Tuesday, January 31

All Washed Up

Lightning - From Wikipedia
In North Texas, we have to take our opportunities for inclement weather when they arrive. While we get lots of practice with "hot and dry" in the summer, wet don't get a lot of opportunity to explore the finer points of cold weather. It DOES rain around here, but it isn't the kind of rain I grew up with. In Seattle, the rain takes a week or more to accumulate to an inch or two. A little drizzle and a lot of gray clouds is the rule around this time of year.

Around DFW, on the other hand, the rain REALLY lets you know it is serious stuff. Lightning, thunder, flash floods and more. And then, as quickly as the rain arrived, it is past and drenching Louisiana or Oklahoma. I think the term around these parts is the rain comes down as a "frog strangler," but I'm not from around here. Regardless, it'll come down as several inches in an hour.

Last week, however, we got lucky. It actually rained THREE DAYS IN A ROW! Multiple rain days tests a cyclist's ability to not only stay dry on the commute, but also to keep stuff dry over multiple days. Any fair weather cyclist can ride ONE day in the rain. After all, the shoes and gloves and stuff can dry out and things will be back to normal. I was doubly lucky, because, after the first rain day, on Monday, my new "waterproof winter boots" showed up.

Fortunately, Chandra has a DIFFERENT Salomon Shoe
On Monday, rain had been forecast, but I was prepared with my yellow rain outfit, and the blue booties I carry along to cover my cycling shoes. Things went pretty smoothly. On the way home, to keep my "not too cold" full fingered gloves dry, I rode barehanded. Wet gloves are not a lot of fun, but puckered up fingers dry out quickly.

Early the next morning, before I realized theyd snuck onto my doorstep the previous evening, I received a text from Chandra. THAT is shown at left. Chandra put up a post about HIS Salomons, but took it back down. Perhaps it'll be back up by the time my loyal reader reads this.

Well, as it transpired, I had gotten Salomon boots. I picked them over the North Face Snow Sneakers because I wanted something a little higher cut than the North Face product and I'd read quite a few good reviews.

Half way through this text exchange, I went out and the shoes were there, in a giant box. It wasn't as bad as Jon's box, but it WAS pretty big. And it was raining. HARD. It turned out we got three or four inches that day. It was a good test of new boots that claim to be waterproof.

Well, they WERE waterproof, as long as you do not try to emulate a powerboat while riding your bike. I do not recommend riding through deep standing water in Salomon Deemax 2 Winter Boots. The water will splash up and under your rain gear and come in through the top of the boot. Or at least it happened to me with my right foot. The left stayed nice and toasty and dry. Even the right didn't get very wet. It was dried out during the day and suffered no further dampness. In my own defense, there were a couple of lightning strikes on the way to work and that was a bit distracting. The closest one was about a mile away. That seemed a little cozier, but reading up on lightning again from Wikipedia reminded me that lightning can strike ten miles away, and it was also a bit disconcerting to hear about DFW flight delays because the ground crews were not allowed out when potential lightning conditions existed. Of course, by THAT time, I was more than half way to work and there was nothing to do but complete the journey and plan on some further lightning research.
Salomon Deemax 2 Winter Boots with Canari Rain Pants
To futher test out the rain stuff, I wore my Canari rain pants that I'd bought last summer at 70% off. The Showers Pass pants seemed entirely too overkill. The Canaris worked well enough, though cold hard rain created the illusion of wetness, while the reality was that they stopped the rain and I was feeling the coldness of the drops.

I also tried using plastic grocery bags to keep my gloves dry. It didn't work real well the first day, but some fiddling gave better success the second. I really can't bring myself to put those tight latex gloves over winter gloves.

Unfortunately, by Wednesday afternoon, things were drying out, so I only got three wet days, but it was a lot of fun, except I felt a little sorry for my coworkers who had to walk in from their parking lot without proper weather protection. I also discovered on Wednesday afternoon that 60F is about as warm as you'd want to cycle in the boots. Rumor has it they'll be good down to zero with wool socks. Maybe even a little colder with shoe covers. Our all-time record cold in North Texas was -8, so I think these puppies will work VERY well for the half dozen times I need them - and being cleatless, they'll also work well for walking in cold or wet weather.

Boots Have Sealed Soles and Tongue, with Thinsulate Insulation

1 comment:

RANTWICK said...

Boots that actually keep your feet dry are truly awesome. My winter cycling boots (no longer available) do a great job most of the time.

I don't even try to keep my legs dry, opting instead for wet but warm with neoprene-style stuff. I find it more comfortable than sweating under real rain gear instead. It'll usually dry out enough in the course of a work day or overnight.

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