but look outside and see it raining realise that you can get out in it anyway and even enjoy it. A little bit of equipment will keep you dry and therefore warm. For me, the jacket and booties are enough unless it’s very cold and I need to add gloves.
After all – rain is just water.