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 :)

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