7 Tips - Wet Weather Cycling Clothing and Gear

Wet weather cycle gear
"There is no such thing as bad weather", or so the saying goes... but in reality, riding a bike in wet and cold conditions is a challenge. However, it is a challenge that can be made far easier, safer, and more comfortable, by knowing what the best kit is to use for foul weather cycling.

In this post, I have picked out 7 Tips to help you to stay comfortable and safe in poor riding conditions. Hopefully they make your next venture out into the cold and damp weather that bit more bearable.

1 - Mudguards

My first suggestion, is that if you don't have them already, "get some 'guards". Mudguards are a vital element in staying comfortable in the wet. Even the best waterproof jacket will struggle after hours of being bombarded by rear wheel spray; while your face and feet will be grateful for protection from a front wheel showering.

You can now get lightweight mudguards that will fit almost any bike: from traditional full-length road mudguards, to minimalist Ass Savers. I use the Bar Fly RainFly Mudguard on a number of my bikes (review here). 

Bar Fly RainFly Mudguard

2 - Brakes and Braking

My second tip has as much to do with safety, as it does comfort. Checking that your brakes are working optimally is critical before heading out in the wet.

From experience, I know how braking suffers with a loss of dexterity in cold hands; this makes it even more important that your brakes are engaging properly, and that your brake pads have significant life left in them.

Also consider how you brake in wet weather: it is even more important to brake before, rather than during corners. Equally, you need to remember than stopping distances are significantly increased on wet surfaces. Be cautious with your braking in poor conditions, and it could avoid an accident or collision.

Campagnolo Record Brakes

3 - Lights

Following on the safety theme... read my post 'Daytime Running Lights', and you will know that I am a strong advocate of using running lights on every ride, whatever the weather conditions.

In rain and fog, daytime running lights become even more valuable, and help to make you stand out on the road.

Check out my reviews of the latest lights here

Daytime Running Lights on Bikes

4 - Overshoes and Gloves

The professionals might claim that overshoes and gloves aren't fashionable or necessary. To be honest, that is ridiculous... most of us don't have a team car piled high with warm kit.

Overshoes and gloves are essential to keep your extremities functioning properly in the cold and wet.

For winter wet weather cycling, I recommend the GripGrab Hammerhead Overshoes and GripGrab Optimus Gloves; both provide warmth and waterproofing.

For summer wet weather rides, I use the GripGrab RaceAqua Overshoes and GripGrab Neoprene Gloves; both effectively shield your extremities from spray and wind.

GripGrab RaceAqua Overshoes and Neoprene Cycling Gloves

5 - Waterproof Jackets

The technology found in modern waterproof cycling jackets is outstanding. Breathability and waterproofing have come on a mile in recent years, and you can now ride all day in the rain without sweating buckets, or getting drenched.

The Sportful Stelvio Jacket is the jacket that I took on my #7Countries7Passes tour, and it kept me functioning over many wet alpine passes, including the Stelvio! For packability, the Gore Wear SHAKEDRY jacket is my go-to option, and offers incredible protection at a ludicrously light weight.

Sportful Stelvio Jacket

6 - Merino Wool

Regular readers of the blog will know that I am a big fan of merino wool. The natural material will keep you cool in the summer, and warm in the winter.

Merino wool has outstanding capabilities at regulating body temperature, across a wide range of weather conditions. It absorbs moisture, leaving you comfortable even when the base layer itself may be soaked. This latter property is what makes it ideal for wet weather cycling; the material remains insulating, even when wet.

My favourite merino base layer is currently the Isadore Merino Short Sleeve Base Layer. I also find the GripGrab Primavera Merino Gloves are great for added warmth as liner gloves inside the neoprene gloves.

7 - Water-repellent Fabrics

My final tip is to invest in water-repellent arm and leg warmers, or for the winter time consider tights.

Products such as Sportful NoRain Arm Warmers or GripGrab AquaRepel Leg Warmers have fabrics that shed water, so that they will brush off light showers and windchill. These garments also hold the advantage that they are fleece-lined, which means they remain more insulating even when their waterproof outer has been breached.

Hopefully these 7 Tips help you to ride in greater comfort and safety in wet conditions.

There might be such thing as "bad weather", but there is also the motto that "perfect preparation prevents poor performance", and that is definitely relevant to wet weather cycling gear.


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