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Biking In Wet Weather

This February and March have been lousy for road cycling, perhaps balancing out the wonderful January balmy days.

I rode yesterday and had the most unpleasant experience I’ve had in a long, long time: cold rain in my face, a steady 15-20 mph headwind, and cold and soggy feet.

Even with rain paints and jacket, the sweat makes me just as wet underneath after an hour or so, and cold wet feet rank right up there with the dentist’s drill. The wind chills everything. No fun.

Here are the wet weather things that are not so pleasant:

  • Legs and shoes and bike pick up all sorts of road grit. White socks turn black from it. The chain and gears get loaded with fine road grit. I hose down my bike afterwards (and ride my “rain bike”).
  • Feet get soaked. I am looking for a solution to cover my shoes in hopes of keeping dry feet. Perhaps cold weather shoe covers would work, so long as they also cover the socks around the ankles, otherwise the water just percolates right on down.
  • Rain paints tend to shed some water right onto socks and shoes.
  • I run a rear temporary fender, but the front tire spurts up water at over 20 mph or so.
  • Rain through the helmet runs rivulets of salty sweat into my eyes.
  • Sunglasses invariably fog, even those that are supposed to be fog resistant.
  • When it’s driving cold wind and rain, the sweat/rain combo quickly turns difficult in terms of staying warm. After 90 minutes, it’s really miserable, even with wool to stay somewhat warm.

I haven’t solved all these problems very well. One solution is to skip riding, but when it rains for days, maintaining a training schedule becomes a challenge.

A few things that I’ve found that do work:

  • Wool, such as the IbexWear Shak jersey over a summer-weight jersey. Wool breaths, and retains some insulation value even when wet. The synthetics I’ve used (Pearl Izumi, etc) have mostly failed miserably when wet.
  • An IbexWear ClimaWool jacket. It is not waterproof, but can deal with a reasonable amount of rain and still provide some warmth.
  • Certain wind/rain tights that are windproof in the front, yet breath behind.
  • Wool or synthetic gloves that resist rain.

Biking indoors

Trainers or rollers that insert the rear wheel onto a fixed resistance. This bores me to tears (no wind in my face!), but a big screen TV might do the trick if I had one. It also tends to wear out tires, but any basic wheel/tire can be used. If you do get a trainer, don’t skimp, get a heavy duty one, magnetic with heat fins is preferred.

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