Thursday, April 14, 2011

Equipment for wet weather riding

Here in Australia it is Autumn. In the south this means that it is getting wetter. We actually had a wet summer, for the first time in a very long time. So wet weather riding is on my mind.

Pannier Bags. I gave away my fancy waterproof pannier bags to my daughter. I've made do with cheap $50 bags for quite a while now. I'm fanatical about putting everything in plastic bags anyway. Would I substitute Ortlieb? Maybe if I was touring for months on end. I think the reliability would be the main deciding factor.

Mudguards? Yes, definitely. It's a point of transition from when you think you are a racing cyclist to when you become a touring cyclist. Racers don't have mudguards. I have the cheap plastic version. They work fine.

Waterproof pants? Yes. Definitely. If it is at all cold, and you have to ride all day in the rain, they are essential. But I can't see the need for very fancy pants. I just make do with cheap waterproof plastic pants from Aussie Disposals.

Which brings us to jackets. I've used cheap jackets. The problem? They stop being waterproof after a while. They heat up, so you sweat a lot. Then you need to drink more water. So you need to carry more water. This is a real problem in Australia. Water is scarce even though it is raining? Yes, amazingly enough.

I don't skimp on jackets. I go for the top of the range Netti D3 rainjacket. You don't see many about. But when I went on the Great Victorian Bike Ride, on a rainy day, about 70% of the participants were all wearing this jacket. It was quite weird. They are great. Don't heat up. Adjustable. Even come with a waterproof hood. But I haven't worn it yet.  They  are not cheap but they are absolutely worth every dollar.

Shoes? Oh, my kingdom for a waterproof shoe. No matter what I try, nothing works. At the end of the day my shoes are soaked, my socks are soaked, my feet are wrinkled beyond belief. Dear bike type tech geniuses out there - please, please invent a way of riding a bicycle in the rain all day without getting soaked feet.


Lenymo said...

I recently got a pair of shoe covers (kind of like booties that surfers or divers might wear) but haven't had a chance to wear them yet. I found that waterproof pants with a velcro ankle strap (to protect pants from the chain) provide a perfect funnel for a whole leg's worth of rain. With the long winter ahead it's sure to get a decent test.

I'll have to get one of those mud guards to strap on to the seat pole.

Andrew Jennings said...

If you find a way to keep your feet dry then a whole world of cyclists will be eternally grateful....