Cycle commuting in the rain can be a right pain. You arrive at work soaked through, resembling a drowned rat, clothes and bag sodden. It doesn't have to be this way, though. Choose the right waterproof cycling kit and accessories and you'll sail through the downpours and puddles, arriving at work warm and dry (and just a little bit smug.)
Generally speaking it's worth investing in a good waterproof jacket, but these other waterproof cycling gear and accessories will make all the difference.
Watching the pennies? We've also come up with some cheap cheats as an alternative to gear mentioned below. They might not last as long, but they'll get you out of a fix!
1. Waterproof Cycling Helmet Covers
Cost: From around £15
CHEAT: Grab one of those plastic shower caps and pop it on over your hair, but under your helmet. You can of course go for one of the larger, more robust (and often floral) shower caps and wear it over your helmet - you'd certainly get noticed!
Cost: Around £1.50 for 10
2. Waterproof Cycling Gloves
CHEAT: Grab some disposable gloves and bung them on under your cycling gloves. They won't stop your gloves from getting wet, but they will keep your hands a lot warmer. Keep spare pairs at work to put on before you put your wet gloves on to head home.
Cost: From around £1 for 18 gloves
3. Waterproof Cycling Trousers
CHEAT: We've seen a few people use the plastic bin bag cheat, which basically involves taping bin bags around your legs. It's effective, but a bit of a faff, and looks kinda odd. Another alternative is to buy a cheap pair of waterproof trousers from an outdoor shop. They won't be breathable, so they tend to get wet with condensation on the inside, but they're okay for short journeys and heavy downpours!
Cost: Pakka Women's Waterproof Trousers £12.99
4. Waterproof Cycling Overshoes and Waterproof Socks
If you don't mind your shoes getting wet, then waterproof socks like these ones from Sealskinz are a great option. Pop these on and your feet will stay dry and warm to and from work. The other good thing about waterproof socks is that they are versatile - you can use them for walking, hiking, mountain biking, or other outdoors activities.
Cost: Waterproof Overshoes from £33 , Waterproof Socks from £24
CHEAT: If you've got an old pair of shoes or trainers you don't mind getting wet, then pop a plastic bag over your socks before you put them in your shoes, and tape or tie the handle firmly (but not too tight!) around the ankle. This will help keep your feet warm and dry, but you might find your feet slip around in the shoe a bit, and you'll probably need spare bags for the return journey.
Cost: Free if you have a stash of bags.
5. Waterproof Rucksack Cover
CHEAT: Line your rucksack with a bin-bag, make sure you twist and fold over the opening at the top, and your kit will arrive as dry as you. A more high-tech version is to get a dry-bag to put your kit in, and then pop this in your bag. Again, if you're outdoorsy, dry-bags are a very handy and versatile piece of kit.
Cost: Bin bags from 15p each. Dry bags from approx. £8 each.
There are few things more miserable on a cycle commute than the feeling of icy, dirty water flying up your back then running down into your trousers. Yuck. Putting on a mudguard won't just prevent this, it will also increase your popularity with fellow cyclists as they won't get a face full of road spray as they ride behind you.
Cost: Starting from around £12 for a rear mudguard only.
CHEAT: Make your own mudguard from a plastic bottle! It's free, simple, and gets you out of a jam if it starts raining while you're at work. Plastic folders also work well. Check out these guides on Instructables and Bike Hacks for the How Tos. If you don't fancy making your own, there are also the simple and cheap Ass Saver mudguards which work in a similar fashion. [Check out some more bike hacks from our friends over at Dirt Magazine.]
Cost: Homemade mudguard free! Ass Saver Mudguard £6.49
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