When the weather decides to throw a curve ball like today, it’s easy to get caught out on your bike and get absolutely soaked on the cycle home. This is when you discover that cycling jacket you are wearing is definitely water resistant as opposed to water proof.
Cycling home with wet legs
The one that most people choose to just live with is wet legs. However, it doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. A pair of DHB Waterproof trousers can put a full stop to wet legs and jeans. They also protect your trousers for road muck that can stain. For a pair of cycling specific DHB trousers the cost is £38.39. Alternatively, any cheap pair of waterproof trousers you pickup from an outdoor shop will do the trick.
Cycling jacket or waterproof mac?
The next is the top half. Whilst cycling jackets like the Rapha Bomber Jacket are perfect for dry days they will let you down on a rainy commute home. Instead, you have a few alternatives.
The first and most obvious is a waterproof cycling jacket. Both Altura and DHB have affordable jackets that pack down in to a small size to store away in your bag “just in case”. The DHB Minima also has a female version.
The alternative is a waterproof mac. This looks far less “cyclist” and the long length makes it perfect for greater protection against the rain. However, it can restrict your movement slightly in the shoulder department. You can find a great selection of macs in any shop but you may consider a cycling specific version such as those sold by Water Off A Duck’s Back or the Cambridge Rain Coat company. I’ve just cycled home using a mac from Marks & Spencer and it kept my suit perfectly dry.
Keeping your laptop dry
It’s not great getting home and discovering water has seeped in to your bag. Unless you are using waterproof panniers, then a waterproof cover for your backpack may be a good idea. A lot of cyclists in London use the Hump Cover however I’ve heard quite a few negative opinions on this so I can’t recommend it (see the comments below).
Keeping your feet dry
Keeping your feet dry whilst cycling is always a challenge. Home made solutions such as a plastic bag over your socks work surprisingly well – though you certainly won’t be stopped at the side of the road by someone wanting to take a picture for your great fashion sense.
The alternative is to buy a pair of overshoes, a pair of Seal Skinz waterproof cycling socks or a pair of cycling specific shoes. These tend to come with far more waterproofing than your typical pair of converse.
Keeping your back dry
The mudguard, love it or loathe it, is pretty essential in the horrible conditions. If you are not a fan of having it as a permanent fixture on your bike then a folding mudguard may appeal. We’ve written more about mudguards here.
Bike specific gear or just any old jacket?
This is always a good follow-on question to a post such as this one. The answer is you can wear pretty much anything to stay dry on your bike, it doesn’t have to be designed specifically for cycling. The added benefit is that the fit will be more comfortable and better suited to the arms forward position you use to ride a bike (I hope). Also, you tend to get some reflective features.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this timely post, I’m off to cycle down to Camden in my waterproof mac!
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.