Vancouver has been having it’s typical wet fall. I’m definitely no stranger to it as I was blinded by torrential downpour and tossed around in the wind the last few days during my commute. I even had to take a cab home halfway home when the winds got a little too dangerous.
If you don’t want to be one of those fair-weather riders, there is one mindset you have to remember when riding in the rain:
Do not even try to stay dry!
What’s the point? Especially if your work place has showers. If the weather is going to be like a monsoon and you are determined to cycle commute like me because you just cannot stand the thought of being stuck in a car, you are going to get wet… NO MATTER WHAT.
When trying to do the impossible, you are only going to get discouraged. Plus you are creating extra hassle for yourself by layering on unnecessary gear and extra gear is one of the worse things about cold-weather commuting— it takes forever to get ready for a ride or clean up afterwards!!
In real life a.k.a. off the bike, I am prissy about my hair and appearance so I am paranoid about rain but when I’m cycling or exercising in general and I know I am going to get sweaty anyway, so I go all out and forget about how I look (or feel). If I’m wet, I suck it up. If I’m cold, I suck it up. If I’m tired, I suck it up. This is one thing over six dedicated years of consistently practicing a healthy and fit lifestyle has taught me.
SUCK IT UP. Health, fitness and looking good all comes with a cost and sacrifice.
I’m writing an article on dressing for cycling in different temperatures, but here are some of my favorite gear and tips to stay warm and “somewhat dry” during wet rides:
- This bright pink Sugoi waterproof jacket keeps me visible and my upper-body 100% dry which is important because you need to keep your core warm. During the winter, I keep my rain jacket in a bottle cage (pictured above) and I always stuff a windbreaker (along with spare lights and batteries) in a small pod, since I don’t need water for short commutes.
- When it’s raining during the colder months, you will never get warm when riding “leisurely” so keeping your head and ears warm with a cap is important.
- And you will most likely be riding “leisurely” because visibility is very limited in heavy rain and you don’t want to be riding fast on wet pavement. I’ve had a few close calls and traumatic rides the last few weeks which has been making me think twice about commuting when I get up in the mornings… but I force myself to forget and just do it. Of course, I’m always grateful that I talked myself into it and I never regret a ride!
- These shoe covers keep my feet warm and dry … but only for about 10km! My work is 12km away and my feet always starts to get wet when I’m 2km away (when it’s absolutely pouring cats and dogs). SIGH. It’s a losing battle and I’m sure you can duct-tape the bottom of your shoes to keep the water out… but again, I can’t be bothered.
- I’m SUPER lazy and don’t even bother bringing extra gear and will just wear my wet clothes back home… but I always bring extra socks! I can handle a lot of discomfort… but I can’t even imagine the thought of having to put on wet socks!
- Rain + fog + glasses = lethal combination!! Make sure you always have contact lenses or take a cab home.