After the rain

What a Monday – overslept, awoke to dark gray skies and thunderstorms – BUT today only Chicago is having a return of spring weather. Hearing that forecast was all I needed to brighten my day.

This morning my commute could have been a soggy and chilly mess, but luckily my later start time meant that I only had to contend with gray skies and wet pavement. With temperatures hovering in the 60s (Fahrenheit), needless to say, the ride made for a wonderful start to a short work week.

Holiday decorations are already being installed along my route – though it still seems so early for the wreaths and the garland.

Tonight’s ride home may be amidst storms and a tornado watch… or maybe it, too, will happen after the rain.

Either way, I’m prepared; my rainy day check list:
* bike cap (visor to keep the rain out of my eyes)
* rain jacket (I keep a vinyl jacket in my bag just in case, a wind jacket and/or use a waterproof jacket when it gets colder)
* wool socks (just the lightweight Wigwams today)
* Gore-Tex sox (especially for when it’s cooler and when I know I’ll be riding in the rain) – not needed today
* Under the Weather Sit ‘n’ Spin 3/4 length pants
(but I also sometime opt to wear tights or leggings with the UTW Twizzle skirt)
* Waterproof Pannier from Banjo Bros.

Share your rainy day commuting stories and gear. In the summer rains, I’m usually willing to just let it rain on me. These fall and springtime rains are when we need to have the right layers to protect against the damp and the chill. I’m still figuring it out.


  1. RL

    If you don’t have your jacket with you,try newspapers under the jersey to keep your body warm and dry.

    I was really surprised on how well it worked!

  2. Jack

    In Northern Europe the Weather for us is gone Cold and the probability of Rain and Sleet is a constant Threat like it has been for a few Weeks now. What to bring is always a challenge either light but warm or Bulky and uncomfortable and Heavy Clothing.

    I prefer to wear my Gortex Spray away Jacket which is a kind of Nylon very light Jacket but keeps away the Cold as well as the Rain as it is Waterproof. It has a Hood which is concealed in the Collar but I prefer using a Hat either Baseball or better still a Tweed Flat Cap. I always bring Overtrousers with me in my Ortlieb Bag but if I think it is going to Rain I put them on over my Trousers if it is Raining or not. It also has the advantage of adding more Warmth if it is Cold. The Overtrousers are made by Agu a Dutch Company ,they are not bad and were not the expensive type .

    I have a pair of Gelert Hiking/Walking Shoes and are a sort of Heavy Trainers in style and are Waterproof. I went into the City Today Monday to check on my New Bike in my LBS to see if it will be arriving soon and check on the Dynamo I also Ordered for it.

    The good News is it should be in on Wednesday or Thursday it is a Surly LH Trucker Touring Bike In Black with 26″ Wheels. I was getting ready to go off into the City and it started Raining then stopped so I put on my Overtrousers. It came down in a Downpour with bits of Sleet several times while I was in the City and was glad I had the Overtrousers with me.

    I dont like to have to much Clothing on me it is very uncomfortable but I sometimes bring an extra Cardigan if it is extremely Cold and I can take it off when I get warm but it has not quite got that Cold out yet.Dublin Ireland.

  3. Ghost Rider

    I guess I’m lucky in that our rainy season happens during the summer, and riding to work I just bring a change of clothes; on the way home, I don’t mind getting wet as that’s the only way to stay cool in SW Florida! Raingear gets us wetter on the inside in summer rain conditions.

    That being said, I’d sure love to get one of those Carradice rain capes for the odd cool-weather rainstorm.

  4. Elizabeth (Post author)

    @Jack – thanks for sharing your gear choices.
    I’ve had issues these past couple years with rain pants. In the winter months they do provide an insulating layer (especially against the wind) and also keep the slush and grime off of me. But the Endura pants leaked too much and were usually too warm. I usually resorted to a simple wind pant which then offered no protection from the wet conditions.
    However, my waterproof jackets – the Endura and the Loeka – have performed well for me. I have learned that the waterproof materials do not last forever. This year I may test a tech wash to try and restore some of the waterproofness to my outerwear.
    Once winter comes – as it appears to have arrived this morning in the twenties here now – I will give more thought to what my layers are. I love wool and silks next to the skin and windproof outermost.

  5. Kristi

    I’m upset because while I rode my beater bike today, remembered my pack cover, have proper lighting, I forgot my rain jacket. It’s not raining now in NYC but it might later tonight. I’m going to have to suck it up for today.

    BTW: thank you for the excellent info on the lights! I am now a proud owner of a Light and Motion 360 head and tail light set. I LOVE THEM. The front light has made such a huge difference in my evening commute. There are parts of my ride up the west side bike path that are totally unlit and I can’t tell you how much safer and happier I feel now that I can see where I’m going so thanks again!

  6. janet lefley

    Thanks for tons of great information on gear, from your post and also the other comments were helpful. I currently don’t have an ideal gear situation and recently discovered my coat that I thought was waterproof wasn’t. I plan on checking out all the suggestions.

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