Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Preparing for the rainy season in Atlanta

While it is a bit early for Spring, in Atlanta, it rains a lot, during many months of the year. In fact, I believe it rains more in Atlanta, GA, than in Seattle, WA, on an average. See here for more details. I am not intimidated by rain. I was more intimidated by the tornadoes and thunderstorms of North Texas. But, commuting to work on a bicycle, on a rainy day, get trickier, especially when it is not rare event.

 I still have my Endura Luminute Jacket and the Gridlock Trousers. I haven't used the trousers much, since last April. I have come to find them more useful for hiking on a cold wintery day or cycling on a snowy day, than for cycling on rainy day. I haven't cycled much during the snow storms of 2014, in Atlanta. Seems too risky, given the hills in my neck of the woods.

Anyhow, for Christmas, I treated myself to a Carradice Duxback Waxed Cotton rain cape. If I was a mannequin, I would probably look like the stock photo below (photo courtesy of Carradice).
But, I am not a mannequin, so I don't look like the photo above, but in all fairness; I think I look much better - I have got a good head on my shoulders :)

This particular photo was taken by the security guard at my workplace, this morning; upon my request. And, by the way, my cape is green in color; dark green.
The rain cape can also be used for other uses, such as outdoor photography, on a cold rainy day. Or, simply to look more stylish, as in the picture below, taken during Christmas season last year.
I have used the Carradice rain cape, about 5 times so far;  on 4 seriously rainy days and once on a wintery day in Indiana, when it also rained, with snow and ice on the ground. It was a cold, bone chillin' rain, to say the least. My observation is that, 100% of these 5 times, I stayed completely dry - head to toe.

When it rains on my cycle commute, I use a shower cap underneath my helmet and if it is really cold, I also wear a wool buff on my head, as the first layer and then use the shower cap on top of the buff. This process keeps my head dry and relatively warm. I don't want my head to get too warm, as that makes my glasses fog up.

I wear my street clothes (or office clothes) underneath the rain cape and I do not get very hot, at least not in the cooler months. When it rains during the summer months, I believe I can still use the rain cape,  if I wear short sleeved shirts. I do not have any real data on the rain cape. So, I will leave it at that and add a follow-up post, if there are any interesting observations.

There are two things, about the rain cape, that take a bit of getting used to:
  1. There are a couple of loops underneath the cape, which you insert your thumbs into and use that to form a 'tent like' formation over the handlebars. This helps keeps your pant legs dry. See stock picture or picture number one, in this post.
  2. I haven't run into any difficulty with headwinds. But a strong tailwind can propel you when you are wearing a rain cape.
I am still getting the hang of the rain cape. I know one thing - it keeps me dry and it can be used on, or, off the cycle. It is definitely a great accessory for a cyclist.

Peace :)

PS. To answer Steve's comment/question, from my last post, I suppose the gift of $25 from Georgia Commuter Options, will go to recuperate the greenbacks spent on acquiring the rain cape :)

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Breakfast

Breakfast on the desk; taken yesterday morning.
"The only thing you ever have is Now." 
~Eckhart Tolle

Peace :)

Friday, February 21, 2014

It pays to commute by bike

For commuting by bicycle, by foot and by public transportation, I got a very nice surprise from Georgia Commute Options.
I was the lucky winner of a $25 Prepaid VISA card.
It pays to be good, I presume.

Thank you, Georgia Commute Options!

Y'all have a Great Weekend!

Peace :)

Monday, February 17, 2014

Serendipitous Capture

This photo was taken at the Chattahoochee Nature Center (CNC), last November. Tonight, I was going through some of my older photos, which I haven't posted in my blog yet; and, I was very surprised to see the two Monarch butterflies in this picture.

You see, I wasn't really trying to photograph them. I was trying to photograph the Lantana.
I say it worked out fine!

Peace :)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Cold Merrell to Warm Merrell

When I moved to Atlanta, last April, I walked to work on many days, at least initially. And, I needed a good pair of shoes that I can walk in and wear at the office also. So, after doing some research, I decided to buy the Merrell Olmec shoes, with Vibram soles.
After getting the Olmecs, I waterproofed them. These shoes were awesome. They provided great grip on slippery surfaces, such as rocks, gravel, etc.
All was well, until, the temperatures went down to 40 or below. My feet felt very cold in these shoes, in spite of my Darn Tough socks and the SmartWool Merino sock liner. The biggest problem was that the Olmecs did not provide any wind protection at all; or, there was something else wrong with them.

So, I called Merrell and pointed out my issues. They sent me a shipping coupon to mail the defective pair to them. They examined it and found it to be defective as I had claimed.

And, within a week or so, Merrell replaced my defective pair with a pair I chose; an upgraded pair of Shiver Moc 2 Waterproof shoes.

I offered to pay the difference in price for the upgrade, but Merrell were gracious enough not to ask for the same.
Great Vibram soles in the new pair also and they are very grippy in snow and slush. These shoes do keep my feet warm, in temps below 40 and even when it gets down to around freezing. If it is colder than 20 degrees, I wear very heavy wool socks and my hiking boots; ASOLO's which are 10 years old, but still work great. Or, my Blundstones.
I give Merrell 2 thumbs-up for exceptional customer service.

Thank you, Merrel! Keep up the great work!!

Peace :)

Friday, February 14, 2014

Crazy Weather

We had  a second round of ice and snow in Atlanta. I didn't go into my office all week. Much of the snow has melted, but since the temperatures will go below freezing, there is the danger of black-ice tomorrow, at least in the morning.

I am going to work from home tomorrow/Friday also.

No bike riding this week, but I don't care to ride down hilly roads in icy conditions.

Hope you are safe and warm and happy wherever you are.

Peace :)


Sunday, February 2, 2014

First Impressions: Ibex Merino Wool Glove Liner

Given all the cold weather, in the 'South', I bought a pair of Merino wool glove liner from Ibex, to keep my hands nice and toasty. I ordered these directly from Ibex and they got me the mercy in record time. I was very pleased with the shipping speed.
I use the glove lines as standalone gloves, if the temps are about 40 degrees and use them along with my Marmot Randonee gloves, if the temps are in the low 30s or below.
The Ibex glove liners are well made and they fit very well. If I had one nit to pick, it would be that they are a bit long in the fingers. But, it is not a make it or break it type of thing for me.

The liners are reasonably warm, when worn by themselves and work great when worn under my Marmot Randonee. I have tried one other glove liner in the past, but that did not work very well for me.

I am testing the Ibex glove liners every day. Well, may be not today, as we were almost close to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Will let you know, if I find anything wrong with the Ibex liners, although I doubt that I will find anything wrong with them, based on initial impressions.

Peace :)