Some thoughts on waterproofs for cycle commutingYes, I know that every website and magazine are doing articles on this topic at the moment. But it's important stuff; as the weather changes and the mornings and evenings darken, it's more of an effort to get out on the bike. I need to fight the ennui that tries to keep me in my warm bed and warm car, by removing any excuses I have not to cycle because it's a bit damp and a bit grim.
These, then, are my requirements from my cycle commuting waterproofs:
- Remove the excuse not cycle. The waterproofs have got to be practical and convenient. They've got to deliver.
- Arrive warm and dry.
- Not so precious that I don't wear them for fear of damaging them. This generally means that I've got a price point in mind.
- Unobtrusive enough that I've got them at all times; if there's any chance that I'll start to think of them as baggage (because I'm not wearing them), that will increase the chance that I don't wear them, so will feel unprepared, so won't cycle.
My cycle commuting waterproofsMy waterproofs are a large part of my core wardrobe; I wear them all the time because they're practical, convenient and useful. Affiliate links for more product information, if you need it.
Gore Bike Wear Helmet IV Cap (Wiggle)I usually wear my hair pretty short, so feel the need for a layer under my helmet as soon as the weather gets a bit chilly. I bought the Gore cap (with the long name) in 2009 and it performed brilliantly all through the winter. Windproof and breathable, with an "anatomical cut" that covers my ears and keeps them out of the wind. I've also found it to be lightly waterproof, enough for all but the worst downpours.
There's a zipped pocket on the left breast, perfect for keys or phone (or OBE), and a horizontal pocket on the tail, for stuffing things into on the ride. Along with the high collar, the velcro on the cuffs and long tail with a tightener help keep the wind out.
Sure, in a really serious downpour, this jacket is going to let some water through. But at this price point, for the conditions I cycle in, it's a steal.
Endura Stealth Tights (CRC)These tights are unpadded (I wear them over my regular cycling shorts) and very cool. Well, actually just the opposite; beneath the waterproof outer layer, they've got a fleece inner, so they're really toasty. They're also waterproof (with welded seams that I don't even notice), breathable, and stretchy, a great fit. In colder weather I wear them every day and stay nicely toasty. When it's wet, I stay dry. What more do I need? Did I mention that they're also reflective?
Frankly, the crackles are a small price to pay for dry feet.