After all, the day had dawned rainy, and more rain was predicted. So I had packed my rain cape in the pannier, figuring that I probably wouldn't need it.
When I did, I was plenty glad it was there.
One fellow who was riding along with me in the Santa Monica Boulevard bike lanes for a while asked where I had gotten it. He was a middle-aged man in a t-shirt and shorts. I told him the brand—it's a Carradice Pro Route—and I hope he loked it up and ordered one. Shops in LA don't carry much in the way of rain gear. And people here dont seem to buy it. Hell, I've seen folks walking down my block in absolute downpours, in a suit, without even an umbrella! This doesn't make sense. We're talking about fairly simple technologies here: even an expensive rain cape costs less than most shoes, and umbrellas are almost free.
Well, maybe the smiles, nods, and thumbs-up I got from almost every single other cyclist I came across will translate into some internet searching for rain gear.
They say it may be a wet winter here in Southern California. But that's no reason to show up soaking wet just because you pedaled somewhere. (I do keep a handkerchief in my pocket for dabbing my face before I go into a building on rainy days, and a comb for my beard.)
When I stopped at the trader Joe's on my way home, after eight miles of delightful rain riding, the clerk asked me if I needed to validate parking for my car. I said no. My bike was waiting outside in the rain, with a showercap on the saddle. I got home dry.