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Katy Trail Rock Island Spur Comments
Recommendations on Rain Gear and More

My husband and I are planning to ride the Katy from Clinton to St. Charles in October and are looking to purchase some dependable rain gear (jackets/pants). Been reading reviews on various websites but would like to know from those who might have ridden in the fall in Missouri. Also, do you take an extra pair of shoes or purchase something to cover yours??? Any other suggestions on necessities for the ride would be more than welcome!!! Thanks
posted Aug 22 2017 9:21PM - Pookie D.

Rain gear is tricky because you can end up sweating underneath it to keep the rain off.I think the trick is to stay warm. Wet and warm is better than wet and cold. Yes, take rain gear.As for shoes I would just get a cheap pair of those clogs people get at walmart to wear off the bike.
posted Aug 23 2017 8:04AM - Anonymous

Wow . Major subject. Here goes. Hardest part about riding in the rain is it stings your face. Problem with riding in rain in warmer temps is you sweat so much under the rain gear you may as well leave it off. If it is raining or recently rained the trail forms a thin surface of [almost mud] that slows you down to about half what you normally would do. The traditional rainwear for cycling is a cape (poncho). Go to Carradice and check out their Duxback rain cape. Keeps water off and lets air through. I have ridden in mid range temps (45-65) with cycling rain pants (bought in Scotland) and goretex jacket. Pants did not breathe but had full length zippers for easy on/off. Rode in 70-75 light all day in Wisconsin in rain with no leg protection, shower cap under helmet, and ordinary rain jacket. Seemed to work. If you are camping you need to protect your sleeping bags. Also consider the extra weight of a wet tent. After a night in the rain could not control the bike on steep hills. Figured out it was the weight of the wet tent. Redistributed load to forward panniers and all was well. I don’t think you need to worry that much about rain in MO in October. Summing: Rain jacket, shower cap, leg protection if it is a cold rain. Open cycling sandals are fine in rain. Let the feet get wet. If cool wear wool socks. They keep the feet warm when wet. Carry something dry and warm for your feet for when you are off the bike. Spare shoes, wool socks. Boat shoes (Topsiders) work well as they pack well, are waterproof, and can expand to accommodate wool socks. Speaking of wool, avoid the lycra. Go wool. Traditional wool cycling jerseys are available from Oregon Cyclewear (Formerly Portland Cyclewear). Goes 3-4 days without washing with no odor. Wool is warm when wet. Cool in summer too. Have waterproof covers for your hands that will also fit over gloves. Use fenders. Cheap and easy to install. October is often a very nice month with little rain, compared to September. On the other hand it can snow, too. Usually nights and mornings are cool, even cold, but once the sun is up it warms nicely. Plan ahead, don’t be afraid to call it a day, and have fun. Oh, and have clear glasses to protect eyes if riding in the rain. Ordinary eye protection glasses are fine. Plastic, cheap, well ventilated.
posted Aug 23 2017 11:08AM - Ron_S, Overland Park

And carry an extra shower cap to cover the seat.
posted Aug 23 2017 11:10AM - Ron_S, Overland Park

I've never found an affordable rain jacket that works 100% well and doesn't make me sweat underneath. I'd rather be rained on that sweat through my clothes, but unfortunately October in Missouri is tricky to predict whether it will be warm or cool.

So I can't give you specific gear recommendations, but definitely bring a rain jacket or poncho. Also, make sure all of your clothing gear is protected from possible rain. Whenever I do a long multi-day ride, I pack all my clothes in large freezer/ziplock bags to ensure they stay dry even if my panniers get soaked. It also makes for a neat and tidy pack. Keep a tarp with you, and you can strap it over your tent and sleeping bag on your back rack to ensure those stay dry as well. As long as you have a dry tent, towel, sleeping bag, and clothes, you'll be able to warm up at night if you got drenched during the day. It's rare that it freezes in October, so as long as you can change into something dry, you'll be safe.
posted Aug 23 2017 7:29PM - Devin, St. Louis

I try to avoid the rain because it makes for a less-than-enjoyable ride no matter what gear you have. I will even sit out a day on a Katy ride if it looks like a soaker. For surprise rain showers, I pack a $1 rain poncho I picked up at Walmart in the camping section. It weighs a couple of ounces. For my tent, panniers and everything else exposed, I spray on a water repellent. The most economical one I have found is Behr Concrete sealer (yes, you read that correctly). Pump spray or brush on. Water-based, so it dries quickly without staining. In my experience, it works better than SctochGuard and is a real bargain at $20/gallon at Home Depot.
posted Aug 24 2017 8:16AM - BikerBoy, Maryville, IL

Tags: Clinton, Route Suggestions, Weather, Bikes and gear Modify Tags

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