A Cycling Poncho?


There’s nothing worse than waking up in the morning – set for work – then taking a peak out of the window to see the last thing in the world you wanted to see… bloody rain.

Fortunately, I’ve been blessed for the past couple of years as my commute has seen me cycling the five-or-so miles from my home in Spain, over an International border, over an airport runway to Gibraltar. Meaning rainy days tend to be kept to a minimum.

Image by ADTeasdale

Image by ADTeasdale

However, one of the downsides of living in Mediterranean climbs is that when it rains – it doesn’t pour – it SMASHES it down.

In these conditions I tend to abandon my “stylish clothes you can cycle in” ethos and dive into cheap, 100% polyester fully waterproof jackets and trousers, with my work attire on underneath. Although this keeps me dry from the rain, I end do end up pretty damp from sweat anyway – especially if a head wind is present – grim.

In a bid to change my ways, this winter I’ve been testing out Otto London’s Urban Poncho, available for £88.

Otto Waterproof Cape

(The poncho comes in loads of colours, not just yellow.)

I must admit a poncho doesn’t sound like the coolest of garments, but this one is a pretty sleek specimen.

It’s a lot shorter than capes from the likes of Cleverhood, so you don’t flap around in the wind too much, and is made from Oxford Nylon which is completely waterproof and isn’t too heavy.

Having not worn a cape since I was dressed up as Batman as a student child, I found it took some time to get used to just the feel of not having sleeves. One early problem I found with wearing a cape/poncho is that it is not backpack friendly. It may seem obvious; however it had just bypassed my thinking when getting ready for work on my first rainy day of winter and led to me stupidly trying to put the backpack on underneath the cape. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT do this. You will get drenched on your back and sides and look like the Hunchback of Notre Dame.Otto Waterproof Poncho

That said, my stupidity should not taint your thoughts on this poncho from Otto London.

It is full of cycling-friendly features such as subtle reflective strips around the rim and vital handlebar straps on the inside so that you can keep the cape under control when you’re riding around. It also boasts an inner pocket for any valuables that you need to keep dry.

The cape also has quite a rigid hood – which is GREAT. The amount of times that hoods blow off in head winds with other jackets is infuriating, but with this Otto number the hood stays in place. One less hassle to deal with in atrocious weather.

Otto Waterproof Cycling Cape

A downside of the cape though is that I found that it managed to accumulate small ponds between my arms in heavy rain, meaning this had to be disposed of at fairly regular intervals on my ride in.

Overall, I found Otto London to have made an outstanding poncho. But, the trouble I have with the product is not the quality, but the fact it is a poncho (the same applies to capes). I struggled to truly understand the benefits of having a poncho instead a waterproof jacket. The restriction upon your arms I found to be particularly problematic.

That said, if you do want a cape or poncho, this one comes highly recommended.

You can check out Otto London’s range here.

And read a review of Otto London’s BANG! T-shirt collection here.


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One thought on “A Cycling Poncho?

  • Vincent

    > I struggled to truly understand the benefits of having a poncho instead a waterproof jacket

    With a cape/poncho long enough, possibly complemented with overshoes, you’ll be totally dry, unlike with a jacket which requires adding a pair of pants + overshoes.

    Besides, a waterproof jacket is a lot more expensive, and the jacket + pants combo is a no-no in summer rains or if you need to ride uphill (sauna effect): A poncho/cape is much better in that respect too.

    As for carrying a backpack/messenger bag: Get either the Carradice Pro-Route or the Fulap. Both are big enough to accomodate.