Monday, October 11, 2010

Rainlegs for my Cycling Friends

What are Rainlegs? It's an obscure rain product that's available for cyclist. Most cyclist I know haven't heard of them. Even some cycling friends in the UK haven't heard of them and the product comes from Europe, Holland to be more specific. The best way to describe Rainlegs is to say they're like chaps, similar to what cowboys might wear, but for cyclist. They cover the upper front of your legs with waterproof material to keep them dry while riding in the rain. I discovered Rainlegs through the internet via a friend. I've always thought the concept made a lot of sense but never purchased them since I, like most cyclist, avoided riding in the rain. Well, a 6-week self-contained bike tour in the UK changed that. Right or wrong, the UK is known for its rain so I wanted some type of protection. I've used full rain pant in the past and disliked wearing them. They're noisy when cycling, causes overheating, and are difficult to put on and remove. So I decided to give Rainlegs a try.

After receiving them in the mail, the first thing I had to do was to figure out how to put them on. Now, anyone can figure it out after a few minutes but allow me to describe it anyway. There are five fasteners. One for the waist and 2 for each leg; hence five. Also, there is no backside to the Rainlegs. To put them on, first determine which side is the inside. The smooth nylon surface is on the outside which means the waterproof coating is on the inside. Put them on by fastening the waist first, somewhat like putting on an apron. Then each leg can be fastened; one is a clip-on and the lower is velcro. Tighten as needed and you're good to go. Does it look funny? Well maybe, but you'll overlook that after using it in the rain.

So how does the work? After using them on the 6-week bike tour in the UK where it rained on a regular basis, I'm sold. 'Fabulous' would be an appropriate word for describing them. Rainlegs will now be part of my regular gear whenever I bike tour. I may even wear them just walking in the rain. For cycling, they address all the issues I had with full rain pant. Rainlegs are not overly noisy, don't cause overheating, and are easy too put on and remove. Best of all, they work and keep you dry from your knees up to your waist. You'll have to wear your rain jacket if you want to keep the rest of your upper body dry. Ha! During the tour, I rode in the rain with and without them on. I then decided that I preferred having dry legs. It's a comfort issue and I felt warmer when my upper legs were not wet. The only issue I had is that material from the Rainlegs sometimes caught (hooked) on the nose of the saddle when I stood up on the bike. This may only be an issue for me because of my saddle type and/or bike setup; and not an issue for you. Other than that, I'm happy and I'd recommend Rainlegs.

Be safe everyone.

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