April showers bring…well, you know. Being prepared for a downpour prevents sodden suffering, to be sure. But keeping warm and dry also opens the possibility of enjoying a ride in the rain, of connecting with the elements and of mastering them. Okay, and sometimes just getting giddy. When the skies really open up and dump on you, what can you do but laugh?
Although I recently witnessed a guy riding on Fifth Avenue in fisherman’s overalls — and he really owned the look — there’s no need to settle for the merely utilitarian. In rain gear for cycling, you can enjoy both performance and urban good looks. It all starts with a jacket or rain cape. Then add rain pants, a rain skirt or other accessories as your needs and desires dictate.
Here are 10 favorites for women and men that suit both the weather and fashion forecasts for spring:
Top Photo: Nau Poncho Via Rain Jacket, $275: Graceful lines are surpassed only by the versatility of this contemporary take on the rain poncho. An easy, pull-over style with cowl hood and roomy dolman sleeves, dropped rear hem and a reflective panel on the reversible belt (in Oasis and Caviar colors) all enhance cycling comfort and safety, without sacrificing fashion. Three-layer protection, sealed seams and adjustable snap cuffs round out rain-busting features.
Takaokami Rain Skirt, $72 (on Kickstarter now). Danish designer Emma Jorn named her line of fashionable, feminine rain wear for urban women cyclists after the Japanese rain god Takaokami. While we are all accustomed to dropped rear hems for coverage when reaching to the handlebar, the genius of this cycling rain skirt resides in the longer front hem to keep thighs dry as you pedal. It’s got a side zipper, stretch waistband for comfort and a pocket, into which the skirt folds for easy toting.
Mission Workshop Remi Waterproof Hooded Blazer, $785. This all-season option, constructed of Schoeller fabric with a waterproof, breathable membrane, has a wool facing that gives it a tailored appearance. Adjustable hood and sealed seams further help shield you from the elements, and a pair of zippered flap pockets, plus a chest pocket with media port, keep essentials handy.
Bowndling XC Leggings, $175.* To ward off the early-morning or late-day chill that sometimes lingers in spring, merino wool leggings, with a hit of Lycra, are a cozy solution. The brilliance of this pair is in the breathable, waterproof panels on the thighs. That’s where the raindrops tend to land, whether your commuting over a bridge by bike or taking a weekend hike. Pair these with water-proof boots and your legs will be close to impervious to the drizzle.
Cleverhood Electric Gingham Rain Cape, $249. For women and men, what could be sharper and more on trend for spring than navy gingham? In addition to keeping you dry under durable, waterproof polyester fabric with sealed seams and zippers, this cape is woven with reflective thread in a grid pattern that lights up under car headlights for night cycling safety. Other great features: magnetic snap closures at the armholes, thumb loops, Velcro tabs on sides to adjust fit and a roomy hood.
Bogs Classic Glosh Rainboot, $79.95. 100 percent waterproof, easy to pull on and fun color choices. Enough said.
Showers Pass Club Convertible 2 Pant, $150. They know a thing or two about rainy weather in Portland, where the company is based. This waterproof pant, ideal for hard-core commuters, is constructed of 3-layer, breathable Artex fabric. In addition, the bottom of the legs slip off to convert the pants to knickers. Additional cycling-friendly features include articulated knees, reflective strips and pockets with water-resistant zippers.
Otto London Urban Kids Rain Poncho, $76.* For kids in cargo bikes or on their own two-wheelers, here’s a waterproof nylon rain cape with a comfy cotton lining. A two-way zipper and reflective piping lend ease and visibility when rain showers threaten. Also check the adult version that comes in an array of beautiful colors to brighten rainy-day gloom.
Chrome Storm Cobra, $129.99 (sale). Water-proof and breathable, this basic jacket is loaded with features that include pit zips for venting, two-way zipper, pass-through back pocket and snug drawstring hood closure.
Showers Pass Crosspoint Mid-Calf Waterproof Socks, $35. For prevention of cold (and wet) feet, these socks boast knit on the outside, a waterproof Artex membrane in the middle and Coolmax for moisture wicking on the interior.
Bonus! Sealskinz Waterproof Cycling Cap, $40. The skate-style design of many urban bicycle helmets offers built-in protection from rain. But if you wear a road helmet with lots of vents, this breathable, mesh-lined, three-panel cap is a basic worth adding to your all-weather arsenal. The stiff brim also keeps rain off your face and out of your eyes on your ride.
*Approximate prices. Converted from British Pounds Sterling.
Photos: Courtesy of manufacturers.