This morning couldn’t have been lovelier, rosy sky, vapor-trail lines of clouds that contextualized the rosy expanse. I was Crank-along Cassidy this morning, feeling pretty good until I hit a vicious headwind coming up the Fred Hutch hill that caused my legs to seemingly turn to oatmeal.
Note to self: come up with lyrics to an old sailor’s dirge/lament/ditty along the lines of how bikers always seem to be headin’ into the headwind, sung in a style of a cross between Woody Guthrie and Phil Liggett. Then sing it while watching the Poseidon Adventure on days when I feel my world is turning upside down.
At work, while wistfully watching most everyone else crowd out early for the holiday-eve get-out-of-jail dispensation I wrapped up some work then wrapped myself in woolens to get outside to try to catch the precious last bit of rain-free dusk only to find: rain. Lots of it. Horizontal, frontal. Bleck.
In the absence of having anything substantive to say, and in a change of pace from the strictly correlative/scientific/objective journalism normally present on this blog I might as well indulge in more gear reviews, exercise those subjective muscles which, if I may so, are primed for the gun show! I mean, bike show! Or, gun & bike show!
So on those lines, tonight proved a good test ride for the new rain gear. Happy to say both key pieces, new jacket and new booties, did very well. The booties finally gave way about 15 minutes away from home in that I could feel the shoes getting a little wet, mostly from the top around the ankle. However, when I pulled off the booties in the garage I was surprised to find the shoes were only wet in splotches, and my wool (the smell of Defeet) socks were mostly dry. Huh. I guess, even after the hour-plus breakdown, these booties kept my toesies mostly warm and dry. That’s just awesome, considering the rain tonight was about as close to riding through a bathroom shower (horizontal, plentiful, and whenever Surlylady metaphorically flushed the toilet, even from a distance, I found the water to suddenly and sharply get hot for a minute or so). The jacket similarly held up, and while there was some sweat equity inside (don’t think I’ll ever find a way around that) it definitely breathes better than my old one, and in fact kept me way drier on the inside. The only water spot on my wool jersey was at the neck where I had unzipped the jacket a bit.
Next, I must make mention of my knickers. Ladies, please, calm yourselves. I mean, self.
A few months ago I purchased some Cutter Tech Knickers:
I'm too sexy for my knickers.
Basically, I love ’em. I didn’t realize at the time what I was really getting, to be honest. I hadn’t read any reviews etc. I just knew I was a little tired of walking around my department wearing lycra shorts and having to tell girls and guys, “Hey, eyes up here!” These knickers have worked out very well. No chamois, so I recommend a pair of padded underwear. No, not Depends. Although if it comes to that it would strictly be for monetary/comfort reasons. Best of all these things are kick ass during cold weather and rain. I don’t have to wash them often, due to the separate underwear (or I even use a removable insert from my mountain bike shorts), which is nice for a commuter. I wash them about every three rides, I should say. Secondly best of all are the pockets. I love putting in the garage clicker, seat cover (easy access in sudden shower) and a granola bar. I know that bike jerseys have pockets, but there’s something so killer about having side pockets, cargo pockets if you will, Mr. Gap. The only down side is that these are expensive. I bought some when they were on killer sale, but I think that the regular price is more like $150, which is insane when I think about it. $80 is more than I’ve ever paid for any work pants/trousers, to tell the truth.
As a back up, I also picked up these knickers, by Race Face:
I'm not nearly sexy enough for my knickers.
These are only $45 at Universal Cycles. They’re pretty darn good. There’s more of an articulation in the knee. There’s a contrast stitching, and the pockets have heavy-duty zippers with grommet-style button closures. Can you tell I used to write for an online retail company? What got me fired was my Woody Guthrie attitude and Phil Liggett accent. Hmph. Any rate, these pants are the bees knees as well. They do almost as well in the rain as the Cutters (the hem tonight got very heavy with rain and in the pedaling action sort of swung up against my shins, not a big deal but felt kind of weird, but this was mostly uphill). If I had to choose between the two, the edge would go slightly to the Cutters: their fabric is a little softer, and the fit is absolutely perfect. However, the Race Face ones are about 1/3 the price, so you could get three of ’em. Sheesh.
Enough gear review. Book review time. Started reading Lolita again. Never made it very far before. It’s not the subject or subject matter. It’s the style; not a bad thing, but almost like it’s sort of insipid. I already have a tendency to mimic things that I read/hear/see and so Lolita is sort of like a big juicy donut sitting on the table that nobody seems to want, in the eyes of a serial overeater. That’s uh, referring to me. There’s this pithy antipathy, this sort of pre-post-modern gadfly style based on a stew of post-antebellum (WWI/WWII) émigré intellectual posturing preening punning thing… ack, see, I don’t know if I can continue. No, I’ll continue. This time I can do it. Next up, Gravity’s Rainbow! But then I’ll get so sick to death of bananas I won’t be able to go on. Maybe I’ll alternate between the two.