There’s a relatively new kid on the rainy season block, the cycling rain cape. And no, these aren’t the dorky rain ponchos you buy in a clear pack when is starts raining at the baseball game. These are rain covers specifically designed for riding any kind of bike. Rain capes may look a little funny at first, but these lightweight pieces are surprisingly effective and comfortable.
The key difference between a cycling rain cape and a traditional rain poncho is that the body of a rain cape extends over your handlebars to create a soft tent to keep you dry.
The vast majority of rain cape users agree that rain pants are a drag. They’re awkward to put on (you probably need to take off your bike shoes) and even more awkward to remove. They are bulky and unattractive. Depending on what’s worn under them, rain pants can be rather uncomfortable.
With rain capes, it doesn’t matter what you’re wearing underneath, or what your body type is. Fit becomes less of an issue. With one piece of clothing, you can get coverage for your head, top and bottom.
Rain capes allow for better air flow, so on days when it’s wet but not cold, they’re a great way to go. They provide a tent of coverage from above to protect your legs, and bike fenders do the job from below. Rain capes are easy to take on and off and they dry off fairly quickly.
What you'll wear in a deliberate rain ride is probably a lot different than what you'll be wearing when you're caught by surprise. Be prepared for both scenarios.
Some cycling capes are so well designed, you can wear them instead of a rain jacket and enjoy better circulation, even when you're not cycling.
The great benefit of a rain cape versus the traditional rain suit is that the rain cape keeps you dry and ventilated, whereas in sustained exertion, rain suits tend to build up heat and sweat. When you ride a longer distance in a rain suit you still get wet from just your own moisture.
A cycling rain cape is excellent for touring or commuting,
generously sized for maximum coverage.
In just a couple of seconds, you can slip it on over whatever you're wearing,
and you are somewhat protected from the rain.
The most important thing to remember is that water will get everywhere after a while.
Believe it or not, there are people who actually enjoy the peacefulness, solitude and extra challenges of cycling in the rain. Their experiences yield worthwhile advice, even if their cycling preferences are hard to believe for the beginner.
Give it a try. When you have time on a rainy day, get your bike out, put your rain cape on, and enjoy a leisurely ride around town or the nearby countryside.
With a bit of luck you'll come across a flooded cycle path,
or a lake to relax in.
Cycling capes are not designed for swimming,
but can keep you warm during or after a refreshing bath.