I have a confession to make. I love riding in the rain solo, drenched and happily... miserable!
Back in the day I was a diligent and disciplined trainer. Not some sort of northern European hard arse, but just a young guy that never considered rain to be a reason to shorten or, god forbid, cancel a ride. It was never given to me as an option. If Sunday was down for 6 hours, then 6 hours is what would be done regardless of weather. I never even afforded myself a later start to see if it might clear.
Growing up in Auckland had the benefit of milder winters than Europe, but can match anywhere on rain fall. In New Zealand speak, it’s always pissing down bro.
The crappiest of rides I would often end up solo, sodden, covered in cow shit washed up off the road, leg warmers sagging, but gloriously happy riding miles from anywhere. The satisfaction of entering your training ride into your diary ( I think you call this Strava now) was up there with first sip of the hot soup left on the stove by a mother who was also preparing for the clothes washing Armageddon.
Riding in the rain is about the clothing you wear and some basic steps for comfort. Where you ride matters too. I always enjoyed climbing or rolling rides in the rain. Short punchy climbs keep you warm without the cooling long descents and somehow they make the time go quicker. Away from traffic goes without saying, so sometimes a quiet circuit or hill repeat is a winner.
The Pedalit wet weather tips.
As you are going to wet, and even on still days, are going to create wind that will quickly chill you down, being a human radiator is what you are setting out to avoid. Wind proofing is just as important as staying warm. Forget trying to stay dry. Although there are some nice wet weather gear options on the market, if you stay out there long enough you will get to enjoy the first trickle of water running down your back.
A quality thermal base that maintains heat if wet.
A wind / water proof vest with a full back, and even better, with pockets. This stays on all day.
A waterproof jacket/ cape with snug fit and long rear flap. Can be folded up and tucked away into pocket.
Arm and leg warmers. Under my leg warmers I would ride muscle activator with a massage oil over top.
A hard style Chamois Cream that doesn’t wash out easy, plaster it on. You are nuts if you don’t, and your arse will never talk to you again.
Water proof thermal gloves, who likes cold hands?
A ride beanie under the helmet. Your helmet will stick up and make you look like you bought the wrong size, but hey you warm.
Waterproof overshoes with thermal hiking socks. This isn’t the ride for sock doping.. And no one will see them under the overshoes. Breathe easy you fashionistas.
Extra food. Staying warm takes calories. We once talked about huddling around a hot pie to keep warm. These days are where memories are made.
A clip on rear mudguard arse saver. Even when you wet, and you can’t get wetter, you still don’t want more water thrown at you.
It’s better to start with the full set up, and if you do over heat or the weather clears, do the strip show. For this reason I always ride arm warmers over long sleeves. The rain cape can go in the pocket, the arm warmers can pull down, then if need be I would stuff the beanie and gloves up the front of my vest.
So this winter gear up and become a solo rain rider. On the most miserable, you must be bloody joking days, enjoy the satisfaction of a Kudos tsunami as you upload your water logged ride to Strava. Glow with pride at your washing pile and crap laden bike, throw what you like at this rider, every day is a riding day.
Ride days are the best days of the week, and it's only water.. isn't it?