Rainy Season in Seattle


by Byron on Nov 06, 2008 at 6:09 PM

The rainy season is back in Seattle with new wet-weather gear challenges for a longtail. I’ve got riding in the rain down to a science when touring, training, riding hard, and even racing. It’s a liner, windtex, outer shell, and fleece-lined knickers or tights. I don’t generate the heat riding a longtail in a urban enviroment, but also need to stay warm and not get to hot. I’m experimenting with

As you can see in the photo, I’m bundled up good with the PreCip hood up and over the helmet. Sitting up and seeing the world is great on the Bettie, but also means the driving rain drives right into your face. Got the campy hat with the bill to keep some of out of my eyes and the eyeware is for protection as well as glare. I wish someone made chaps for cyclists. Reports to follow on how this works out.

What are you wearing on your commute?

Uploaded by Hugger Industries | more from the Bike Hugger Photostream.

Share this story:

Recommended Reading

I live in Wisconsin.  This weeks its been sunny and in the mid 60’s.  Today a front is coming with rain turning into snow.  I opted for the following.  IceBreaker wool long sleeve top.  Specialized windbreaker that converts into a vest.  Bib tights.  Swobo legwarmers if needed.  BikePlanet gloves.

Someone does make chaps for cyclists.  Well, at least upper leg chaps. They’re called Rain Legs. Here’s a link. http://www.wallbike.com/oddsnends/rainlegs.html
I’ve never used them, because I hate to ride in the rain (and I got a Brooks saddle to remind me of that).

That’s right and we posted [on those](http://bikehugger.com/2007/11/diy_rain_nickers_rainlegs_ghet.htm) previously. I’m looking for something more motorcycle like.

I just wear a bright orange jacket with removable sleeves primarily to make myself obvious to others. It does, however, keep my torso dry. I just keep a spare change of ‘formal’ work attire at work for me to change in to.

Pretty balmy (51 degrees) drizzly commute in this morning. I wore nike full finger gloves, MBT helmet (for the visor), rain shell (pit zips undone) over long sleeve moisture wiking T, bike shorts with Bellweather tights and toe covers.

I don’t see the need for chaps as my upper legs are under my torso and don’t get wet.

Because of a very long front fender my feet stay dry with just toe covers unless its pouring then I wish for gaiters that would cover my shins and top of shoes.

Clever Cycles has chaps with removable lower leg sections too. 

I’m also looking forward to ShowersPass’ new shoe covers—to cover non-bikey shoes, in the 2009 catalog (watch out, it’s a 6 MB pdf): http://www.showerspass.com/catalog/Fall2008.pdf

On the road, I’ve not had the “soaked thighs” problem and that’s unique to the Bettie position. Not only am I “face forward” to the rain, but the runoff from my coat goes right into my lap.

A better alternative maybe a Scooter skirt like we saw in Taipei. I thought I got a photo of them, but didn’t. Like it sounds, it’s a covering that clips onto the scooter and wraps the rider’s lap and legs.

Good tip on Showers Pass we need to get some of their gear on test. The Silas pants from Ibex worked well, but I expect them to get hot on a balmy day.

I ride in an upright fashion and my thighs get soaked in the rain.  I have a cape from Carradice that does a fantastic job of keeping my dry and not hot and sweaty.  However if it is windy the darn thing works like a giant sail and is not so good.  I rarely use it for that reason.  Still, when it’s raining really hard but not windy it keeps pretty much all of me dry.  I’ve been hinting to my husband that rain legs would be a great Christmas gift.

Staying dry is important. However, I think you’re leaving out the second big issue with riding in the rain (or really, anytime) in Seattle - visibility. In addition to a myriad of lights on my bike, I wear: 1) A pair of neon yellow/green Dutch Harbor Gear pants. They’re the same ones you see WDOT workers wear. 2) A yellow Novarra jacket, which is almost (but not quite) as visible as the DHC pants. 3) A white helmet (the most visible standard color. 4) Black-and-yellow Sport Utility Gloves. 5) And finally, I tote everything in a bright yellow Ortlieb pannier.

As someone who has been doored and sideswiped in the past when wearing rainproof-but-less-visible clothing, I’m pretty sensitive to the need to be as visible as possible. I may look like I’m radioactive, but hey, the cars can see me.

And I almost forgot. Not very visbible (cuz they’re mostly black) but impervious to rain are the Sugoi booties I wear over my tennis shoes or boots. They’re really designed for bicycle shoes, but the X-Large size is big enough to fit over regular shoes. I wore them today and ended up with almost no water at all on my tennis shoes.

I’ve been using the Rain Legs for over a year now, and while they’re not perfect, they work better than any rain pants I have tried, especially with “normal” clothing underneath.  They do seem expensive at first glance, but they’ve been well worth it for me.

Appreciate the post because I live in Seattle and pretty much have always given in to the trainer after October.  I want to ride outside all winter, but can’t it be done without spending $1000 on apparel?  I went to the Ibex site and although their stuff looks really nice, I gagged on the prices.


ibex makes great stuff that also, unlike icebreaker, is a great value.  i love my thin long sleeve top, wool bibs, and my wool salsa arm warmers.

check out www.swiftwick.com for really great socks!


No need to spend big cash at all—just get some basics and I hear you on budget. We’ll post buyer’s guides with budgets in mind this Fall. Ibex and all wool offer much value, but there’s a large initial spend—I’d start with just the woolies liners as base layers and the PreCip jacket I’m using is 99.00. Nylon and lyrca are less expensive and see [this post](http://bikehugger.com/2007/10/riding_in_the_rain_in_seattle.htm) for more on riding in the rain and inexpensive options. We’ve haven’t tested their goods, but are hearing about [ShowersPass](http://www.showerspass.com/) and [Sugoi](http://sugoi.com/) is a favorite. Their [Resistor booties](http://sugoi.com/) are the best we’ve used. I wear them out and buy new ones.

In the Pacific Northwest, you’re going to get wet no matter what. The challenge is to stay warm when wet, but not too hot because it doesn’t get that cold here. GoreTek doesn’t work well in our environment cause it’s too hot. Windtek does. Clear plastic shells seem like a good idea, until they turn into a sauna inside . . . Riding tips include extra gloves and socks. Nothing more refreshing than putting a dry pair of gloves and socks on for the ride home.

Great feedback.  Love this blog.