Guest Post: Rainy Riding Tips from a New Yorker

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Guest blogger Arielle Parris shares her tips for riding in the Seattle drizzle. An apt post for this week of June-uary weather!

8 Rainy Riding Tricks
by Arielle Parris

While Seattle natives might have the rainy ride down, this New-York-raised velophile had to learn the secrets the hard way. I’ll let you in on my top eight tricks, so you don’t have to follow in my soggy pedal strokes. 

  1. Fenders: I don’t use an umbrella in Seattle (so you guys will like me), so why should I use fenders? The truth is, after purchasing a pair of Planet Bike SpeedEZ Fenders, the streaks I usually get from hip to helmet are non-existent. Pro tip: add mud flaps to your fenders and all of your fellow commuters will cheer you on, without getting grit in their teeth.
  2. Booties: As a huge fan of clipless pedals, I wear the same pair of shoes to work every day. They are not even a little waterproof, so booties are a must. Whether you wear cycling-specific shoes or not, tracking dirt and mud around after a ride is no fun! A pair of waterproof shoe covers keeps the gross out and the warmth in.
  3. Rain Chaps or Pants: In light rain I strap on my chaps (Rainlegs) to keep the tops of my thighs dry. In torrential downpours, I pull on my full-zip pants which double as mountaineering/hiking pants, and head out without a worry. Staying dry can be that simple.
  4. Wool Jersey: Wool is a magical material that stays warm even when wet (unlike cotton), doesn’t retain smell, and naturally wicks sweat. I purchased my red, white, and blue patriotic wool jersey second-hand from the Seattle Bike Swap two years ago and haven’t looked back since.
  5. Cycling Cap: Gram got it right: keeping your head warm goes a long way. I’ve seen plenty of people rock the helmet cover, but I simply can’t bring myself to do it. Instead, I choose to throw on a cute cycling cap or a not-so-cute skullcap under my helmet. With a comb or hair dryer in your bag, the hat head doesn’t stand a chance and you’ll be toasty.
  6. Gloves: I received a pair of “lobster” gloves a few years back, and am almost never without them. Waterproof and windproof with removable thermal covering, weatherproof gloves will turn horrendous rides into puddle-licious fun!
  7. Glasses: After one ride where drops force your eyes closed, you’ll agree, glasses are the best. As someone who regularly looses things, purchasing a cheap pair from a hardwood store has saved me a lot of cost and headache.
  8. Rain Jacket: Whether you are a dork like me with a brighter-than-day neon glow, or chic with an elegant, subtly-reflective coat, a truly waterproof jacket is a Seattle cyclist’s most prized possession. I’m saving for the women’s riding coat by H&B that I’ve seen all over Seattle. Stunning!

Tell me your favorite tips and tricks in the comments below!

Arielle Parris
Arielle Parris is a writer, traveler, and adventurer who spends a lot of time on two wheels. Her upbeat blog is full of tips both practical and philosophical, and will probably inspire you to plan your next (or first) bike tour. Check it out here.
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