I don’t mind riding in the rain–so long as I’m heading for a long stop at an indoor location where I can dry out while my bike is parked in a covered location. However, last weekend, we rode 30 minutes to Ballard both Saturday and Sunday to hang out outside for the day. Saturday was the Ballard Bikes to School Kick-Off Event for which 40 kids braved the weather for bike rodeo, helmet fits, snacks, bike repairs, and more.
But our regular rainy rides these days are for rushed school dropoffs and I’m finding the kid rainsuit and rain pants we used last year aren’t the most convenient of solutions.
When my trailer was stolen a few weeks ago, the thief also got my old snowboard jacket I used to wrap around my four-year old in the Yepp seat. Now we’re using my husband’s old snowboard jacket which isn’t quite as water resistant as mine, but it’s bigger so it covers his legs even better (Side note: I didn’t even know there was a difference between water resistant and waterproof before moving to Seattle). Coming home on Saturday the kids felt the rain coming in through their helmet vents and I discovered their jacket hoods partially fit over their helmets. Somewhat helpful, but when I got home, I ordered them waterproof Helmetcovers. If you don’t need waterproof, there are some cute designs.
The snowboard jacket keeps my little one’s legs dry so I don’t need to deal with his rain pants, but the front kid doesn’t stay quite as dry. The last two days I’ve tied my water resistant jacket around his waist to make a rain apron. It works well! But his jacket is also only water resistant so he’s got quite a damp jacket by the time we get to school. I think a kid-sized poncho–something long enough to cover his legs, but short enough so I don’t worry about it tangling in my chain–would be ideal.
As for our stuff, my first grader’s backpack fits perfectly inside a festive Ikea insulated picnic bag:
And our smaller stuff goes in 99-cent Trader Joe’s shopping bags:
I still need to work on my gear as well. I like my Rainlegs for single rides, but they’re not great for 20-minute ride to preschool + walking around preschool for a few minutes + 20-minute ride to elementary school. But their comfort versus rain paints makes them good enough. Of course they were no help when I slipped going down the wet steps this morning and landed sitting down. If that happens often I’ll have to rethink rain pants. I’ve been using my husband’s rain jacket that needs a hit of Nikwax to get it waterproof again. I’d like a rain jacket of my own some day. My friend loves her Seattle-designed Hub and Bespoke Women’s Riding Coat and there’s also the Seattle Iva Jean Rain Cape. Not that it has to be local–I see a lot of Showers Pass Portland Jackets out and about. And another friend has us ogling fancy Danish rain jackets.
I’m having footwear problems, too. I had some cheap rain boots, but they weren’t very comfortable so I got rid of them. But my leather boots have been wet since Saturday…though I keep putting them back on. However, I ordered a MaxxDry Boot|Shoe|Glove Dryer. I can’t wait for it to arrive!
Do you have a favorite piece of gear for rainy days? Or dream product?
I forgot to mention gloves! Possibly because I lost one of my gloves on Sunday :/
The rear kid is good in non-waterproof mittens under his straitjacket.
The front kid has Bar Mitts on his stoker bars that have made a huge difference for him. Sometimes he wears gloves under them, too.
I haven’t figured out a good glove solution for myself. I tend to ride around with three pairs of gloves because they either soak through from the rain or get sweaty on the inside (I’m assuming my gloves–now glove–that say WATERPROOF on the outside are getting wet on the inside from sweat?) so I wear one set for the preschool run, another set for the elementary school run, and a third set if I’m going somewhere else afterwards. Not very efficient. I hadn’t considered Bar Mitts for myself, but maybe that would work best.
Bike seats addendum
I also neglected the rig! I had a great system with the old mamabike–small Ikea bag for the front seat and large Ikea bag for the rear seat and my saddle. And those two bags held our stuff while riding.
I have a Bike Cap from Dutch Bike Co for my seat, but no system for the kids at the moment. If they were in rain pants, it wouldn’t be such a big deal, but it’s not so nice to head back out to a wet bike in regular pants. And since the straitjacket jacket and apron jacket are just water resistant, they’re not adequate to leave over the seats while we’re away. The Ikea bags don’t fit as well on this bike (and I think one may have disappeared in the stolen trailer) so I’m still working on this, too.