bike commuting in the rain? it's all about attitude.
Fall rains have come to Philly, and lucky me, I bought rain gear last weekend. I'm a believer in being an all weather cyclist (got to keep my miles up), and to do this my roommate assured me that I would need rainpants. It only took one uncomfortably damp ride to convince me that he was right.
Anyways, when I found myself at the amazingly huge Denver REI flagship store during a sale last weekend, I couldn't resist the opprtunity to outfit myself for inclement weather. I picked up a pair of REI Taku pants (at 1/3 of the original price!) and a pair of North Face Apex gloves with my members coupon (I also finally got a bell for the Dahon!). Say what you will about cost; if I am going to sacrifice my cycle chic, I am going to do it right. My rain gear was rounded out with an old REI jacket, a pair of Danskos, and Nutcase helmet. I went for minimalist with my makeup and grabbed an extra blinkey light for extra visibility.
So not cute at all, but very, very functional. To keep my neck dry, I put my hood on under my helmet and rolled off to school on the Old Dutch. There were more cars on the road but they were way nicer than usual. There were still a ton of bikes at school (we Owls are a hearty people). I felt especially grateful for the covered bike parking and thrilled that I was not soaked like many of my peers.
The Taku pants are cut quite generously (I got the petite smalls) and it was easy getting them on and off over my pants. My pants underneath were totally dry, and I very much appreciated not having to worry about having a wet seat. The pants have nice side zips so you can get into the pockets of your pants underneath. My hands stayed dry and warm in my gloves. The grips on the palms are a great feature when it comes to wet handlebars.
The only gear that failed was my 3 year old jacket- it was good at first, but over the course of the ride it became so saturated that I was damp when I got to school (yay, dark shirts!). I'm guessing I will care less about this as it gets colder and I can wear a sweater (although you can buy me one of these if you want).
All in all, my outing was a good one. I was glad I threw a rag in my bag so I could un-slick my bike before getting it up the stairs.
The goal of this boring gear review isn't so much to promote consumerism, but rather, to answer the fearful carpeople who ask, "But what do you do when it rains?" Being carfree isn't that hard, but an good sale at REI can make it easier.