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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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!