The rain has once again settled into the Northwest and now comes the time where blue skies and sunshine are the exception, not the rule. With fall comes preparation for damp days and dark nights. For years I have threatened to get a rain cape, but I just can’t seem to bring myself to do it. With full fendered bikes being the norm for my daily errands anymore, I still sit on the edge; wondering if something like the Cleverhood rain cape, from Providence, RI will be the hot ticket for me this year.
A rain cape seems to be best designed for people that ride fully fendered bikes- to act as a shell from the rain falling from above. The bottom is open, allowing airflow and reducing the plastic bag sweatsuit feel that many rain suits can give. In Seattle I have found the weather to be wet, but not very cold- so I end up sweating out nearly as much as the rain permeates lesser rain jackets. My thought is that a heavier, more waterproof fabric can be used for a rain cape, meaning a more durable product all around.
I tested a rain cape last year from Hub & Bespoke, but wasn’t too keen on how it felt with a bag underneath the cape- so I waited. It was also a rubbery and plain looking piece, that I can’t remember who made for the life of me. They were more affordable than other models I’d seen, custom and otherwise, coming in under $100. The black one wasn’t too bad, but the bright yellow was too much. I’m a fan of more subdued cycling fashion preferring to be seen through lighting or reflectors not Seattle’s favorite, the ever present “yellow jacket.”
My most often ridden bike seems to be the Raleigh Port Townsend lately. With a porteur rack and large front bag- the need to carry a bag on my person is not there. This makes a rain cape seem much more conceivable.
Why focus on Cleverhood? Well, I just found them in my searches of today- and though it’s a little silly, they have a video. No, the video doesn’t really show how amazing they are for riding- but there are boats, a water ballon fight and a puppy.
Other options I’ve seen are:
- Iva Jean- made in Seattle and a very nice option for women. I’ve seen these in person and they’re well constructed.
- The Grunden’s Bike Poncho- available from Rivendell
- Brooks England. The English have been using these for a long time. They should know what’s up, right?
- If you’re looking for a cheap option- there is always the Log House Designs Bicycle Cape from Campmor
- In the past I’ve also seen heavy rubber ponchos at surplus stores, which could be an option as well.
So whether you subscribe to the church of the bicycle rain cape or not- there is some food for thought- and a video. Hopefully soon I’ll be able to get you some first hand experience from underneath one. Ride safe this fall and keep the rubber side down.