The Downside…

…of buying an everything-bar-the-apocalypse-proof jacket (that cost how much?!) is that you feel somewhat obliged to put it to good use occasionally. My informal new year’s resolution this year has been to try and cycle more, however miserable the weather, rather than wimping out just because it happens to be raining a bit. So this morning, despite a foggy start and a threatening sky, and after putting it off a bit in the hopes that it might cheer up, I set off for the paper as usual.

At first, it looked as though I’d struck reasonably lucky as it wasn’t actually raining and it stayed not actually raining most of the way down. Or at least, not raining in so active a fashion as to deserve an ‘ing’. Instead the rain just sort of hung there in the air and I got wet by cycling through it.* Then it got bored of that and started to rain properly, continuing all the way until I got home. At one point my glasses were so rain soaked I couldn’t see and had to stop and untuck layers until I got down to a shirt I could clean my glasses on (apparently some motorbike gloves have a little squeegee attachment for cleaning visors with on the thumb. Any cycling glove manufacturers care to add something like this to their range?). After that I gave up and just pedalled on blearily – I’d say that the sight of Nearest Village has never looked so welcoming but to be honest I couldn’t make much of it out what with the rain and the mist and the state of my glasses. Luckily most of our traffic around here consists of big unmissable tractors, although as most of our roads now consist of large unmissable potholes it does help if you can see enough to steer.

The jacket, I’m happy to report, performed brilliantly and I was neither sweaty nor rain-damped on my top half, despite pushing it a bit in a bid to get home. But that was all rather cancelled out by sodden trousers and feet. The feet I can sort out with wellies, so that’s not a problem. But if the wet weather cycling is going to continue, it does look like I’m also going to have to spend how much?! on some waterproof trousers as well.

* I believe – real Scots may wish to correct me on this – that this is what is known as smirr


16 Responses to The Downside…

  1. The Paper Boy says:

    Well I hauled my sorry posterior down got the bike out yesterday for a lunchtime thrash – the first time for ages… got 2½ miles from home when tyre wall slashed by a sharp rock followed by as the inner tube ballooned out and popped and as the slime failed to fill the 150mm burst (not entirely unexpected given it’s only supposed to plug small holes and a 150mm burst doesn’t qualify as small) and showered the immediate locus with fluorescent snot.

    Slow walk home for the spare tyre. Tube & repair kit no use on this occasion 😦

  2. Ragged Thread Cartographer says:

    Well I think you’re all full of valour and courage and stuff. Good for you. x PS I have an old black plastic oilskin circa 1960 which I adore but can’t wear cos rain runs on to trousers and I’ve lost my old sailing trousers-with-braces – what DO you call those things? I’ve forgotten.

  3. Kirsten says:

    Glad to hear your jacket is performing so well. Rain pants will improve your comfort greatly. Unfortunately, nothing helps with the glasses. Last night, I hit a nasty pothole at speed despite having excellent lights, simply because of bleary glasses. Instant flat, and possibly a ruined rim. Luckily, I was only 1/8 mile from my destination, so I walked.

  4. Jo says:

    I admit I haven’t been out in the pouring rain yet, simply on the grounds that as a newbie cyclist, I need to develop appropriate fitness before tackling slippery conditions, but I suspect this excuse will wear thin rather quickly.

  5. WOL says:

    We have the technology to send people to the moon, but we can’t come up with a pair of glasses with windscreen wipers front and back. Certain aspects of technology need a “kickstart,” I think. Have you thought of doing some comparison shopping for scuba wetsuits? They make some for diving in frigid waters — might be cheaper to go that route. Ragged Thread C.’s yachting trousers with braces thingies might be worth investigating also. Count your blessings with the “smirr” — rain gear here would have to include a hard hat and padding. We usually get a fusillade or two of hail with ours.

  6. The Paper Boy says:

    Would RainX (other glass treatment products are available) be any use in this situation?

    I don’t know about glasses, but I remember it works well on skid lid visors (and windscreens)… also worked well on the window used for garden bird watching here (again not sure how applicable it’s function on a large surface like a window would translate to your specs)

  7. John Gibson says:

    Smirr, thats a good one. Would clingflim be any good?

  8. emma c says:

    I am so impressed. That must be doing wonders for your immune system!

  9. disgruntled says:

    A puncture, followed by the trudge home, is my least favourite bit of cycling of all. Clearly we need an AA for bikes…

    Rain-x has been suggested for glasses although I’m not sure whether it’s considered very good for the fancy coatings on the lenses. Also just spitting on the inside of your glasses (a la scuba diving mask) to keep the fogging down.

    Thanks for all the suggestions of comedy outfits. I’m coming to the conclusion that cycling in the rain is just never fun and the best anti-rain wear is a dry roof while waiting for it to stop (some time on Monday if the forecast is anything to go by…)

  10. Lynda says:

    The waterproof trousers I wear are the ones I bought for walking in, and they perform reasonably well on a not too long cycle ride, except for the bit that meets the saddle. I invariably arrive home after a rainy cycle with wet knickers. Is that too much information?

  11. Sarah says:

    My bike gloves have a seam of the leather palm padding on the outside – presumably to avoid sore hands, but it works quite well as a glasses wiper.

    I just use normal walking waterproof trousers. I am concerned about how long the backside is going to last, as Lynda mentioned…

  12. Dom says:

    Would wellies not just collect water through the top? Or have you actually got wellies that fit properly?

  13. disgruntled says:

    Sarah – must investigate those gloves
    Dom – the wellies are more protection against splashes from the road. I suppose if it was really teeming down then waterproof trousers worn outside the wellies would protect against them filling from the top, but I’ve never found that an issue

  14. Sarah says:

    They’re Gill track mitts. I generally don’t suffer with cold fingers unless it’s minus temperatures.

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