As is evident by this week’s weather, winter is just a hop, skip and a puddle jump away. But that doesn’t mean you have to hang your bike up for the season. In fact, pedaling in the rain can be a really enjoyable experience. It just means knowing how to ride on wet streets—a little slower, making sure to hit the Muni tracks perpendicular and being visible. It also means having the right gear.
If you’re an urban rider who takes your steed from your home stable to Zeitgeist and a few errands in between, you probably aren’t drawn toward the suburban safety bike gear. Lucky for you (and me) there are some great, local companies that are making stylized wet riding gear. Here’s a curated collection of some of the best wet riding gear and where you can find it in San Francisco:
Chrome Yalta bag, Chrome, $120
Keeping your stuff dry is even more important than keeping yourself dry. Your skin dries a lot quicker than your iPhone or those important papers you’re carrying. I’m a big fan of the Chrome roll-top bags. Made of thick 1,000 denier Tarpaulin and a truck tarp liner, this bag is waterproof enough for SF’s foggy, drippy winter days.
Honjo Fenders, Box Dog Bikes, $125
Fenders are the most important gear for winter riding, since most of the water comes splashing off the ground. Box Dog Bikes sells Honjo Fenders, handmade metal fenders that bolt directly to your bike. Gorgeous, lightweight and these babies might make winter your favorite season to ride.
Chuey’s reputation as the best cycling hat maker extends around the globe. Lucky for us, he’s based right here in San Francisco. His hand-made wool hats, made from vintage fabric, will keep you dry, warm, and stylin’. Check out the ear-flaps!
Orion Jacket, Mission Workshop, $395
Fully-taped, waterproof, breathable jacket by local company Mission Workshop. Thoughtfully designed for urban riding, with rear pocket, detachable hood and secret, waterproof iPod/iPhone interior pocket.
Gemini USB lights, Mash Transit, $42/pair
When it’s raining, visibility is extra critical. These small, USB charged LED lights are some of the best on the market. No batteries necessary. Charge them up on your computer and ride safely for hours.
Kristin Smith started riding bikes at 3-years-old and hasn't stopped since then. A long time rider, racer and commuter, Kristin has spent the last five years writing about San Francisco's active bike culture. She is the newly appointed Communications Director for the SF Bicycle Coalition.