We have talked about waterproofs and strategies for staying in dry in the past. One item that we have not really reviewed but many of you have mentioned is a poncho. These waterproof items are a little more versatile in some respects than a normal rain jacket, but also have their own limitations.
The People’s Poncho – £58
Set up by brother and sister duo Iona and Johnny, The People’s Poncho was inspired by the garments worn for city cycling in China. They believe that cycling doesn’t need to be complicated or restricted by bad weather, as do we!
The poncho comes in a one size fits all design. Like the basic ponchos found in China, this poncho pulls over your head and has some press studs to close up the neck when on. There is a waterproof pocket on the front and a hood with a little peak. Inside the front there are two large hand tabs to keep the poncho over your lap when on the bike. There is a press stud on each side to make sleeves for when you are off the bike.
It is available in 4 colours: black, navy, camouflage and yellow, allowing you to pick stealth or highly visible.
This is a really well priced product, especially given that it fulfils the role of jacket and trousers. It can also play double duty when out hiking or even just wandering around town. I really don’t like waterproof trousers, but I also don’t always like having wet knees when out walking around. This poncho solves that problem.
The fabric is very much like the laminate fabrics you find in nice waterproof jackets. The water beads up nicely and can be shaken off but the fabric is still quite soft to the touch. Because it is a poncho it is pretty breathable anyway, but the fabric feels like it won’t get clammy in warm humid weather, making this a much more appropriate summer cycling waterproof.
The People’s Poncho is a great length for wearing off the bike, the sides are long enough to cover your arms fully. The fabric is really lightweight but completely waterproof. It doesn’t feel like it is weighing you down at all and therefore should be comfortable in the summer as well as the winter with layers underneath. A further benefit is it packs down really well and comes with a small pouch. This makes it ideal for keeping in a bag just incase the weather turns, always a benefit for London cycling!
The trim around the edge of the poncho is reflective. As this spreads out when you are using the poncho, you can significantly increase your road footprint when wearing the poncho. The little peak on the hood is also reflective, so if you have the hood up at night there is a nice flash wherever your face is pointing.
The front pocket is really handy. I like having my phone handy incase I want to take a photo when I stop or whatever, and this pocket is perfect for that.
Whilst the length of the poncho is good off the bike, it is a little too long for me on most bikes. I can use it with my Brompton as the wheels are so small, but on a regular non-folding bike the poncho touches the wheels. A taller person, or someone on a very upright bike, would not have this problem. The handholds are also a little close together – if you had very wide handlebars you might struggle a bit.
I found the poncho blows out a little at the back when riding in some wind. This is not too much of a problem and may be partly due to the poncho being a little big for me. I did find it irritating though and I feel it created some extra drag. This is a general problem with ponchos on bikes for me – it seems that in London, when it is raining it is often very windy as well. Therefore even though they seem like a really great solution, the conditions for wearing them have to be just right.
This is a great poncho for use on certain types of bikes. It also makes a good emergency garment for keeping in your bag to protect you on those unexpected wet rides home. Personally, I can see that this poncho will be great for general outdoor use with occasional cycling investiture.
It would be good if there were a few more cycle friendly features on the poncho. It is modelled on ponchos made for a very casual form of cycling, but with a few little tweaks, it would be great on bikes with a more aggressive riding position as well, such as road bikes. If it was a little shorter at the front, or had some way to draw it up then it would not hit the front wheel. The Otto poncho has a really handy waist strap to stop it billowing out at the back. The People’s Poncho could benefit from this as well.
If you are already an occasional poncho wearer and in the market for a new one, this is a great option at a great price. It is also a great purchase if you want to have a poncho around just incase. I will definitely be taking it camping with me, and it now lives in my rucksack so I have it with me whenever I am out around town on foot or on my Brompton.
The People’s Poncho is available for £58 from thepeoplesponcho.co.uk
Are you a poncho fan? Have you got a People’s Poncho or another type? Let us know!