Yesterday we had an unseasonably warm 78 degrees here in the dirty south, and of course we enjoyed a fun afternoon ride. The warm front pushed thunderstorms in throughout the night and most of the day, making for a sloppy wet gray day. Even with the rain, this morning at 7 AM it was 64 degrees. This evening the warm front lost the fight, and temp plummeted. As a result, the temperature at the start of my commute tomorrow (7 AM) will be HALF of what it was today, 32 degrees. Now that’s an extreme change!
It’s important to stay prepared when the temperature swings so much. I usually roll up a rain (resistant) jacket and strap it to my rack, and sometimes I roll a fleece with it as well. If I have my pack, you can bet I carry the LizardSkins gloves for sudden temp drops. Another effect of the extreme changes in temp and humidity around here, is that we get a lot of fog – usually in the morning, but it can pop up on an afternoon too, so I always carry one extra set of batteries for my lights just in case.
I now cycle in the rain with not much hope of staying dry. I just carry a dry set of clothes in my pack, within a plastic bag. I am in search of decent rain gear that doesn’t cost a fortune. I’m not willing to pay $200.00 or more for rain gear, I’m looking for $150.00 or less, emphasis on less.
Getting wet is really not that bad if you can stay warm and your commute is short. My 25 minute ride makes it easier to ‘beat’ the cold. A two or three hour ride in wet 40 degree conditions would probably adjust my attitude on how much I would spend.
I’m going to be doing some testing for Commute by Bike on winter cycling over the next couple weeks. I want to use items we all already have in our drawers and closets – not the expensive things we wish we had in those catalogues. An everyman’s guide to staying warm and dry (as possible) in inclement weather. If you have any “cheap tips” you want me to check out, just let me know in the comments – I’ll be your extreme cycling guinea pig!