Riding in the Rain

The wet weather I’ve been waiting for all month finally arrived today. I received a new rain jacket back on my birthday and though I’ve been able to wear it a couple times it hadn’t been subjected to a good wet trial run. I actually was able to get in three short rides today, rather than my usual two, and with each ride the conditions got progressively wetter.

Holding Houston while wearing my new rain jacket.

The morning commute was overcast and dry, but I confirmed that the jacket is a good windbreaker. The long sleeve nylon jersey I’ve been wearing recently as temperatures have cooled was actually too warm when layered under the jacket; my arms didn’t get their usual ventilation and the air temperature was a fairly warm 55°. It will be interesting to see how cold it has to get before that combination actually becomes viable.

I also got to give the jacket another test run during my second ride of the day when I met my family at the Riverfront Park Carousel shortly after lunch for some rides to celebrate my daughter Eawyn’s third birthday. It didn’t start raining until I headed back to work, but between the cooler temperatures and the short sleeve shirt I was wearing I felt much more comfortable. The rain was very gentle at that point and my uncovered legs didn’t get very wet at all. I decided to go ahead and try wearing the short sleeve shirt on the way home.

By the time I gone on the road after work the rain was coming down much harder and my shorts got soaked pretty quickly. My upper body on the other hand stayed cool and comfortably dry until I started climbing Sherman. Even with a short sleeve shirt on my arms started to get a little sweaty under the rain jacket. I loosened up the velcro around my wrists to increase airflow and that helped a little bit, but it was raining a bit too horizontally to contemplate unzipping the front for further ventilation.

Overall the new jacket did its job and made riding in the rain remarkably comfortable. I still need to determine optimal layering strategies and figure out how I’m going to keep my legs dryer in these kinds of conditions, but I look forward to getting in some more wet rides in the coming months. I’m a big fan of rainy weather and it’s great to know I’ll be able to ride comfortably no matter how wet it is.