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Amsterdam: Cycling Gear for a Rainy Day

17 Sep

Last fall, when I told people I intended to ride my bike to work every day, I often got the response, “but what about the rain?” The truth was, I didn’t know if I would ride in the rain or not. I prefer to ride in my work clothes rather than carry them, but didn’t want to risk sitting around wet all morning. And I’m not brave enough to ride with an umbrella like people do in Amsterdam.

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Thus I began my search for the elusive perfect cycling raincoat. The problem with most coats is that they are designed for walking, not sitting. When you sit, the coat spreads to expose your thighs–exactly where most of the rain hits you when cycling. I bought a vintage swing raincoat that’s full enough to cover my legs, but it’s a couple of sizes too big, and frumpy is not my thing. So I ended up using my standard poplin rain coat and settled for changing my pants to wool tights that stay warm when wet. An OK, but not ideal, solution.

So imagine my excitement when I found the perfect cycle-specific raincoat here in Amsterdam, with a special panel that protects the thighs when sitting. It’s made by Agu and runs large in case you want to buy it online.

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And while I was on a roll, I found a few other awesome items, like these yellow panniers from Clarijs made from rain slicker material. I think they’ll look great on Zella, and will keep my groceries super dry.

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I also found a rain cover for my saddle that should come in handy too. I appreciated it today when I came out of the Rijksmuseum to a dry saddle, unlike Dick who had to sit in the damp.

All this fab Dutch cycling gear almost has me looking forward to the California rainy season. Bring it on, El NiƱo!

Do you have anything special that you wear to ride in the rain or are you a fair weather rider?

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13 Comments

Posted by on September 17, 2011 in Around Town, Gear Talk

 

13 responses to “Amsterdam: Cycling Gear for a Rainy Day

  1. Katie Schoeben

    September 25, 2011 at 10:15 am

    What fun bike stuff. Great article – thanks for sharing all your treasures.

     
  2. Rachel Unger

    October 4, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    I set out to get all the rain gear I’d need for the Nor Cal rainy season – water-resistant-enough pannier, Marmot rain jacket, rain pants, and those Sugoi rain booties. After one absolutely miserable (windy, flat tire, rain down my collar) ride to Redwood City, I added rainproof mitts and started stuffing my jacket hood under my helmet. Except for my face, I am entirely impermeable now.

    I just happen to walk like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

     
    • ladyfleur

      October 4, 2011 at 12:56 pm

      LOL, Rachel! Do you have a photo of your Stay Puft Man outfit? I wore my new coat home last night for our first storm of the season. It worked great, but it wasn’t a full test. The rain was light so I didn’t even pull up the hood; my wool cap was enough. I need to find some gloves I like now. What brand are you using? Oh, and do you have full fenders? Those make a huge difference.

       
      • Rachel Unger

        October 4, 2011 at 3:28 pm

        I don’t have fenders at all – part of the reason the pants were absolutely necessary. What’s funny is that the clothes themselves don’t look terribly puffy or difficult – if I find a photo, I’ll post it later on.

        The mitts are… let’s see… Novara women’s Stratos. I really like that they have a bit of fleecy stuff inside (warm!), the fact that they come a bit up my forearms like gauntlets, and that there is an elastic string around the tops to tighten them. The pinky and next-to-pinky fingers are lumped together in one “finger”, which is why I called them mitts.

        What I don’t like is that I have to put the mitts on before the coat if I want to keep my rain seal, and doing up my zipper is thus a bit more challenging. If I put the mitts on after the coat, I lack the dexterity to get them under the sleeves or I start to get wet wrists when rain slides down the coat into the mitts. This means that if I stop midride, it’s a pain to get resuited. However, for a commute where I didn’t stop I think they’d be fantastic.

         
  3. Elly Phillips

    October 9, 2012 at 7:43 am

    I’m completely a fair weather rider but I feel like I should make the effort to find suitable equipment for the rain. When I was a uni student in the Uk I rode my bike everywhere in all weathers. Maybe I just got wet a lot, as I can’t remember having good rain proof gear!

     
    • ladyfleur

      October 9, 2012 at 8:01 am

      If your bike has fenders you don’t get nearly as wet and here in the Bay Area the rain is more often mist than anything significant. I’ve only needed this rain coat about a half dozen times. The rest of the time the lightweight poplin jacket in the second photo was sufficient. Oh, and tall boots help a lot.

       
  4. Gaby

    November 17, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    What size are your panniers?

     
  5. Beth

    September 12, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    I have a Marmot rain jacket that I got last summer after my husband and I got stuck in a torrential downpour. It works okay but my legs and feet get soaked if its raining hard. I don’t have full fenders but I’ve been looking at them and dreaming :) I’m willing to ride in the rain but if I think it’s going to be too much I choose the bus.

     
    • ladyfleur

      September 12, 2013 at 8:10 pm

      Jackets only cover so much which is why I was so excited to find the long coat. I don’t have rain pants because I wear dresses more than pants. But I have friends in Portland that swear by them.

      You should definitely look into full fenders. I installed some plastic ones from Planet Bike on my old MTB and they work really well.

       
  6. TinLizzie72

    March 3, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    I do love my Cleverhood! It’s pricey but I even wore it today in the snow, over my blizzard coat. It’s great! And it’s reflective. :)

     

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