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Rain Gear

I started riding again after 40 years and I’m a first time rider to RAGBRAI. While sitting here watching it rain this question came to mind. Does anyone have good advice on rain gear? How about having more than one pair of shoes?


21 Replies

Niles, April 26, 2017 at 6:07 pm

my 2 cents: don’t be over prepared!

Only pack light-weight rain jacket. One pair of riding shoes only.


RDaryl Daryl, April 26, 2017 at 6:40 pm

Most late July storms in Iowa pass in an hour or two. I recall a day on RAGBRAI when some from our team rode in rain all day. My brother an I waited less than an hour at a house along the route until most of the rain had passed that morning. Eventually, the two of us were riding in sunshine for most of that day.
Crumpled newspaper can be used to absorb dampness from shoes overnight.


Gypsy Rose, April 26, 2017 at 7:11 pm

There are those of us who fondly (NOT!) remember Soggy Monday, as it came to be known, in 1981.

Setting aside that anomaly, preparing for rain on RABRRAI is not a major concern. You can either choose to ride during the passing showers, or decide instead to wait it out under cover. (Being in no rush, I tend to choose the later.)

The memories of Soggy Monday persist, however, and I have to admit that I do carry a very lightweight rain shell on my rear rack, but I have yet to use it.

~ Kevin


Mike Murphy, April 26, 2017 at 10:18 pm

Rain Gear…..we don’t need no stinking rain gear. That has been my attitude on Ragbrai and for all but a day or two I have been correct. My worst day was three years ago when I started out in a cold rain and it stayed cold and raining almost the entire day, I think I saw less than five other riders with no rain gear on. I remember hanging out in a schools cafeteria for at least an hour and I have never been so cold. So other than a day like that, I say Rain gear…..I don’t need no stinking rain gear. I leave it at home…….


SFC JKL 2, April 26, 2017 at 10:45 pm

Check the weather in the morning and take the raincoat if you need to. Take a couple trash bags and wrap them around your seat post, frame, under your seat, put them in your bag, or stuff them in your handlebar end. Pull one out it you need it. Pay it forward and give it to someone that doesn’t have one. It’s cheap protection and only weighs about 0.2 ounces.

#1261614, April 27, 2017 at 7:20 am

I had frog toggs last year and they sat in my storage box. I believe we just had a slight bit of rain coming into Shenandoah, but nothing big. I might bring the jacket again, but not the pants. Hope we don’t need them, though.

As for shoes, don’t worry about wet shoes. Get sandals.

I used to ride in road shoes… until I found sandals. Quick drying, keep your feet cool, easy to walk around town in (spd mountain recessed cleat). Commonly on sale at Nashbar for around $45-55. Best things ever, plus cool sandal tan…


Amanda, April 27, 2017 at 8:46 am

I have tried various jackets, ponchos and trash bags. I think the main concern for me is being cold. A few years ago, I was not paying attention to the forecast and wore a no sleeve jersey. I was so cold when it rained. luckily, a team member had extra arm warmers. That helped. Then a random rider handed me a plastic shopping bag and said put it under your jersey. That guy is my angel! I was warm and able to ride comfortably! Now I have a few shopping bags in my bag so I can return the favor. I wear sandals so no soggy shoes for me.

My biggest problem is I need to wear my sunglasses/glasses and can’t see very well in the rain. Anyone have a solution, other than contacts or laser surgery!?


CyclingCyclone, April 27, 2017 at 9:12 am

On the bike I’ll just bring arm warmers. light enough, and keeps me warm enough to block the chill, and you can easily pack them in your pocket. I figure I’ll be sweaty-wet anyway and the arm warmers do help. At camp I’ll use my lightweight Pearl Izumi jacket.


Nico ZZZ, April 27, 2017 at 11:47 am

Rain in Florida is refreshing. That morning rain we had back in 2014 was cold and a dark morning. I also had trouble with my sunglasses being too dark, so I now have a lightweight cycling rainjacket and have a pair of glasses with exchangeable lenses for various conditions.


Luv 2 Ski, April 27, 2017 at 2:07 pm

Call me a wimp but I always have a lightweight GoreTex rain jacket in my gear. Rarely does it go with me during the day but it has come in handy at times. There have been days I wish I had carried it and others I was glad I did.

Murphymp in 2014 my son and I actually held off leaving Waverly for a few hours. Even though it was still very dark at 11:00 or so when we left town we did not get rained on at all. Pretty much had a rain free day but did get into Independence later than we would have on a clear day. Wore the rain jacket for the first 15 miles or so due to wind and cool temps. Glad I had it though. I had friends that took shelter in a school in Tripoli and their stories of people on the verge of hypothermia will always stick in our minds. Fortunately for me and my son we missed all of that by waiting out the storm in Waverly.


Michrider !!!, April 27, 2017 at 5:19 pm

I remember a day in 2012 when the temperature rose to 106 degrees. I would have welcomed a bit of rain!!!

BTW, RAGBRAI don’t care!!!


Jack in VA, April 27, 2017 at 6:28 pm

Made the mistake of wearing/carrying a rainsuit (jacket and pants) ONE TIME – it was a freakin’ sauna, and no easy way to carry while on the bike! I’ve been on a few days of RAGBRAI that were non-stop rain, but the temps were in the 70’s and 80’s. Just rode with shorts and jersey and squishy shoes. They’ll dry out (eventually). However, when the temps are in the 50’s and 60’s, arm (and possibly leg) warmers and a very lightweight jacket helped keep hypothermia at bay. I got caught one damp and chilly day without, and sat in some kind souls garage shivering my teeth out while wrapped up in a blanket they so wonderfully provided. One other day, a young guy rolled into a breakfast stop and was shivering so badly a group of about 6 of us actually huddled / hugged around him to provide some body heat to warm him up.
With the advent of technology, keep an eye on the weather forecast the night before or morning before leaving, and if it’s going to be COLD and WET, carry the warmers and jacket with you. Be prepared and be safe.


Sandaltan ., April 27, 2017 at 8:31 pm

Yes, a rain jacket and one pair of wool socks just in case of a 70 degree or less day and rain. The Little Stoker has long ago purchased a bolero from Terry Bicycles and really likes it. It makes more sense to me than arm warmers for just a little more weight and bulk. Yes, I know Terry makes clothes for women so if you see some guy wearing a bolero on a cold rainy morning just look the other way.



Bob Kidd, April 27, 2017 at 8:59 pm

Sounds like, go with something lightweight, check the weather and let BBC carry it until needed. Thanks for all the great input!! Can’t wait.


Brian Wallenburg, April 27, 2017 at 10:31 pm

Amanda “My biggest problem is I need to wear my sunglasses/glasses and can’t see very well in the rain. Anyone have a solution, other than contacts or laser surgery!?”

Use RainX or car polish on your lenses. The drops quickly slide right off.


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