Dry legs, is it possible?

The Isle of Wight has suffered from drought this summer but this week the rain has returned with a vengeance. We had two inches on Sunday and its continued in a similar vein all week which has come as rather a shock to we soft southerners! When I was a big tough northerner (or was I just rather younger?), and skint to boot, I used to accept sitting in a puddle as a fact of life but now I've been looking at ways to try to avoid it. There is a wide range of waterproof leg wear for cyclists but is any of it actually worth the hassle?

On those horrible cold winter days, when the rain is lashing down, a pair of full length cycle specific overtrousers are great. Of course you also need overshoes to stop them funnelling it all into your shoes! Most of the time though they are just too warm and rapidly create that 'boil in the bag' feeling. A few years ago I saw these 'Rainlegs' advertised and thought that they looked like a good solution.


Unfortunately I just can't get on with these. The material in the crotch seems to hang down so that if I get out of the saddle it catches on the nose when I sit down again and I then have to have an awkward wrestling match before I can get comfortable. They have thicker material over the knees which I find becomes uncomfortably hot after a little while. So they are now lying somewhere at the bottom of the cupboard as I prefer to just get wet.

Earlier this year Wiggle was selling their DHB E Vent shorts at a good price. They are really intended to stop mountain bikers having a permanently wet bum but they looked as though they might serve my purpose.


I do like these in heavy rain, my nether regions stay warm and dry instead of that horrible soggy chammy feeling. They are a long way short (if you'll pardon the pun!) of being perfect though. The legs are slightly flared which means the ends flap on my top tube with every pedal stroke. This is irritating, especially in conjunction with the usual swishing noises that you get from any waterproof. I'm also worried that if repeated often enough it might be enough to damage my paintwork, although this might just be me being paranoid!

Is there a perfect solution, or is it just a case of put up and shut up?

5 comments on “Dry legs, is it possible?”

  1. Patrick wrote:

    I'm a soft northerner. I don't like cycling in prolonged rain, but we had a couple of wet (and cold and windy) days in Denmark earlier in the year and had no choice but to cycle on. It wasn't too bad, and no wet bum as far as I remember. I wore my usual bib shorts and trainers, plus a Páramo Quito jacket which saved the day both times. Our legs and feet got wet but above the hips, all dry and warm, and the hood on that jacket is superb. The Quito's fabric doesn't let the rain wash down over your legs as much as Gore Tex. I'm not sure how it works but it remains fully waterproof. I recommend it very highly for wet weather cycling.

    I changed my socks half way along and dried out my trainers the next night. Mrs Taylor wears sandals but that wouldn't do in winter. She also has some lightweight waterproof breathable full-length trousers which she seems to like, but they flap too much for my liking. I don't think there's a perfect solution for cycling a long way in heavy rain. Perhaps we should ask Ken Roberts what he thinks of the Altura Night Vision waterproof breathable cycling over-trousers he set off round the world with last year. His comprehensive equipment list (PDF) is very interesting.

  2. Mary wrote:

    LOL the Wet Legs, I have some of these too... and I too get hooked up on the saddle wearing them. For my long ride to Lowestoft, I went prepared with some wet weather gear which never got worn once!

    But back home is another thing, we have not had a drought. Far from it. I have a pair of paclight over trousers from Gortex, they have a long double ended zip, which when raining can be partly undone to help with inner dampness, the draught of cycling helping to 'suck' an air change so to speak. So far I have ridden in proper downpours and been ok. I only wear my ordinary cycle shorts beneath so do not over heat.

    On the review by Patrick, I purchased a Paramo Velez Adventure light jacket smock from the link below in a wonderful foxglove colour way.


    It really is a fantastic bit of kit. The hood fits over my cycle helmet, there are ventilation slits everywhere. It is very light, wonderfully soft and snuggly, no noise (ie no nylon rustle), I dont get 'static shock' off it when I touch things either.

    Winter will be its test for me, and I hope with good thermal stuff beneath it will be warm enough. Ideal for the bike as it is cut for cycling in. I am getting used to chucking it on over my head. Oh, and you can leave it in a crumpled pile on the floor collect it hours later and no creases! Love it I do.

    I had a pair of the Altura night vision trousers, and this company cannot cut over trousers for women, I looked like a balloon in them, and that noisy rustle was there when I was off the bike too, as for wind resistance... well, lets say they are not suitable for where I live, as they acted like a sail when the wind blew! Good for vision though.

  3. Tom wrote:

    I can recommend the Gore Gortex overtrousers and the Gore Gortex overshoes. Served me well on a very wet JOGLE and in a daily commute through the last two winters.

  4. Kern wrote:

    First, the giggle-factor: these are pants, not trousers: Mountain Equipment Coop (www.mec.ca), an excellent Canadian outfitter, sells the "MEC Hydrofoil 3 Pants". Pants, not trousers.

    They are insulated to a degree, but they are also woven as a breathable fabric. I have worn them from March to November and have never gotten wet, nor are they clammy. They are zippered and can be installed quickly without snagging. Since they are not a skin-tight fit they can double as casuals when touring, if you don't mind a slim look. They are not as stylish as Hilary's jodhpurs.

    MEC also sells this same product for cross country skiing, which gives an idea of their durability. I believe they are designed to be wind-resistant in front and breathable in the back. (For skiing a base layer of merino wool long johns is recommended.) We find the insulation a big factor when we stop for a break – that's when heat loss really takes its toll.

    However, if you wear them, you have to admit to wearing "pants", not trousers.

  5. Mary wrote:

    Er no.... its trousers.

Leave a comment

Add a Smiley Smiley »