Being wet is part and parcel of cycling anywhere.
But no one likes being wet, so it’s all about finding the most effective waterproofing which doesn’t make you feel like you’re wrapped in cling film.
An interesting morsel of info I read is that you should turn your waterproofs inside out to allow the sweat to dry off.
Unfortunately it never stopped raining in Japan long enough to effectively test this out…
Endura MT500 Overshoes
£24.99 from Evans.co.uk
To me, overshoes are one of the most vital items of waterproof kit – once your shoes are soaked (and I mean dipped in a bath til they look like they can swim like fishy soaked), they become painfully hard to dry.
Endura overshoes keep out the worst of the weather, from road spray to (almost) typhoon weather. Of course they’re not infallible, and water can especially come in over the tops as the water runs down your legs. Their stretchy neoprene material means they fit snuggly over most shoes, while the rubber caps means the worst of the wear and tear of walking around/clipping in/falling off the bike is kept to a minimum.
Altura Reflex Jacket
£69.99 from Wiggle.co.uk
Although by the same name, this isn’t exactly the same as the model I bought 3 years ago.
Nonetheless I have high hopes.
The Reflex jacket is light and very waterproof, with a comfortable loose (but not baggy) cut. All zips (or fit and pockets) are well sealed (phone survived a typhoon, what can I say), and the velcro straps on the wrist are the least irritating type of velcro I’ve ever used (you’ll know what I mean if you’ve ever ended up sticking to other fabrics like a magnet).
The most impressive thing though to me is the simple fact that the fabric is incredibly durable. In short, I’ve fallen over more than my fair share of times, and whenever I’ve worn this jacket even though I may be scarred and bleeding, the jacket has always remained intact. The only (small) rip on the sleeve appeared from skidding across the A3 one rainy afternoon. The jacket was the least of my problems…
Altura Reflex Gilet
£27.99 from Evans.co.uk
Similar to the Reflex Jacket, the gilet is lightweight and showerproof with a mesh back for breathability.
I like it in particular for cool windy days when the air cuts through your jersey, but a full on waterproof is just too hot.
dhb Wickham eVENT Waterproof Trousers
£67.49 from Wiggle.co.uk
Although these trousers are fantastic, I would question whether they’re essential on a tour like this. There were a couple of occasions where I was incredibly glad I had these, during freezing cold weather or the worst of the rain. That said, the additional expense and weight makes me think twice about whether I would take these further with me.