Bicycle Fixation Weblog

Home » Archives » December 2010 » Wet & Woolly

[Previous entry: "Mondrian on 3rd Street"] [Next entry: "Fourth Street--the View from Downtown"]

12/17/2010: "Wet & Woolly"
While Portland's suffering the kind of torrential downpours we briefly receive here in SoCal in mid-winter, we're enjoying a bit of "Oregon sunshine." A leaden sky has been dropping mist, drizzle, and light rain since early when I headed out on a ride to the Bridge at the end of Ballona Creek, I packed my rain cape in the pannier--in case the storm got a little more enthusiastic--and decided to see just how well my beloved wool would do under direct exposure to the rain.

Ballona Creek Birds
Click to enlarge
Kit consisted of Bicycle Fixation Wool Knickers and knicker socks on the bottom, a T-shirt under an old Italian navy wool sweater on top, and a James Black Hat covering my bald spot under the helmet. (See all but the sweater here.) An ancient and decidedly un-waterproof wind shell went over the sweater

I'm pleased to say that wool lived up to its "warm when wet" reputation--and that it didn't even get too wet. For most of the ride, the wooly bits dried off at about the same rate that the drizzled dampened them, and once I had generated a bit of my own heat by pedaling I felt entirely comfortable. (My glasses did get speckled, though, but that's just going to happen.)

My Bottecchia
Click to enlarge
Rolled through back streets to one of the gates to the Ballona Creek bike path and headed west. Passed a few other riders on the way, and couldn't help but notice rain stripes up their backs--with fenders on the Bottecchia I didn't have to worry about that. Stopped a couple of times for pictures, and reached the Bridge and the flat grey Pacific in good time. Very few folks around, so I took the photo of my bike and headed back.

Now I was riding into the full force of a cold, hard wind that drove the rain against me with a tiny pattering sound, snickering as it were at my presumption. It was blowing hard enough to slow me down considerably, but despite the cold and the driven rain, I was still comfortable. By the time I arrived at the end of the bike path and returned to city streets, the wind had lessened but the rain had increased. I thought about getting the rain cape out--a rain cape with fenders is about the best way I've found to ride in rain--but figured what the hell, let's take it a little further!

Yes, I got wetter. But...I didn't get colder. And when I got home, wiped down the bike, wiped my face with the handkerchief I always carry, and looked in the stairwell mirror, I saw that I was still presentable, though a little damp. In a coffeehouse, for example, no one would have know that I was wet. (Unless they looked at my shoes!)

So, yeah, next time I will break out the cape much sooner. But this was a 25-mile ride. It's good to know that for shorter utility rides on rainy days, I will often be able to skip the rain gear long as I'm wearing wool

Search the Blog Archives

Browse the Archives

Environmental Activism Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory

A Few Good Blogs....

Kent Peterson
LADOT Bike Blog
Lovely Bicycle!
Saddle Americana