From Dave Feucht of Portlandize, we get this really excellent homemade Burberry Rain Cape--
Rain capes are the ultimate in bike geek chic; they separate the merely aspirational from the true Freds (which is the accepted name for bike geeks, worn as a badge of honor).
Here's a picture of two Paris policemen in their rain capes:
Conventional rain attire, usually a jacket with hood and pants, has a problem: if it's waterproof to the elements, it's probably something that builds up moisture inside of the clothing as you generate heat and sweat. To many cyclists, then, the choice is which kind of moisture do you want to get wet with-- do you want to get wet with the rain, or wet with your own sweat? High-end jackets and pants hope to be waterproof in the front and breathable in the back to avoid moisture buildup, but nothing is as effective as a rain cape.
The rain cape protects you from rain by providing a form-fitting umbrella. They usually have cloth thumb loops sewn into them to keep the cape in position over your hands, and they also may have a waist strap to keep the cape close to your torso.
Any moisture that collects inside of the cape blows away because of the breeze passing by the open bottom. There are, to be honest,
- they look quite bizarre.
- they are susceptible to water-from-below (ie, splashing) - the mitigation for this is a good set of fenders and shoe booties
- they can act like a sail in certain conditions
In warm rain, they're the best thing.