Despite the accuracy of Met Office weather reports improving in recent years, there’s nothing worse than setting off for what looks to be a fine day only to find that you’re caught out by a cold shower (or worse).
If the forecast is looking a bit iffy then air on the side of caution and dress accordingly to ensure that you can fend off the elements should they bite.
The primary choice of protection from the wet is a good waterproof jacket. Although they can seem expensive, a high performing garment in this category is worth every penny – as you’ll soon realise when the rain starts to lash it down and you’re still laughing. Check for taped seams to prevent water penetrating where two parts of the jacket are stitched together and, unless you are riding in extreme conditions all day, make sure it’s packable so that you can carry it with you in a pocket when it stops raining.
Keeping your extremities dry on the bike is one of the more challenging aspects of cycling in wet weather. Waterproof gloves can help fend off the worst for a couple of hours but once they become saturated the level of protection deteriorates rapidly. Likewise with rainproof overshoes, they’re certainly better than not covering your feet at all but don’t expect them to keep you 100 per cent dry all day, just think of them as an essential extra barrier for the short term.
In some instances ‘shower-proof’ garments can be a real bonus when you know you could get caught in a downpour and you don’t want (or have the space) to carry extra clothing. Sportful’s range of ‘No-Rain’ items have been designed with that exact purpose in mind, utilising a coated fabric that beads water droplets off of in wet conditions.