View Full Version : Rainy days and Sundays...

Pedal Wench
05-24-2005, 09:36 AM
I know this should probably go in the 'Apparel' category, but does anyone look there?

After my experience last Sunday with the downpours during the Tour De Cure, I'm re-thinking my rain attire. Almost everything I see is 'water-resistant', not waterproof. Do you just give up and get wet, sweat with non-breathable waterproof, or take your chances with water-resistant? I have a Marmot Precip in my hiking gear, and I'm wondering if it can cross-train in my biking gear? I've been looking, but I'm not sure what to do.

For what it's worth, I usually don't plan on riding in the rain, I'm doing Ride The Rockies, and they ride, rain or shine, and if I don't ride, I'm in the wrong town at the end of the day. (seven days, six towns...)

05-24-2005, 10:49 AM
You've posed a question that's been on my mind lately. I'm doing the Bike Tour of Colorado which is the week after Ride the Rockies. Their suggested packing list says waterproof gear. I have the Marmot Precip but I wore it riding once and had the dreaded sauna effect. I also own a water resistant cycling jacket. I'm not sure which one to pack and don't really want to overpack by bringing both.

How heavy are the afternoon showers that they tend to get in Colorado? Do you really need the waterproof as they recommend or is water resistant (and much more breathable) a better choice?

05-24-2005, 11:15 AM
Last year on my trip to Yellowstone my water resistant jacket soaked through completely at least twice. But I had on wool jerseys underneath and so was fine. I have a waterproof jacket that I wear for commuting and descending Diablo, but I don't like to wear when I'm actually working hard. While it says it's breathable and has pit zips, it still feels like a plastic bag.


05-24-2005, 11:42 AM
I have 2 waterproof jackets; one is a Performance yellow looking slicker thing and the other is a really expensive jacket (can't remember the brand). They both have pit zips. The slicker has a hood. Both are fine to wear, but i only ride in the rain if I have to (like it starts when I'm out there). Most of the time I've used them it has been cold out, so the plastic effect was minimal. I keep the pit zips unzipped most of the time. I was once caught out in a downpour last spring, when the temp. went down to 48. I had a wool shirt and tights on, with a water resistant jacket. It was the worst riding experience I've had and I only had to go about 8 miles to get back to my car. I would rather feel sweaty than get hypothermia!

05-24-2005, 11:47 AM
I am also researching a cycling jacket as it would have come in quite handy this past weekend. I did a search here on the board and I see a few of you ladies like the PI Zephyrr. I went on the PI site and only see it for men. I there a certain model that I should be looking for. I don't need it for cold weather, I have a great Sugoi for that, just something cool that keeps the rain out the best it can. I don't want the Sauna or plastic bag feel, that's for sure. I did see many bright PI jackets on this ride but didn't have the guts to question the rider as to what type it was and how dry it kept them.

~ JoAnn

Pedal Wench
05-24-2005, 12:41 PM
I was looking at the Zephyr, and it appears to be 'resistant' too, not waterproof. Performance has a $9.00 plastic jacket/cape-type thingy that looks waterproof, but then it has mesh inserts in the sleeves.

Skibum, let's compare notes after our rides - we were going to do the Bike Tour if we didn't get into Ride the Rockies, but a) we got in, and b) we have a hiking trip to Yellowstone planned that would overlap (yes, I'm riding in Colorado for a week, coming home and working for 4 days, then heading out for two weeks of hiking in Yellowstone - I can't believe how lucky I am!)

From what I know (a few vacations in Colorado, but usually later in the summer) afternoon thunderstorms come up from nowhere, and can last for hours. Or, just weather can move in for days. We had about four nights of camping out that were rained out in early July last year. My feeling is that if I'm going to carry something, I want to make sure it will do the job - I don't have room for gear that isn't doing its job. I'm trying to get away with a large seatpost bag for all my daily gear, so space is VERY limited.

05-24-2005, 12:42 PM
I often wear Thom's Zephyr. I really like it. It fits well. I like the screaming yellow. It's one of the two jackets I wore in Yellowstone. It did not keep me dry in a serious downpour though.


Pedal Wench
05-24-2005, 12:48 PM
I often wear Thom's Zephyr. I really like it. It fits well. I like the screaming yellow. It's one of the two jackets I wore in Yellowstone. It did not keep me dry in a serious downpour though.


V- could you check what the waterproof jacket is? I think that I'll deal with the plastic bag feeling - ventilating something waterproof makes more sense to me than trying to stay dry in a wet water-resistant jacket.

Right now, I'm leaning towards my Precip...

05-24-2005, 12:59 PM
It's Sugui's Bosui. Bought it here from TE. It really is waterproof. I've ridden in several heavy downpours on my commute with it and been totally dry when I got to work. I got it this year when I got wet in the first real rain we had. Looks like they don't have it anymore though.

I wish it wasn't gray colored.


Bike Goddess
05-24-2005, 01:38 PM
I have a Gortex jacket I got from Performance Bike last year for about $75.00. (on sale) I wore it all this year in rain, fog, you name it. Goretex breathes so you don't get quite so hot. It has a hood, but I haven't experimented with that. My only complaint is that it is blue (I'd rather yellow). It's a bit bulky, although it will fit into itself if you have a bag to stick it in.

05-24-2005, 01:39 PM
one thing I do not hear you guys discussing too much is the factors of body heat, sweat, condensation compared to waterproof/water resistant. By definition, anything that is water proof won't let water in, but it won't let water out either in the form of vapor, sweat or condensation. Anytime you are exercising you are producing all of the above. This is why ventilation is so important.

Waterproof/breathable fabrics like goretex etc are designed to move water vapor, but under a specific set of conditions that involve low temps ( cold) and a minimal amount of vapor transfer.(low activity) Most of the time that people are getting wet from good quality rain geat it's from moisture that they themselves are generating, not from leakage.

So how do you combat this? Ventilation and appropriate layering. Even if it's pouring and you are sweating up a storm, if you wear the right kind of wicking layer you will be somewhat comfortable. (see veronica's post)

I find that if it's a light warm rain, I just get wet, I hate being inside a rain coat.


Pedal Wench
05-24-2005, 06:01 PM
Good points, Irulan.

I'm mostly worried about long, potentially wet descents. Shoot, in Colorado, I'm worried about cold ascents too - the temperatures can drop quickly, so I'm looking for the ideal, perfect dream jacket. One that breathes, one that easily vents, one that is waterproof, and most especially, one that will keep water from dripping down my shorts in between me and my chamois. Between us, that's what worries me the most!

05-24-2005, 06:04 PM
if it's the temperature you are concerned about (cold rainy mountain descent) this is where your base layers are just as important as what kind of shell you have on. I like V's suggestion of merino wool under a shell.


05-24-2005, 08:24 PM
I live in far northern Ca., where it rains a lot during the winter. I have like the REI goretex jacket; it has the tail that can be pulled down in serious rain. I've worn it in some pretty serious rain, and I see quite a few around here, which must be some kind of vote of confidence. I'm wearing it in the little avatar picture.

Judging by today (I just flew back from SF Bay area this evening in the little Barbie Dream jet, as I call it) the rain just might be over for the season, fingers crossed.

05-25-2005, 03:09 AM
The raingear question has been on my mind as well. So, if I'm processing all this right, there's a temperature/wind chill "line" that makes rain gear either 1) a sauna bag, or 2) a protective, somewhat breathable, shell. It sounds like goretex is the superior waterproof fabric but wool underlayers for the "cool" side of that temperature line help move uncomfortable moisture away from your actual skin and keep you warmer. When you cross over the line into warmer temps, does the wool still do an important job or do you now want some synthetic wicking layer or do you just throw your hands up and strip down to nothing? Also, is there any effective protection for your shoes or do you just put up with sloshy toes? I'm assuming a steady rain here, not just a sprinkle.

Audio, I can't believe you're going to fit things into a seatbag!!! :eek: It must be a whopper of a bag - care to share it's brand/dimensions?

That's another question I have. I know we've had some threads on "what stuff do you carry when you ride and what do you carry it in." I'm finding that now that I'm doing longer rides on a new road bike, all those teensy-weensy bags don't hold alot and I sure don't like carrying it on my back. Are any of you mega-tourers using handlebar bags or even racks/trunk bags on your multi-day trips? I'm assuming a handlebar bag is the way to go, even though it would create more drag on a headwind day. Racks on a road bike are kind of "outre" aren't they?

05-25-2005, 03:42 AM

I have a rack with a really BIG bag for commuting. And yes I have ridden up Diablo with this big bag on my bike. I find just the rack covenient to have on my road bike. If I'm not carrying a large enough bag for a jacket, I strap the jackets (usually mine and Thom's) to the rack with an old toe strap. When riding on my own where there are no stores, I have strapped extra water bottles to the rack. Yes, it adds weight to the bike, but it certainly helps my piece of mind.


Thom uses an Arkel handlebar bag on both his single and the tandem. He got it originally for carrying his camera. The thing is the place to be if you're in an earthquake (and really small!) It's amazingly sturdy. He says it changes the handling a bit, but you get used to it.


05-25-2005, 04:48 AM
Another option if you have a rack on your bike is to use a single pannier on the rear rack. That's what I use when I commute to work, and I have also used it on long day rides when I wanted to carry "stuff" with me. I use a small pannier - which is actually classified as a front pannier - on the back. And it really doesn't make the bike feel off balance. I actually prefer the feeling of the weight down closer to the ground - I hate the feeling of a handlebar bag. (Yes, I know, that might be considered a bit odd.) Just another option to think about...

--- Denise

Pedal Wench
05-25-2005, 06:13 AM
I live in far northern Ca., where it rains a lot during the winter. I have like the REI goretex jacket; it has the tail that can be pulled down in serious rain. I've worn it in some pretty serious rain, and I see quite a few around here, which must be some kind of vote of confidence. I'm wearing it in the little avatar picture.

The REI jacket is just what I was looking for - the 'tail' is just what I want to keep rain from dripping into my shorts - yuck! Do you know the model name?

I have two choices for seatpost bags. I had bought a Cannondale bag that has an expandable bottom. It has about 185cu. in. capacity. I was all set with that, until I upgraded my Cannondale bike to a Bianchi ;) I'm now trying out a Jandd bag that I got from Performance. It also expands to about 175/185. My plans (PLEASE - Opinions wanted and needed!!!) are to carry: tools (patch kit, levers, spare tube, multitool) food (bars, gels) sunscreen and arm coolers (from DeSoto sport to keep sun off) money, ID, small first aid, asthma puffer, and RAIN JACKET! It's a tight fit, but everything goes in - but I've been using an ineffective rain jacket up until now!

05-25-2005, 12:06 PM
Well, I had a somewhat fruitless live online discussion with REI. I cannot see the jacket listed among the jackets online, and none of the others look waterproof. They promised to do some searching and try to locate the jacket. It is gold/yellow, with grey strips along the arms. It has a zippered pocket in back, velcros closures on the arms, zipper plus buttons on the front, and the grey "tail" velcros up inside when not in use. It has pit zips. I'll let you know what I find out.

I have the same bike as Veronica, (wow, even the same bell in the same place!) and in the winter I put fenders and a small rack with a rectangular pack on it. It holds a lot of stuff. I have both a regular bike pump plus a cylinder. I have found tweezers to be a good item, also a smartwool hat. My friends here also use wool stuff such as long underwear (good quality merino stuff--OK, from Rivendell) and say that even when it warms up it is not uncomfortable.

05-25-2005, 04:26 PM
OK, here's the name of the jacket i couldn't remember; it's a Craft, w/ 1.3 protection. It is fairly light compared to other Gore-Tex type jackets I have seen.It does not feel sweaty and it comes in a woman specific style. In fact, I bought it because it comes in an extra small. It's true that if it's cold out (less than 65 or so), the layers you wear underneath are important. I usually wear a light weight Merino wool shirt between 55 and 63 or so. Lower than that, a mid weight merino wool shirt or a mid weight thermal shirt. It amazes me that some people are out riding in short sleeves at these temps.

05-25-2005, 04:37 PM
I use the above 2 jackets for commuting year-round. Normally I use the J-G jacket which is waterproof with a cape back, pit zips, front vents, and a mesh liner if it is below 50 to 55. By adjusting the velcro wrist straps you can vary the amount of air coming in there also. It does flap with everything open, which could be annoying on a descent longer than I usually deal with. I've ridden in some pretty nasty storms and the only water that has come through was down the neck, it does not have a hood. Even with everything open, 60 is about the top temperature I will use it. They often have them on sale, they are solid yellow for good visibility, I've used mine for 4 years of almost daily commuting. http://www.jacksongibbens.com/

My warm weather rain jacket is the hooded version of the Rainshield O2. This is an amazing jacket. It has NO vents, but is not a sauna. It is a little shorter but still keeps me dry in heavy rain. It's biggest drawback is that it snags easily, definately not for the mountain bikers. I just use reflective tape to patch the snags. It flaps a lot. It comes in yellow (my favorite color) and is widely available from mail order places. For really warm weather use I have modified mine with a paper punch and put some underarm vents in as well.

05-30-2005, 10:06 AM
Doing ride the Rockies, too. Rain and chill are a real concern. If it is raining (and especially if you are headed down hill) it will be COLD.

FYI I'm packing a smartwool zip-T, Toesters, knee warmers, gloveliners,and a Marmot precip jacket. I have not been able to shove it all in my detour handle bar bag. The precip jacket is kind of big. I was thinking of a fanny pack for the precip jacket, but need to test ride that combo. Never ridden with a fanny pack.

I am not worried about getting clammy, but am worried about the cold. But if clammy and then get cold, there is a problem...

And, needless to say, no cotton.


05-30-2005, 02:10 PM
I have done RtR a couple times. The weather can be so changeable! You definitely need to be prepared. Hot and dry, cold and snow. Hail, rain, wind, forest fires! At one time or another, we experienced all of those! I carried with me (or sometimes started out in the morning wearing) wind/rain shell jacket, arm warmers, leg warmers, toe covers, finger gloves, earband, and I think that about covers it....... I never wore all that all day. Sometimes, it would come off then go back on, as when headed down a pass. I managed to carry it all in an expandable seatpost bag and a fanny pack. The fanny pack was fairly large and extremely stuffed when full. Once riding, I really didn't notice it, tho' it sounds uncomfortable. This was back when I was more of a minimalist as to what I carried on the bike. Nowadays, I'd be more apt to throw a rack on back with a trunk bag and not worry about the extra weight. Much easier and more comfortable. However you work it out, you will have a wonderful time! It is a great ride.


Pedal Wench
05-31-2005, 06:52 PM
Doing ride the Rockies, too.

Sorry, Sarah, I just saw this post. I'm pretty much packing the same thing. I own a Marmot Precip, I just can't find it... I also have another water-resistant jacket that rolls up incredibly small. I guess I'll bring that on days they don't expect rain, just in case. On days that rain is predicted, I'll wear the Precip. I hope that between my Jandd bag and jersey pockets, everything will fit. It should be fun, that's all I've got to say!

Annie - what kind of food is at the rest stops - I'm trying to figure out how much of my own I need to carry each day.

Edit: Okay - FOUND the Precip. In the room with my hiking gear. Right where it was supposed to be. It is a bit bigger than I remember - the sleeves are long enough even when I'm stretched out, and it's long enough to cover a good bit of my bottom. It also doesn't pack down as small as I hoped. I think that I can actually use TWO seatpost bags (don't you love sloping toptubes???) on days when I need to carry it.

Colorado people - do you have warning about rainy days? Will I know in the morning what to bring on that day's ride?

06-01-2005, 11:10 AM
The only thing certain about the weather here is that you can't predict it. Watch the weather channel and bring it all.

This past weekend Saturday 70's and sun. Sunday and Monday 50's and RAIN. tuesday 60's and sun.

IF it is raining in the morning wear everything you have and bring an extra layer. Most likely, in the am it will be sunny and beautiful and you will be riding in t-storms by noon. Always pack for rain and then, hopefully, we will have beautiful weather.

In general the start (Grand Junction) is hot and dry. As the days progress, the route gains elevation and will cool. Gunnison/Salida/Leadville it will be cooler in the am/pm and the t-storms may be more severe. Worst thunderstorm I've ever seem was in Buena Vista (half way between Salida and Leadville, day 6.) Leadville elevation is 10,000+ and is always cold.

Supposedly, there are a lot of food vendors along the route. But, of course, bring some energy food.

I'll be the slow one on a purple Terry Symmetry. (But with happy feet, I hope.) Hard to pick out anyone from 2,000 people...

Have fun,

Pedal Wench
06-01-2005, 12:34 PM

Thanks for the input. I just saw that they posted the elevation profiles... I need about another month of training to feel really good about this!

I'll be on a dark gray Bianchi with celeste (pale green...) logos and a very pink helmet. Hard to miss, but hard to spot amongst 2,000 other helmets! Slow and steady is my plan.

Say hello if you see me!


06-01-2005, 12:56 PM
I think I've mentioned before that I'm doing Bike Tour of Colorado which is the week after RtR. I'm sure it's similar weather & elevation profiles so I appreciate all the great tips that everyone has posted.

I get nervous about the mileage and all the climbing but my friends that are travelling with me tell me I'll do fine. I'm with Leslie, slow and steady and enjoy the scenery. It's not a race, it's a vacation.

I look forward to reading about your trip and comparing our experiences!

Pedal Wench
06-01-2005, 07:50 PM
Skibum, please let me know about your ride. If this one goes well ( :o ) we're going to do one or the other next year. The dates for your ride just didn't work for us this year, and we lucked out and got into RTR. Our schedule is more open next year, so we might do whichever route looks best, or just do BTC, because we know we don't have to win a lottery to enter. I would love to compare notes and see how they both stack up.

06-02-2005, 10:42 AM
I hadn't even heard of either ride until a friend suggested BTC. It looked like fun so I decided to sign up with her and a couple of others. So, I didn't compare the two in advance.

I'll post a ride report when I get back. I'll be interested in seeing how they stack up too although I don't know if I'll try the RtR anytime soon. My list of places to go & things to do keeps growing faster than I can keep up given limited time & money.