Monday, March 14, 2016

Red Riding Hood - Charles River Poncho

Last fall I returned an old LL Bean rain jacket for store credit. In it's place I bought a Charles River Poncho, ready to try more breathable and more affordable rain-wear. There are, of course, bike specific models available - some are even quite fashionable - but I was seeking versatility, something that would provide protection whether I was hiking, walking, and/or riding a bike.

The Charles River Poncho comes in various traditional and trendy colors, has a nice curved cut, and ranges from 20.00-35.00 on Amazon, complete with matching storage pouch. The garment is rubberized on the outside with a soft fabric-like internal lining that feels good against the skin. The hood is generous, adequately covering the head (beneath helmet) with snaps securing the neck line, plus a snap along each side for sticking arms through. This is a basic poncho, one size fits all, so arm coverage comes just below the elbow while hunched over a bicycle. If rain is steady, I remedy that situation by holding the front panel over my handlebars, that way my arms and hands remain dry.

I hadn't fully tested the poncho's foul weather protection until last week. In a steady rain, I remained dry during my 5 mile commute home. My legs were damp - a poncho doesn't prevent windy rain from possibly soaking the lower half of your body. For better protection one might add rain pants or gaiters, but for breathability and basic rain-wear at a reasonable cost, a poncho has it's appeal.


  1. I always used a poncho on my 5 miles commute to work. It worked well, also kept my upper legs dry and had loops underneath at the front to put my thumbs through so my hands were warm and dry. They are great for low speed cycling in towns and have high visibility. I didnt find them good when touring due to the higher speeds and wind. I used one as a youngster about 55 years ago but they were oilskin and called capes then!.

    1. Oilskin capes? I like that image. My husband walks around in a calf length oilskin coat (he shipped it home from NZ many years ago) on rainy days and he loves how it protects his legs.


Due to increased Spam, I am moderating comments. Thank you for your patience.