01/29/13

Review: bike-in-the-rain Minoru jacket

by Jessie Kwak

A long time ago, I made myself a cycling jacket, the Minoru jacket from Sewaholic Patterns.

I always meant to write up a review of it, but I put it off so long that eventually I forgot about it.

Minoru cycling jacket 1

Until Crystal left me a comment earlier this week asking how the coat turned out, and jogged my memory. This was my reply:

Hey Crystal–

I’ve always meant to write a review of this jacket now that I’ve used it for a while–thanks for jogging my memory.

I really like the jacket for light-activity rides, but I find that even if it’s super cold out I get way too hot in it. I’ve reverted back to just wearing some wool sweaters and a warm vest when it’s super cold (in Seattle, in Jessie terms, that means 30-40 degrees). There’s something about having my core warm and being able to regulate the temperature through my arms that just works out better for me.

The Silkara works well for a light drizzle, but I’ve been caught in heavy rain before and it didn’t actually do a lot for me. I could probably re-up the DWR finish, but it’s not meant to be totally impermeable.

Caroline of Little Package has a great guest post up on Sewaholic.net about sewing waterproof outerwear where she talks about seam finishes. You definitely want to check out that post if you’re going for fully waterproof.

In conclusion, I love the Minoru’s silhouette, and I get tons of compliments wearing it. But because I tend to ride hard and get sweaty even in the cold, I simply can’t wear a full coat comfortably except on local rides (within my neighborhood).

Definitely let me know if you make your own Minoru–it’s a rad jacket.

I wanted to repost it on the blog so that others could see it.

The Silkara fabric is proof against light rain, though not heavy rain. What it’s really great for is acting as a windbreak—this means that the jacket’s really quite warm, even though it’s lightweight.

The problem with being quite warm, however, is that if I’m riding more than a couple miles I overheat. Plus, if you want to ride most anywhere in South Seattle you’re either riding up a hill or hustling to dodge industrial traffic—not exactly the type of cycle chic leisure ride that I can do without breaking a sweat.

I tried the Minoru for my commute for a couple weeks, but eventually I reverted back to lots of wool jerseys and my fleece-lined vest (which I’ll be talking more about in Friday’s DIY tutorial). That works fine for the normal Seattle drizzle that doesn’t actually get you wet, though I do still need a waterproof layer for if I get caught in a downpour.

I’ve been thinking about trying to make a rain cape—something lightweight that can roll up into a small bundle. It would keep me dry if the rain started pounding, but still have enough ventilation that I wouldn’t get too overheated.

Thoughts? How do you stay dry in the rain?