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Hands and feet in the rain

Old 04-22-21, 05:50 AM
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Hands and feet in the rain

What are the options and their relative merits, when you ride all day long in rain?
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Old 04-22-21, 06:43 AM
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It depends on the temperature. I have had fairly frequently had overnight freezing temperatures at times and subfreezing temps in the morning a few times, but never had any problem with hands or feet warmth on tours. I don't recall it ever being below 50 and raining when on tour. On tour I find I have needed nothing special on my hands and socks that are comfy when wet with shoes that drain well and don't soak up much water. My Sidis have plenty of mesh to drain, don't soak up any substantial amount of water, and dry quickly. I find that cheap poly socks that come in a 12 pack work great for me.

I have used both wetsuit-like neoprene shoe covers and waterproof canvas ones at home in truly cold weather and and they both worked well. I have never carried them on tour or felt I needed them. Worst case I'd improvise with some plastic bags, but again have never needed to in many long tours. If you feel you need something either type of shoe cover works fine. The main thing is to keep the wind chill off.

I have trail run many thousands of miles in sub freezing and sub zero weather, rain, sleet, snow, or shine and just worn shoes with mesh and poly socks for that and I still have all my toes. Granted the wind chill is greater on a bike, but are you touring in sub zero weather? I know that the very few times when it was much below freezing I tended to hang around camp a bit longer while it warmed up a bit. So I have probably ridden when it was below freezing very little if at all when on tour and probably not at all when it was below much 50 and raining.

Keeping your core warm is the real key. Even there the battle is about wind-chill as much as insulation, but both are way more important than keeping dry IME.
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Old 04-22-21, 06:46 AM
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It depends, of course, on the other aspects of the weather--temperature, RH, and wind. And on the activity level, steep climb or fast descent. I layer differently for all those conditions. On summer tours, I seldom carry anything more than light glove liners, which are sometimes barely sufficient for some conditions but only for a short time. On winter commutes, I'll have wind and water-proof mitts over heavier gloves. For the feet, I carry one pair of wool hiking socks, and two bread bags to wear over the socks inside the shoes ("Bagtex"), but only for a few hours at a time to avoid maceration.

On summer tours, my most challenging conditions are 20-mile long mountain descents in early or late-season snow in the Rockies or Cascades, and that's usually less than an hour of discomfort. Some summer thunderstorms, especially those with hail, can be pretty cold, but again, usually for a short time, and I try to find safe shelter for those.
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Old 04-22-21, 06:51 AM
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What temperature range?

Feet:
One thing I would look at is what I anticipate the coldest temperature to be for the day, as if it starts out warm enough to get wet feet without a problem, if the temp is expected to drop later that could be a problem if my feet are both cold and wet. Might need to start out trying to keep them dry all day.

Hands:
For most temperatures in spring or summer when wet, I have a nice pair of gloves that I really like in rain. My expectations were low when I ordered them, but have been very happy with them, have had them for five years. No padding. But gloves, it is all in the fit, these fit me really well but they might not fit you as well
https://www.planetx.co.uk/i/q/CLPXHW...le-race-gloves
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Old 04-22-21, 07:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Feet:
One thing I would look at is what I anticipate the coldest temperature to be for the day, as if it starts out warm enough to get wet feet without a problem, if the temp is expected to drop later that could be a problem if my feet are both cold and wet. Might need to start out trying to keep them dry all day.
One thing that is can be helpful is to have shoes absorb a small enough amount of water that changing socks will give you dry feet. I find that I usually don't bother because mine have enough mesh to allow socks somewhat dry out quickly and my socks aren't too bad when damp, but I do find that my Sidis let my feet feel dry with a change of socks even after a good soaking.
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Old 04-22-21, 07:15 AM
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I have tried a number of different coverings for shoes and water-proof socks. I didn't like any of them and I really dislike riding with sodden shoes. On a wet ride up a "mountain" in the UK, I got the idea to use a plastic water bottle as a rain bootie. When I got home,I made one.



It uses recycled materials, is lightweight, easily replaced, low-cost and works as well as the other rain covers I've tried. I've worn them several times, a couple times in all day rain. They keeps my shoes reasonably dry (as dry as the other ones I tried). I've written an article about them with directions on how to make them.

As for hands, I carry a second set of gloves for use when the ones I'm wearing get uncomfortably wet. I try to avoid riding in the rain all day, taking an extra rest day if needed.

This past winter I spent in the UK. It was near freezing most days when I rode. I discovered that wearing oven mitts over my biking gloves provided enough protection against the cold for me to continue to ride. It looks a bit funny (as do the shoe covers), but works well,
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Old 04-22-21, 07:15 AM
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good morning Gauvins,
this is a good topic to bring up, as finding a workable solution is pretty important for when it is cool or cold outside, and you have the bad luck to have all day rain.
Before I figured out options, I have had a few very unpleasant riding experiences, so this is what works for me.
-rain booties that come up high enough so that my rain pants come down over the top, so that rain doesnt run down into the booties. Mine are older MEC ones that use velcro at the back to close. They do end let some water in, but overall they work fairly well even over many hours.
Its a huge help not to have dirty, muddy, totally soaked shoes that will take forever to dry, especially if the next day is cool and cloudy again.
-having wool socks that help my feet not get cold when damp is very important.
-my rain pants are a North Face rain pant, rather light (220g) and made with HyVent 2.5L material that are good in rain and breathe very well. They also dry out very quickly in the sun or wind , which is nice to do when the weather clears and you take a break and take your rain gear off, so its not so wet going back in your pannier.
- obviously a good rain jacket that allows you to put a fleece on underneath. I find better designed jackets with better neck fitting (mine doesnt have a hood) and vent zips and or back vents, plus a longer rear section, longer arms etc, work pretty well.
-again, layers underneath that still keep your warm when damp, because lets face it, we will be damp from riding effort and or just a bit of water getting in over time.
-I like always having a neck buff thing, I have numerous of them, but a good old fashioned fleece one is light and helps keep your neck and shoulder areas warm in a cold rain--super important forme, or I get a stiff neck etc.
-polypro little toque under helmet if cold enough--or balaclava if colder--again, my regular setup riding in fall and winter, and I can use the toque or balaclava seperately or together, temperatures depending.
-rain cover on top of helmet--really nice in heavy rain for a long time, stops your head from getting soaked, and less rain running down your neck. To me, super important. I have an older yellow, goretex MEC one. Works great.
-and finally for hands....I have tried some supposedly waterproof biking rain gloves in the past, but they were pretty crap--but this was a long time ago, there probably are good ones now, but I'm sure expensive. In the end, I bring with me some wool gloves and some dishwashing gloves that are large enough to put the thin wool or polypro gloves inside.
Yes, this is very dorky looking, and yes your hands will sweat a certain amount and get damp, but at least your hands and fingers will function because they are not frozen from rain and wind for hours at 5c or 10c or whatever.
Not high tech, but they can save your arse (well, your hands)

my rain jacket is the most bulky of all this stuff, but really, the rest isnt that bad for bulk or weight, and totally worth it to know that you will not have a totally miserable time if its cool or cold and raining all day.

yes, this stuff takes up space compared to a minimalist setup, so really its up to you to figure out what discomfort you are comfortable with.
I use all this stuff simply from having had blah unpleasant experiences in the past.

for sure, temperatures expected are a big factor too, and the amount of unpleasantness and discomfort and length of discomfort very much depends on the expected temps, and again, what you are willing to put up with.
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Old 04-22-21, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
... dishwashing gloves that are large enough to put the thin wool or polypro gloves inside.
Yes, this is very dorky looking, and yes your hands will sweat a certain amount and get damp, but at least your hands and fingers will function because they are not frozen from rain and wind for hours at 5c or 10c or whatever.
Not high tech, but they can save your arse (well, your hands)
^^^ This
I let my feet and hands get wet. If it's too cold, then a "dog-poop bag" between sock and shoe keeps feet warm, and dishwashing gloves or cheap waterproof gardening gloves over bike gloves keep hands warm.
Then at camp I'll wear Sealskinz Gore-Tex socks and flip-flops and try to dry shoes, socks, and gloves out as much as possible overnight with newspaper in them, and put them on wet the next day and hope the sun will come out!

"Waterproof" socks and gloves won't keep you dry riding a whole day in the rain. I've tried Sealskinz gloves, and once wet due to moisture getting in or condensation, they're an awful hassle to put back on if you take them off, all the different layers get scrunched up! Gah! Especially hard if your fingers are cold.

Anything "really cold" is a whole other ballpark

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Old 04-22-21, 09:14 AM
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Thanks for your inputs. For background -- in "the past" we'd avoid riding on rainy days, a mix of touring dry regions and a "rain-means-a-zero-day" policy (largely because of the kids). I am currently reviewing my kit in anticipation of a longish solo trip where I expect 35% probability of rain, including "mild deluges" (Northern Canada, iif travel restrictions are removed, which if far from certain...)

So... never bothered with waterproof socks/mitts. I ride barefoot in sandals, which I find perfectly fine in the rain. And almost always wear (liner) gloves (to avoid sunburns), and while I do not like wet hands, wasn't such a big deal.

But a full day in cold rain may be more enjoyable if the extremities are treated properly. Searching for alternatives, I was surprised by the limited number of options and horrified by prices for many/most of them. Up to a few minutes ago, my plan was to pack a few nitrile gloves (might be useful anyhow when you play with your chain) and a couple of bread bags for my feet. A last hope search, just now, for waterproof over-mitts turned up a minor deal on Raidlight shells (20g for a pair ) so I pulled the trigger on these.

Still pondering wrt feet. The plastic bottle DIY is great, but perhaps not the most practical. I might still haemorrhage cash and get a pair of "real" waterproof socks. Or pack a pair of bread bags, or make sure that I have a couple of 5L dry-bags in my luggage.

Following this thread for inspiration.
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Old 04-22-21, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by gauvins View Post
... and get a pair of "real" waterproof socks. Or pack a pair of bread bags ...
I'm a huge fan of dog-poop bags. They're the perfect size for feet! I use them doubled up to pack food too as they don't let odours through (duh!).

Can even be pooped in and thrown in the "dog-poop trash cans" in public parks etc? Do you have those in the USA too? Sorry if that was too much information!
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Old 04-22-21, 09:28 AM
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(Good morning djb )
Originally Posted by djb View Post
[...snip...] In the end, I bring with me some wool gloves and some dishwashing gloves that are large enough to put the thin wool or polypro gloves inside.
Something I considered seriously. Not a problem (perhaps a benefit) looking like a dork. Just not sure that I'd have liked the feeling all day long (pulled the trigger on a pair of DCF shells.)

Originally Posted by djb View Post
my rain jacket is the most bulky of all this stuff, but really, the rest isnt that bad for bulk or weight, and totally worth it to know that you will not have a totally miserable time if its cool or cold and raining all day.
Interesting. I am still a week or two prior to the great "how-does-everything-fit-in-the-bags" exercise so, no decision made yet on that front.

I have an OR Helium jacket+pants. Pack quite small (a pair of large oranges). BUT I am in love with my Patagonia Houdini Air (packs the size of an apple). Debating which to bring or perhaps both (the Air is a much better all-around shell; the Helium more waterproof, doesn't breathe as well so not a great option for early morning start).

First world "problems"
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Old 04-22-21, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by imi View Post
I'm a huge fan of dog-poop bags. They're the perfect size for feet! I use them doubled up to pack food too as they don't let odours through (duh!).

Can even be pooped in and thrown in the "dog-poop trash cans" in public parks etc? Do you have those in the USA too? Sorry if that was too much information!
I live in Canada, so can't really say about how this delicate issue is handled in the US (they do such a great job with vaccines, they probably handle this properly )

Will try this. The great thing is that we can find some free poop-bags here and there. I only I could remember where...
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Old 04-22-21, 12:50 PM
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I think you should just plan to wear wet gloves and get your hands wet. Get ones that dry quick, in cool weather you would want long finger gloves. In my previous post I listed the ones I like for that.

Feet, if you are not wearing rain pants, your feet will get wet. Even if you have waterproof socks, the water hits your leg skin and flows down to your feet. Which means, if it is cool enough for rain pants, then you could do the waterproof socks you mention, or shoe covers.

I use the shoe covers in the photo when I use normal bike shoes. Rain pants have to overlap over the covers to keep the water out. And that means that when you bend your knees when pedaling, your rain pants have to be long enough to still overlap your shoe covers with bent knees.



When I wear my Keen sandals, the above shoe covers do not fit. Then I use some made by Showers Pass over my Keens.

I also bring some hiking shoes made by Merrill that are waterproof. I go to exteme measures to make sure that either my hiking shoes or my bike shoes stay dry.

I bring some thin and lightweight sandals made by Teva, mainly use them as shower shoes. But if there was a risk that I would get both pairs of shoes wet, I would be more inclined to wear the Tevas will keeping my dry pair of shoes in a dry pack.

My pedals are SPD cleat on one side, platform on the other so I can and often have worn my Merrills for a day of cycling while I am drying out my cycling shoes.

I have some Dexshell waterproof socks, but I only wear them when it is nearly freezing in winter in case I have to stop my bike and put my foot in an icy puddle. Have not worn them in rain, so can't comment on that. I wear a thin pair of polypropylene liner socks in the Dexshell socks.

***

You only asked about hands and feet, not sure if you have thought about your head. I really like a rain cover over my helmet, keeps some of the water from dripping down my neck, no water dripping down my forehead, etc. My helmet has a visor that puts the rain cover further forward.

And I want some yellow or clear glasses to wear to keep the rain out of my eyes.



Some people use shower caps that they got from motel rooms that they have stayed in, that would work too.
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Old 04-22-21, 01:42 PM
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Another cyclist in the campground rigged these up just before she and her husband left the campground on a cold, wet day on the Icefield Parkway in Alberta.


My wife's outfit for the day was rain jacket and pants, wool socks, glove liners, ear warmer, and helmet cover. Glove liners and wool socks are usually adequate, even on cold days. P.S. Shower caps also work well for covering bike saddles when stopped on wet days. There is one covering my wife's saddle.



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Old 04-22-21, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
[...snip...]
You only asked about hands and feet, not sure if you have thought about your head. I really like a rain cover over my helmet, keeps some of the water from dripping down my neck, no water dripping down my forehead, etc. My
Well... my shell(s) have hood(s). I assume that they will do the trick.

Hmmm... my "system" is something like a base layer (capilene) + mid layer (capilene air hoody; plain hood -- scores very high on the dorky look scale) + wind shell (Patagonia Houdini air (DWR) -- hood with "visor") + rain shell (OR Helium (Pertex) -- hood with visor). I've often used the mid layer + wind shell and it works very very well. I'll take a long and cold shower (will have to be discreet, so wife and kids do not think that I've completely lost my mind) to get a better feel. (is the rain shell "really" useful/necessary)

Too bad I don't have a bike trainer -- would make for a fun test!

---

btw : I've also pulled the trigger on a pair of Hydroskin socks; 0.5mm of neoprene + DWR shell. Sounds good. Will see if they get any use other than taking space inside a pannier... (worse comes to worst, they'll serve a purpose next summer (assuming travel options are fully opened), replacing an old pair of ridiculously thick boots we use on our floating tin can.

---
[EDIT]
Forgot to mention -- great pic. Makes us believe that rain is great!
[/EDIT]

[EDIT2]
What's your rear view mirror? Mine is tiny. Less air drag, but really not great at what it should be doing.
[/EDIT]

Last edited by gauvins; 04-22-21 at 02:08 PM.
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Old 04-22-21, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
Glove liners and wool sock are usually adequate, even on cold days.
Tend to completely agree. Has been enough for us so far. Just planning for the worst (planning made more intense by a serious case of cabin fever). Going through my kit, reviewing my options.

(great pics)
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Old 04-22-21, 02:22 PM
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Not sure I have the best solutions, but here is what I've found:
  • There is a difference between warm rain I've encountered more in the east of the US/Canada and cold rain I've gotten more in the west. Warm rain isn't as big a deal and I just get wet.
  • For cold rain, I worry more about staying warm than keeping dry. A shower cap and wool hat on top. Wool socks on the bottom. Sometimes plastic bags, but usually my feet are wet either way. I use basic heavier ski mitts that are the same as for cold.
All that seems to work reasonably well until about -5C, at which point we're often not talking about rain anymore anyways. The other big thing is actually then once I get off the bike since I am generating less heat than when I am moving in the rain. At that point, a dry set of clothes, particularly including socks is useful. Also ideally a warm place inside, but if not that, then jumping into a heavier sleeping bag.
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Old 04-22-21, 02:45 PM
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Fenders that are effective, plus a rain cape, plus a waterproof helmet cover: All I need to keep dry while riding in the rain. They protect my hands, feet and everything else, from the rain. I like the J&G rain cape and helmet cover. I don't like hoods because they aren't compatible with eyeshield-worn rear-view mirrors.

For the cold in general, I prefer wool socks and fingerless gloves that convert into mittens.
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Old 04-22-21, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by gauvins View Post
.....
[EDIT2]
What's your rear view mirror? Mine is tiny. Less air drag, but really not great at what it should be doing.
[/EDIT]
Mirror is a Third Eye.
Third Eye® Hard Shell Helmet Mirror

I did not check Canada Amazon, this is USA version.
https://www.amazon.com/Third-Eye-Rou.../dp/B0012OKAZS

Disregard their reference to hard shell helmets, it clamps onto my helmet visor. I think that Bell was the first company to come out with a bike helmet that was better than some of the padding things sold in Europe decades earlier, Bell was big in the motorcycle helmet business. And their bike helmet had a hard shell with foam inside, the mirror was designed so that it could clamp onto that hard shell. That was the 1980s, nobody makes helmets that way any more, but it is great for clamping on my visor. I can unthread the clamp to remove it for when I get on an airplane too.

I have busted one, crashed badly enough to need surgery. But otherwise the mirror and bracket is quite durable. Have been using these for over a decade.

***

Hoods, I do not want to wear one when biking. Campsite, yes but not on the road. But if that works for you, great.
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Old 04-22-21, 03:20 PM
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gauvins, it sounds like you have a pretty good system, and I'm sure you can do some test rides in the rain in the next few weeks that will have low temperatures so that you can really see how the system works over an hour or two.

this is probably the best way to go at this, test rides but thinking about some of the ideas here to see if you would like to change things.
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Old 04-22-21, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
I'm sure you can do some test rides in the rain in the next few weeks that will have low temperatures so that you can really see how the system works over an hour or two.
Veeeeery funny (as early as Sunday. Aren't we lucky to be living in the Belle Province!)
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Old 04-22-21, 04:44 PM
  #22  
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to the rest of you--what he meant by that is that yesterday and today, we had snow. It snowed most of yesterday and a bit more today, although today the roads were clear, so I rode to work--but no rain at least!

more of a concern to me is how crossing the border to Ontario will be the next time I go to help my family.
The Americans here would be aghast to hear of both the border closures and our 8pm curfew.......
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Old 04-23-21, 05:32 AM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
... , and I'm sure you can do some test rides in the rain in the next few weeks that will have low temperatures so that you can really see how the system works over an hour or two.
....
An hour or two? What a wimpy suggestion. I think at least six hour test ride is necessary. Only that way will you know where all the leaks are. And the test ride should only occur after the puddles have developed enough depth to truly test the rain gear.


Photo from PEI, so the puddles are genuine Canadian rain puddles.


Originally Posted by djb View Post
...
The Americans here would be aghast to hear of both the border closures and our 8pm curfew.......
It all depends on where your values are. It is pretty apparent here that Canada has different values than USA.
https://ourworldindata.org/explorers...nfirmed+deaths
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Old 04-23-21, 06:43 AM
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T, I know you're mostly kidding about a long ride in rain, but a long time does show up details-- but who would do it on purpose?
when I look back at it, like gauvins I've been pretty lucky with rain on bike trips. A big part of that has been specifically choosing where and when I tour, putting chances more on good weather.

I've really only had a few times with longer rain, and just one on a cold day where I had no choice but to continue.
I certainly learned that day that having the layers, neckbuff, toque (thin beanie) etc to keep from getting chilled when damp was the most important thing after good full rain protection gear.

And ya, the covid thing certainly is a drag, for so many reasons. Being logical, adjusting to how things change and responsibly promoting proper behaviour is everyone's only way to move forward.
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Old 04-23-21, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
T, I know you're mostly kidding about a long ride in rain, ....
Yes I was being as sarcastic as I could. I have had lots of all day rides in the rain, but I would never actually do it on purpose unless the only choice was sitting in a very boring spot for a day.

And you might have seen in a previous thread where I put down some discarded sheets of newspaper on the ground in my tent vestibule area to keep my gear separate from the mud. Such days can be unpleasant for so many reasons.

For example, my Maritimes trip in 2019, I stayed at a hostel for three nights when I saw that the forecast was for five consecutive days or rain. Thus, I rode two days in rain, dried out for two at the hostel and then the fifth day of rain was the day I took the photo of the puddles in my previous post. I could have stayed at the hostel for a fourth night, but really wanted to get rolling and decided with only one more day of rain, I could dry out the next day.

This photo was from the first of those five days of rain.



One more quick note on rain gear. I really hate rain pants that keep sliding down on me. I use some cheap clip on suspenders to keep my rain pants up without having to pull a draw string so tight that it actually works. The only downside of suspenders is that you have to take off a jacket first to put the rain pants on. Thus, if you are already wearing a rain jacket for warmth when the rain starts, that adds a couple extra steps.
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