Getting caught out in a downpour is something all cyclists should be prepared for. But while riding in the rain comes with the territory, there are a broad range of garments out there that can minimise just how wet you get.
Water-Repellent VS Waterproof
Though it might seem like an obvious distinction, the difference between waterproof and water-repellent garments can be key out on the road. Made with a multi-layer construction in which a waterproof membrane is sandwiched between a durable outer fabric and a soft inner fabric, waterproof garments provide complete protection from rain and road spray.
Water-repellent garments tend to be made with lighter, more breathable materials treated with a durable water-repellent (DWR) coating to provide added weather protection. What kind of garment you choose depends on the weather outside. On days when the weather is set in, waterproof garments are preferable. In changeable conditions, a water-repellent garment might provide a little more versatility.
How Water-Repellent Garments Degrade
Some people assume that they should never wash their waterproof clothing. In fact, occasionally washing these garments is important for removing residual sweat and grime that can reduce a garment’s breathability and water repellency.
To remove stains, spray a laundry detergent and warm water mixture directly onto the stain and leave to sit for about 15 minutes. Then blot away the stain and soapy solution with a damp cloth. When you do need to put a garment in a washing machine, always choose a cool temperature and use a non-bio detergent. Giving the garment a double rinse will make sure any residual detergent is removed, and you can then tumble dry to reactivate the DWR finish. If you don’t have access to a tumble dryer, you can dry your garment by hanging it on a radiator.