walking around in tap shoes and pyjamas since 2010 - my cycling log (opens in new window)

Friday, September 10, 2010

How to Prevent a Rainstorm

A friend of DD's had an extra Mountain Hard Wear rainjacket lying around and gave it to me when we were in Chicago. As someone who has regularly found himself cursing the inventor of that lightweight plastic rain cape which goes by the name 'emergency poncho', I was extremely grateful, since nice rainjackets are a bit pricey and this way I can have a rain jacket and cyclocross tires.

Since that time, I've been meaning to try out my jacket -- but the weather has not precisely been cooperating. For the past few weeks, it's been sunny and dry, with the occasional rain shower after I'm already in bed.

Yesterday, however, I learned that rain was expected for today — so this morning I gleefully zipped up my awesome orange jacket before heading out the door.

There's a lot to love about this jacket. First of all, it's a sort of 'harvesty' orange, and I look good in harvesty orange.

Second, it's light and fits pretty closely which means I don't add an extraneous wind resistance component to my morning 'workout' (if you can call a 4.5-mile ride, mostly downhill, a 'workout').

Third, and perhaps most importantly, it has those amazing magical ventilation devices known as 'pit zips.' Yes, you heard me — zippers under the arms! At last, my armpits can breathe free, even when it's raining.

Also, did I mention that I look good in harvesty orange? I really must get a picture of this thing.


So I zipped up my snappy new rain jacket and headed out into the ...


Not rain.

There were clouds in the sky. The scent of rain was on the wind. Surely, I thought, surely the sky will open up at any moment and allow me to write an eloquent post in praise of my jacket's finer qualities test my jacket's seaworthiness.


I rolled out into the road: up Willow (where I saw, and inadvertently chased, an actual bunny!bunny!bunny!). Down Patterson. Through the little alley that I use to avoid several stoplights at the occasional cost of getting stuck at the Grinstead Road crossing.

Still no rain.

On Baxter Ave, I zipped along at a decent pace, unhindered by my new jacket, which seemed to slice through the air well enough — yet still no rain fell.

On Jefferson, I caught a couple of stoplights. I hoped that perhaps the Heavens would open up as I obediently waited for the green ... but no such luck. The Heavens remained stubbornly closed. Apparently, like the sandwich shop at which one inevitably arrives a few minutes early, they open when they open.

As I sailed around the 7th Street turn, I realized my hopes had been dashed. There would be no Product Testing today — just a reasonably-fast ride in a reasonably-comfortable jacket (to whit: I would have been quite chilly this morning, without the jacket, so it did work nicely as a windbreak).

Dejected, all my hopes for the morning shattered like a faulty R-Sys carbon wheel in the middle of a race, I dismounted as I pulled up to the rack, locked my bike, and unzipped my jacket.

And then I felt it: the first drop of rain hitting my suitably-waterproof sleeve.

The moral of the story?

It is impossible to road-test rain gear, because such demiurges as control the weather will only laugh at you.

I understand, however, that an automated carwash just might do the job.

My advice?

Wear goggles.

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