Monday, May 2

Learning Day

Rain Outfit Got Well Used this Morning - No Snow, Despite Record Cold
 North Texas has been in a drought. A SERIOUS drought. Since February, there've been only two days when the roads were even wet, and it wasn't raining either of those mornings. Our last REAL precipitation was the snow back in February. Shown at left.

Today, I got a little opportunity to do some wet weather learning on an unseasonably cold day. Usually, when it's wet around here, it is fairly warm as well. It might not have been cold by northern standards, but a low of 44F in May will have to do around here. Depending on one's location,  it rained between a half inch and three times that amount.  What's more, the lightning was pretty well gone locally before it came time to depart for work. It was a good test. Lots of rain and no electricity.

Yellow Duct Tape Kept the Water Out. Other Colors Would Probably Work, Too
What it meant is that I got to try some stuff out. Well, some things worked well and some worked less well. First off, I decided to try out my "Costco Court Classic" shoes rather than cycling shoes. This is an option because of my hybrid pedals. My cycling shoes get sopping wet if you simply LOOK at them the wrong way. The Costco shoes were considerably more waterproof. They were not waterproof enough to make it all the way to work without getting real wet, but certainly enough to make it three or four miles. Still, I was kind of wishing I'd simply put on the polypropelene booties before I'd left, though sometimes science calls for sacrifices. Luckily enough, I brought along an extra set of socks so I didn't have to clump around at work all day with wet feet. I considered using the booties in between the socks and the shoes to keep my "at work" socks dry for the ride home, but the shoes dried just enough that I elected to ride home sans booties.

Costco Court Classic Shoes DO Get Soggy After a While
Likewise, To ward off wet hands, I wore my heavy winter gloves. They got thoroughly wet and were still wet when it came time to return home, though they did keep things warm even when wet. My regular full finger gloves were warm enough for the trip home, but I'll have to consider ways to keep my hands dry. If it's cold enough to care. Hands dry out quickly.

Heavy Gloves are Warm Even After They Get Wet
I elected not to wear goggles today. I figured that the rain and cold would result in lots of fogging, while going bare-eyed would be simple and wet-friendly. I don't know if I made a good choice or not. It's a problem we often faced skiing. Next time, I'll at least bring the goggles along. One thing that worked well was using a heavy plastic bag to cover the saddle at work and using a grocery bag to tie that in place. Double bagging worked well, and the heavy bag also keeps the stuff in the trunk bag dry.

Blue Booties Should Help Keep Feet Dry
SPEAKING of next time it rains hard, I'll make some adapations. First, I'll skip the "Costco soak test" and simply use the cute, blue booties. Second, I'll bring the goggles along so I can try "with" versus "without." Third, I may try out my "new and improved" rain pants which have never before gotten used. The H2O rain pants are just a bit too delicate for real cycling. Their jacket is fine and its hood is really convenient. Finally, I think I'll bring more plastic bags to store stuff like the cycle computer and lights.

One OTHER thing - it WAS really cool watching all the drops of water flying all over on the way in to work. Perhaps I'll become more than "just a fair weather cyclist" yet...


Anonymous said...

I like that yellow duct tape, but I think you could try for a strip each of different colours so that it looks like a "graph gone wrong" by the time you attached a bunch of them.

Try finding some short rubber boots with a zipper on the top/front of them. They work well when cycling. W swears by them.

Also, MEC (mtn equip coop) sells a neat pair of gloves which are really a shell that you put over your reg. gloves. They are wind and waterproof and keep your hands toasty and functional. You should look for a pair when you are up at the Jag Show.

Dont forget to put a baseball cap under your helmet - the visor helps keep the rain away...

For pants,I have an idea; you could open up a big garbage bag and duct tape it from your waist to the handlebars, sort of like a tent for your legs. Tell me how that works if you try it out! Another idea might just be to wear shorts, but as you say, it was a bit cold this morning. :)


Steve A said...

All good suggestions, though the multi-color duct tape might look a little garish. I will be sure to wear my Canadian baseball cap next time. On the underside of the brim, it says "eh?" That would have worked well this morning in conjunction with the rain hood I wore underneath my helmet.

I have a superior set of pants that are convertible to shorts if it is warm. I'd try a rain cape, but they seem a little too floppy for my taste.

Chandra said...

It was raining a bit when I rode to work this morning, but not a drop on my ride back. The puddles on the water got my shoes and socks wet and I was not too happy about that. I have to wear my hiking boots when it is wet like today.

What's with the 40 deg. weather? Hmmm...

Peace :)

Big Oak said...

Sometimes, when I plan ahead, I wear plastic grocery bags under my shoes to keep my socks dry. In a 40 degree rain it works great. In a 70 degree rain, my feet get soaked from sweat.

We haven't had any 70 degree rain since last year. Just the 40 degree kind. And lots of it. Glad you guys could have some of it.

Stay warm!

Lyle said...

Speaking from somewhere farther north, I will say that the worst weather for cycling is between 30F and 46F with rain. Cold and dry is fine, cold and snowing is okay (depending on how much you have to endure wacky driver tricks), but cold and wet is grit your teeth and hope you don't have a mechanical.

Steve A said...

Lyle, I think you're in the ballpark, but also that the upper temperature limit of miserable wet weather cycling partly depends on how hard it is coming down, how well my rain gear breathes, and whether my feet are wet or not. Rain truly is a "local rules" situation. Puget Sound was an easy area to ride in the rain because it didn't rain hard very often, nor when it was hot, and lightning was rare.

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