Today was a shocking welcome to the fact winter is on its way! Unlike last winter, I now have a bit of winter appropriate gear. I have a rain jacket, some velotoze, arm warmers, leg warmers and an ass saver. I'm still missing a gilet/body warmer, though. The rain was pretty heavy this morning, but I decided not to be a pussy and ride in.
The main issue I have with riding in the rain #commuterlife is that you have to allow for a lot more time to get ready. Apart from that, I don't really mind riding in the wet. You do have to be more careful though, because the humans in their moving cages become less good at moving them around. Also, parts of the road can be slippery, and quite ironically the most slippy parts are the white lines marking out cycling lanes. So first tip: Be more careful.
Second tips are about clothing for cycling in bad weather: Firstly, put on your normal kit, I would usually wear my crappy bib shorts because they’re going to get wet, but on this occasion those were still wet, so I had to wear a nice pair. But for you, wear your least favourites.
Next up, the socks. Usually a big decision, finding a pair that matches and compliments your kit choice. But when it rains, it’s a good chance to get some use out of your ugly socks, the ones you bought before you became a vein cyclist. They're going to get covered up by your Velotoze.
Now you have the main stuff on, it’s time for the Velotoze. If it’s your first time, make sure you’ve given yourself a few days to get these on. So my advice: wake up two days before you have to get to work. I don't like to brag, but I’m pretty pro at putting these on now, so it only takes me about 30 minutes… Here's how I do it: Firstly, make sure they’re open and not sticking to themselves, then, with extreme levels of strength, pull them over your feet and let them sit on your ankle, cutting off all blood circulation, whilst you put your shoe on. Luckily for me I have laced shoes, so the blood really gets sufficient time to be cut off. Sensational feeling. Once the shoe is on—just the one for now, we don’t want the foot to fall off—we can pull the Velotoze into position, spending a few hours stretching and straightening them out to make them look all smooth and awesome.
Once the first one is done you can admire how pro it looks. Stand up and look at it in the mirror from all angles. Take a photo and really spend some time appreciating your work, because then, and take a deep breath, you know you’ve got to tackle it all over again. Do the other foot, and before long you'll realise that for some reason it's become harder. You probably tried to take a short cut and it backfired massively. Two days later, you have your feet protected and the rain has stopped. You've planned this poorly. Continue anyway. You'll still get the aero benefits and shave a couple of seconds off your commute. So worth it.
I’ve given them a bit of stick there, but truly they are amazing! They’re so aero and look pretty awesome, if you get them on correctly. They come in loads of colours and keep your feet super dry! They're pretty cheap too. You do get a bit of condensation on the inside, because although they let no water in, they also let no water or air or smell out.
Okay, so now head over to your bike and fit your ass saver. These are genius. They are just big enough to save your arse (I’m English) from getting wet, yet small enough to stay pretty aero and not make you look like a Hubbard! However, they can be rather prone to falling off, so make sure you have it securely in place.
You're now ready to go. Ahh, wait, no, it’s now time, just before you leave, to put on your specialist cycling rain coat. And if it’s cold you can also put on your arm and leg warmers. In fact, put these on first, before your kit. It looks really funny. The rain coat goes on just before you leave, because otherwise the sweat that is caused from wearing a plastic bag starts during the Velotoze escapade. Better hold it off until absolutely necessary. If you’re nice and rich you might have an expensive rain coat that doesn’t make you sweat, as much. I’m not. I sweat inside my bag.
Also, if you want to take your #commuterlift to the next level, put on your swimming goggles too...