Clothing: Riding In the Rain

What's the right clothing setup for rain riding?  It depends on the temperature.

When it's 70 degrees or warmer, rain riding is pretty simple.  We use a cycling cap with a brim and carry a rain jacket, and that's about it.

Once the temperature begins to get into the 40's, we get a bit more complicated.  And a single-day ride.

  • Cycling cap with a brim.  There are a few reasons we like these.  The brim keeps rain and grit out of your eyes.  The cap itself helps keep water from getting in your eyes from your forehead and hair.  We also make sure the cap has ear-flaps -- a three season cap.  Better too warm than too cold.
  • Helmet cover.  We typically don't wear this because we end up needing a headlight at some point in the ride.  However, a helmet cover is a good addition to a cap; it keeps water from endlessly flowing into your eyes.
  • Nitrile or latex gloves.  If you tend to get cold fingers or if you have Raynaud's disease you'll want to wear these under your regular cycling gloves.  Even when it's not cold, if it's raining, Raynaud's can be a problem -- and nitrile or latex gloves make a big difference.
  • Neck warmer:  A thin neck warmer is versatile and provides a bit of protection.  A cold neck is a nasty thing.
  • Embrocation.  Activates when wet.  If you're going to be out and wet all day, embrocation can help mitigate the feeling of cold.
  • Extra chamois creme.  Chaffing with a wet chamois.  Carrying individual packets for the tenth hour or riding in the rain can be a blessing.
  • Waterproof socks.  Dry feet can feel great.  Most socks aren't really waterproof.  Overshoes aren't really waterproof.  Waterproof socks are really waterproof.

We know some riders that carry spare gloves and cap.  We don't do this for single day rides.  However, if you're getting mentally down, a dry pair of gloves will feel good for a bit.  If you carry spare clothing, make sure they're in waterproof bags.

Fenders:  Read our thoughts here.  Essentially, for road riding they're great!  For mixed-terrain riding, not so great.

What gear do you rely on when you know you'll be riding in the rain?