Getting Ready to Ride in the Rain

Here at Helmet City we are already thinking about the upcoming rainy season. The riding weather is superb right now but we are always getting new gear in and that makes us take another look at the options. I have a history of ignoring the ATGATT dictum and as a consequence I have a small compendium of soaked-and-cold-to-the-bone stories to tell around the campfire.

One of the more miserable events was the time i was riding through France (North to South) during the Bol D’Or Weekend. It was late summer and I thought I would be fine with just a leather jacket, boots and jeans: oh, I was so wrong.  Not long into the journey the sky grayed up and the temp. started to drop. I could see it coming and about the time that you could smell the rain in the air a mist started to fog up my face shield. I figured the road would start to get slick as the water brought up the oil on the expressway so I slowed down.

I looked for a place to pull over in order to snug up my jacket but figured it could wait until I got gas. By the time I pulled into the massive super station I was drenched. There were bikes everywhere as it was one of France’s biggest Moto weekends.  I looked around at the assembled crowd clustered around the filling pumps and I was the only fool in a leather jacket and jeans. Rain Water sloshed in my boots and now that I had something else to focus upon other than keeping the bike upright I started to shake from the cold. I still had many more wet miserable miles to go before I made it to my campsite.

Everyone else at the petrol emporium was either wearing some sort of multi-season gear and just going on about their business or they were tearing into their bags for rain-specific outer coverings. I ached with envy and swore I would never do another ride without thinking through the whole rainy weather scenario.

I am slightly embarrassed, after laying out the story above, to say that I have yet to get it sussed. I do have the boot thing sorted with my new Sidi On-Road boots. Nice. Here’s what I figure: I can either get a nice multi-season jacket and wear it along with the reasonably water resistant textile overpants I am fond of riding in these days or I can go for the small folded-up  rain suit rig that scrunches down under the seat or into a panier or tank bag. They both have their advantages. There are also the full suit options.  I had one once back in the mid-eighties and it was extraordinarily comfy in all but the hottest weather.

This season I am trying to plan ahead and find myself touring through our wet weather options. We have a section of the website dedicated to a collection of our rain gear offerings. If I shift some tools around under the seat I think I may have room for a small scrunchable rain suit. So, the master plan at the moment is to get something that lives under the seat all the time and then look more closely at my rain jacket/pant or rain suit options. This setup will have me covered in all possible scenarios and avoids the potential for future sad sack gas station shivering.

I currently have a couple of Tourmaster jackets and I am happy with their fit, workmanship and price.  So, I think my choice for rainsuit (oversuit) type rain gear is going to be either their full suit, the Elite II or their Sentinel Jacket and pants set. Both of these Tourmaster rain suit options are designed to be worn over your riding jackets and pants. None of the Toumaster rain gear clothing comes in hi-viz but amongst their many color offerings there is a bright yellow. Again, I wonder why these gear manufacturers are not putting out more hi-viz riding wear.

The other possibility I am considering is a jacket and pants combo that is designed as rain gear but is not an over-suit.  Although it is a bit costy I really like the looks of the Icon Patrol in their Hi-viz, mil. Spec. yellow. The Icon Patrol duo is loaded with features not the least of which are their magnetic storm flap closures, full CE armor and even a water bladder option.

On trips when I know I am going to be heading out into inclement weather the  hi-viz Icon Patrol would seem to be the way to go for me. The thought that they put into this set up really shows and if I am riding in nasty weather I want to be seen on the road. Then again there will be plenty of times down the road when I get caught out in the rain as I did in France. The Toumaster Sentinel or elite setups would be easy to pack and to don when the sprinkles start.  I will let you know what I decide and I’ll do a wetness test at the advent of this year’s rainy season.

Gerde Applethwaite.