Rain, rain, go away…
It’s getting to that time of year when the weather starts to take a turn and the rain starts to fall. However, that doesn’t mean you have to stop riding. Riding a bike when you’re soaked through with rain isn’t necessarily an enjoyable experience – it can make you lose concentration and focus on the road ahead, which in turn can take your mind off important things and make mistakes, so it’s only right that we are fully prepped and ready to tackle it head on.
By kitting yourself in the right gear and making sure you’re warm and dry, riding your two-wheeled machine will still be a pleasure. A lot of riding gear out there is waterproof – thanks to membranes, liners and coatings – it may be that your trousers and jacket are already going to protect you from the elements. However, waterproof oversuits are great for sticking under your seat or keeping in your rucksack in case you get caught out or putting on over your gear in particularly heavy downpours.
There are an abundance of products on the market all with the aim of keeping you snug and dry. However, with so much to choose from, where do you start?
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As the name suggests, a one-piece rainsuit consists of an oversuit with a zip down the front. Often the zip is longer than on conventional suits because it allows you to have more space to get in and out, plus it makes it easier to get it on over the top of your riding gear. One-piece suits are favoured by a lot of people as there is no gap at the waist for rain to work its way into. On the flip side, they cannot be worn as separate pieces and can sometimes be bulky to fold up.
With a two-piece suit, you have the option to wear the jacket and the trousers separately, for example, if it rains but you’re happy with your outer jacket to keep you dry, then you can just wear the trousers and vice versa. Like the one-piece suit, the items are worn over the top of your riding gear with the main aim of keeping you dry. Sometimes you can buy the items separately too so should you need to replace your jacket because you wear it more than your trousers – you can!
You might not be a big fan of hi-visibility clothing but the weather conditions in which you’ll be wearing the suit will be dark and miserable – therefore, consider getting a brightly coloured oversuit or one with reflective piping on so that you can be seen easily by other road users. An all-black suit may look the ‘coolest’ in the dealership but a rainsuit isn’t a particularly glamourous item so you may as well bite the bullet and get the one which protect you the most. Plus, it is highly likely that no-one will be judging how cool you look, but instead will be running around trying to get out of the rain.
Top tips for buying waterproofs
- Take the rest of your gear with you and try it on at the same time as its important it all works together.
- Sit on your bike in them then you will be able to see if the suit is comfortable in the riding position of your bike.
- Bear in mind that some clothing brands have different sizing, so you might not necessarily be the same size in all of them.
Why is it important to stay warm?
Being cold and wet on the bike is not fun. In fact, it’s so stressful and tiring, you actually become less alert, slowing your reaction times and leaving you at risk. I find that insulated, non-bulky, wind and waterproof gear will maintain your body temperature and keep you at your sharpest when out on the road. Multi-layering works best and its important make sure you are able to handle your machine controls easily and effectively. There’s nothing worse than a bulky pair of gloves which make you catch your horn when you reach for your indicators!