Letters To The Editor


Donna Warren

"Rain, Rain Go Away.

Come Again Some Other Day."

I don't know about you, but I can remember saying that a whole lot as a child while looking out the window because I wanted to go outside and play.

I still like to go outside and play and I'm still not too fond of the rain. Since our trip to the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon in Wellsboro, PA. a few weeks back ended up in me riding 300 miles home on my bike in a Nor'easter (Jersey coast monsoon conditions), the topic of rain gear has been being discussed a lot lately. It has been at least 10 years since I have ridden 300 miles in the rain.

So I sent out an email to everyone on my mailing list and asked them about the rain gear they used. You know, what works, what halfway works, and what's a waste of time.

I thought I'd share some of the answers I received. I asked the following questions:

Are there really any summer weight gloves that are truly waterproof?

Several people, suggested dishwashing gloves worn over your leather gloves. Lots of people swear by them. I can attest that they work. We got caught in the rain as we were leaving Wellsboro. By the time we stopped to put on rain gear, my leather gloves were already soaked. It was cold and my hands were freezing. At the first gas stop, I bought a pair of 99 cent dishwashing gloves and put them UNDER my soaked leather gloves to keep my hands warm. My hands stayed warm and dry the rest of the way home.

From Jane Kern: I have the Sealskinz gloves. They kept my hands dry but your hands get hot in them. I think I like the Dish Washing gloves the best. I wear them over my gloves.

From Ed Rodgers: Held makes a summer weight glove that is waterproof. I've ridden in several bad rainstorms and my hands stayed dry. Gore-tex and pricey at about $75. Been using them daily for the last year and they've performed above expectation. Check out your local Beemer dealer.

How about waterproof boots that are bearable in the summer?

My boots eventually leaked and my feet got soaked. The only reason my feet weren't cold was because I had a very good pair of 100% wool socks on that kept my feet warm in spite of being soaked.

From Bill Dudly: I've got IXS (Swiss company) waterproof boots, and they are absolutely waterproof, but clunky/heavy.

From Jane Kern: I wear IXS motorcycle boots. I got them at the Women in Motorcycling Conference. I love them and for me they have been the best boots I have ever owned.

From Ed Rodgers: I have engineer boots modified for riding (by manufacturer). I've used Mink oil on them to good effect. If you're willing to stop, Totes makes zip-up mini boots that will come in sizes small enough for women's boots. Expect a hole to develop at the shifter contact point. Find 'em at Wal-Mart.

From Sharon at Ocean County Harley: I bought Cruiseworks boots at Americade a couple years ago. They fit great and are totally waterproof.

From Alex Pesacreta: I have Harley Davidson boots that are lace-up and my feet stayed dry the whole way home.

From Barbara Zimmerman: Kochmann SempaTex is the name of my waterproof boots. I tried on many waterproof boots at twice the price. I got these at Americade a year or two ago.

Several people besides Ed also mentioned the totes. I was told to get them at least one or two sizes larger than your normal shoe size so they will fit over your boots. Certainly a cheap (around $20) and apparently effective solution.

What is your favorite rain suit? Is it really waterproof in the heavy thunderstorm downpours and nor'easter conditions we had on that trip?

I have a Harley Davidson rain suit that I bought 10 years ago for a 2000 mile trip that I still use. The pants are completely waterproof even on the leg where they've been patched with duct tape because the pant leg melted on my pipes. The hood is big enough to go over a helmet. Although I did get a little leakage in from near the neck/hood opening during the monsoon conditions.

From Bill Dudly: For three season riding, Kate and I have First Gear Kilamanjaro Jackets and Pants, and these work pretty well. The pants are absolutely waterproof. The Jacket works well unless you're out all day in a frog-strangler, in which case you get some leakage in through the front closure(s).

From Jane Kern: I have had a lot of experience riding in the rain. My favorite rain suit is my Frog Toggs. Remember my story about the water fall of water that hit me on out trip to Maggie valley. Even after that I was still dry.

From Ed Rodgers: An aerostich one-piece roadcrafter. Also pricey but provides excellent weather and crash protection. Well vented. Best of all, you don't have to stop when it starts raining.

From Alex Pesacreta: I like the fact that my Nelson Rigg Ax-1 is light-weight and has a soft collar so it doesn't chafe my neck, is well vented, has reflective material for safety and is 100% waterproof. I was totally dry after six hours of monsoon riding.

From Barbara Zimmerman: In the September issue of Motorcycle Consumer News, Fred Rau heartily endorsed the Frogg Toggs rainsuit. He notes that they come in six different styles, one-piece, two-piece, short and long jackets, etc, in various colors and cost between $55 and $105, depending on the style. The material breathes so you don't baste as you do in the "sauna" rainsuits. So, they are great for the summer. But, they won't add extra warmth in cold weather.

Folks, I 'd never heard the term frog-strangler before but I love it, and it sure is an appropriate description of the rain conditions we experienced on that trip .

Final Thoughts

Cath Garrett suggested: "The cheapest solution is just grin and bear it." Which is exactly what she did on this trip. Her plastic yellow rain suit blew apart, she only had fingerless gloves and her boots leaked.

I guess it's true, you aren't a seasoned motorcyclist until you've swam home a few times. On my little 300 mile swim, I frequently caught myself singing this silly little song.

"Row, Row, Row your Bike

Gently down the road,

Merrily, Merrily Merrily, Merrily

Home is down this way."


Remember, if you want share information about your favorite rain gear or have anything else you'd like to say, Click Here and say it.

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