Rainy Day Cycling is an acquired taste. What helps the medicine go down is having the right gear. The key to making it work is a good outer shell and then having layers on and ready so when you sweat out on hills you can switch out of the wet under layer and put on a dry set before you begin the descent. Usually this is best at the hill tops because you sweat going up the hill and will then freeze when you descend if you are in damp under gear.
Winter, Spring and Fall rain gear, remembering that we live in lotus land, should include some kind of booties, and outer shell, a helmet liner and good gloves. All bets are off if you live in an area with snow. I use a spandex kind of head cap but saw some great felt like ones from Pilot Rider a local company that makes them right here. You loose most of your heat through your head, hands and feet. If you can keep these dry and warm you can get by with a lot less layers even on the coldest of days. I decided to invest in some great heavy duty neoprene pull over booties from Caps Cycles of Sapperton New Westminster before this winter’s riding and was amazed that finally my feet were warn, even on days the temperature dropped below freezing. Yes, even here in the promised land for cyclists, it does get that cold for a few hours mid winter.
Summer rain gear becomes a dance between being wet from sweat or from the rain. A riding shell that is vented would be your best investment, if you are really sensitive you may want shell pants and booties as well. We do live in a rain forest, so just because they chopped most of it down, don’t be surprised by the rain.
The real secret in rainy day cycling is having layers ready to deal with the sweating that I hope you are experiencing. If you’re not sweating you are not riding hard enough. Anaerobic exercise is the foundation of great cycling, especially if you want to reap all of the health benefits. I will be writing specifically to the anaerobic style of cycling and the specific benefits that it will produce, like finding and keeping a perfect weight, a strengthened core, a mind that is freed from running on high test that you create from the stress in you life. If your man last five minutes and I do no mean in conversation here, get him on a bike. If he did last the hour that you would like it would kill him unless you get him in shape. I promote anaerobic cycling tirelessly; just ask anyone who know me.
My motto is; “twenty to fifty km every second day and nobody has to die”. If you are going to ride every second day in the lower mainland you are going to have to ride in the rain, so be prepared. Listed below are some links to great sites that specialize in cold and wet weather riding.
www.capsbicycleshop.com These guys have all the gear as well as straight up no pressure bike sales, perfect for the chronic rider or a family just starting out.
www.pilotriders.com Great warm felt like helmet liners you’ll wear even without your helmet. This item is next on my wish list.
www.jenelco.com Best for poncho style rain gear and helmet and neck covers. I will use these proven products at Fraser River Bike Tours & Rentals.