Soaks up water

The prospect never looks like fun when you're warm, dry, and about to roll out into the monsoon, but here's a secret shared by many two wheel commuters:

Riding in bad weather can actually be fun. There's something very stimulating about braving the elements. It's challenging and provides a real sense of accomplishment. Plus, with the right gear, it doesn't have to be uncomfortable.

Here are my top tips for winter riding gear.The all-in-one winter rig. If you're in the elements daily, like I am, this is a good solution. It combines waterproofing, warmth, and crash protection into one garment. The most popular among commuters are First Gear Kathmandu jacket/pants, and the local favorite, Aerostich Roadcrafter suit.

Use a jacket and pants designed for riding. Sure, REI sells terrific outwear for walking in the rain… but you don't walk at 65 mph. Riding I-90 in a decent downpour is like facing the business end of a fire hose. Water will find every seam, and fast. And real riding gear has other advantages, like the proper cut and closures to keep the garment from inflating in the wind.

Much better than any anti-fogging lotions or potions I've tried.There are two approaches to basic trunk protection.The layered approach, with a lightweight waterproof fabric shell. This is perfect if you typically wear leathers, and it packs away easily when not in use.

Leather, unless carefully treated, soaks up water rather repelling it. Not recommended.
Gloves. Don't buy these online. Spend a few bucks more so you can try them on and see how they feel. Seattle Cycle in Seattle and Cycle Gear in Tacoma have good selection.

The trick, of course, is balancing insulation with feel. Thin silk liners can be used to warm up lighter gloves. And heated gloves are totally trick, but the power cords can drive you nuts.

The best solution may be heated grips, which allows you to wear a thinner glove Avoid boots with one or two large patches of hook and loop closure. As the hook and loop wears it will pop open easily and cause drafts. Boots with ski-boot type, positive locking closures work better, in my experience. And go tall. A gap between boot and pant is not fun. It goes without saying that a full face lid will keep you most comfortable. I'm pleased with the Scorpion helmet because of its reasonable price and anti-fogging shield.

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