What to wear to be warm and dry on rainy days varies depending on the nature of your rides. For example, professional racers, who sometimes have to compete all day in the rain, get by with the skimpiest of outfits, often a thin waterproof jacket over a long-sleeve top with no leg protection other than shorts. But, they can get by with this gear because they're generating so much body heat from pushing themselves so hard.
Chances are, you'll need a more practical approach. A big key to remaining comfortable when Mother Nature's doing her best to make you miserable, is dressing in layers. Start with a wicking fabric close to the skin. This moves the sweat away so you don't get wet from the inside, which is as bad as what the rain does to you. And, you can vary the thickness of this first layer according to the temperature or put on a couple of thin layers. Next put on a warm cycling jersey, one with long sleeves if it's chilly. If it's cold, put a thermal layer over the jersey. Then, on top, wear a rain jacket designed for cycling.
There are other types of jackets designed for the wet stuff, but ones made for cycling will provide coverage for your lower back (important because you bend over to reach the handlebars) and include ventilation to let heat escape and help prevent overheating and excess sweating. Also, cycling-specific jackets (and jerseys) almost always feature rear pockets, which are perfect for stashing layers removed if you get lucky and the sun comes out.
What you wear on your legs is a matter of personal preference. Some riders swear by water-resistant rain pants over their cycling shorts (or tights when it's cold). But other cyclists dislike pedaling in these rain pants because they catch the wind and bunch a bit. So instead, they just put up with getting wet. It's worth experimenting to find what's right for you. Most important is keeping your knees warm to maintain blood circulation and prevent injury.
Besides leggings and tops, consider booties (shoe covers) to keep your toes warm and protect your cycling shoes. And, we recommend adding fenders to your bike. These are easily installed and removed and they work wonders in the wet by stopping the spray that otherwise shoots off the wheels drenching your feet, face and back. Similarly, fenders keep a lot of the water off your bicycle and components too, which means less maintenance and bike cleaning.
If you're interested in actually enjoying your next rainy-day ride, come on in and check out our stock of water-resistant clothing and accessories.