The crack staff at the Bike Commute Tips Blog Research Institute have tabulated the results of our second reader survey on accessories for wet weather bicycling. (The first survey was on motivations for bicycle commuting .) Fenders are the top accessory for happy bicycle commuting in wet weather, according to our very non-scientific poll of readers of this blog.
In response to the question "Most critical accessory for rainy weather commuting by bicycle", fenders drew the highest response, with 43 percent of the votes. I agree with this. Rain falling from the sky is not a big nuisance for bicycle commuters; it's just water. But the oily muck that splashes up from the road is very unpleasant. Bicycling in rainy conditions without fenders results in a dark greasy, muddy stripe up your backside . Fenders are very affordable, easy to install, and can add a classic look to your bicycle. I leave my fenders on all year long. For my hybrid and touring bikes, my favorites include the stylish SKS P35 chromoplastic silver fenders and the effective Planet Bike fenders with mudflaps .
Following fenders, 34 percent of blog readers felt that a waterproof rain jacket is critical. My favorite rain jacket is the Bellwether Aqua-No Jacket . But for much of my short-distance commuting, a rain cape from REI works fine.
The third most critical accessory for rainy weather bicycle commuting, with 15 percent of votes, is headlights. Visibility is diminished during rain, and motorists are more likely to see you if you're well lit. For most short commuting I manage with an efficient LED from Planet Bike ; for darkest conditions I have a Light & Motion Solo Logic . I'm also fond of the Cateye HL-EL410 LED headlight , which attaches easily to any handlebar.
Other important, if not critical, accessories for rainy weather bicycle commuting include rain pants for additional body protection; a bucket of soapy water and a hose for frequent cleaning of the bicycle; and lubrication for moving parts and the chain.