I'm not one to buy cycling-specific gear unless there is a need for it. I like to have appropriate clothes for the task at hand, and sometimes I am caught off-guard by unpredicted weather or an extended park play. Here's an overview of what we use for being outside in the fall and how we've made it work for our everyday biking.
Last autumn, I biked in the rain by avoiding the rain! I had the best of luck and would often catch a break from the celestial downpours. But this autumn, things are a little different. The kids are older and more aware of the weather. They want to play in the rain so they can use their umbrellas to keep their faces dry, and they want to use their rain wear to make the biggest splashes in the deepest puddles. That means I can't avoid the rain unless I bring a massive tent with me wherever we go.
On our way home from the fire hall's open house, we stopped by a playground for some puddle jumping. There had been a monsoon-type rainfall earlier in the day, and though the sun dried up the shallowest puddles, JahJ managed to find a good one. I was very happy to find out that his OakiWear rain pants are waterproof! They are a straight leg with an elastic waistband and a button for a tighter fit. There is some velcro at the bottom to adjust the width of the leg, unlike the tight elastic of his previous MEC rain pants. I scored his rain jacket from UsedVictoria, but this size is shorter than than the size 4 jacket he's passed on to his sister.
I need to find a solution to protect my face from the torrents. Granted they don't happen frequently, it's still inconvenient to be dry and warm all over except my face. The other night we went for a ride around town to fetch wine and crackers for a quiet night in. I have learned to bring all the rain wear when we leave home, because we often experience several types of weather in a typical autumnal day. Sure enough, the skies opened and mist turned to sprinkle turned to medium-heavy rain. I wasn't wearing my Bogs boots, so I was a little chilly around my ankles. My Happy Rainy Days cape held up fantastically and my hands weren't icicles thanks to my kayak gloves. But my face! I should also wear my contact lenses more often, because by the end of the ride, my visibility was very foggy.
Jose's rain uniform is incomplete. So far he wears a Gore-Tex jacket, waterproof hiking shoes, a fancy toque and kayak gloves. He couldn't find cycling-specific gloves that were waterproof, breathable and to his liking, so he wandered over to the paddling section of Mountain Equipment Co-op. These gloves aren't waterproof, but they keep our hands warm until the temperature drops to 0 degrees Celsius. We're thinking RainLegs will get him riding through the season more or less comfortably. We both will need saddle covers to keep our seats dry when our steeds await us. A plastic bag (or a shower cap if we get fancy!) will do for now.
I still tote two fleece blankets in my saddle bags. Sometimes it's nice for the kids to warm up in them. Other times, I use them at the park to cover me up if I'm under dressed. A weatherproof friend once told me that there's no such thing as bad weather, only poor planning - I've done my part. Here's to more family bike rides in the rain this fall!