Riding in bad weather is an incredible experience assuming you don’t fall off and break your hip, or you don’t get hit by a car. Those realities aside, the weather adds a dimension to the ride that you simply don’t have on a sunny day, lovely as they are. The other day I was riding early on a cool morning with a light mist. The humidity in the air seemed to dampen the sounds of the city a bit, and the warm moist air wrapped about me like a cloak. At sea level, it was raining, but the clouds were low enough that as I climbed up away from the coast, I rose out of the rain and into the clouds which seemed to cling to the treetops as they clawed their way along the hillside. The early rays of the sun were trying to penetrate the clouds, and in some spots where the could cover was thinner, the rays burst forth with stunning clarity.
I was in another world entirely.
I keep wearing my S-Works Evade helmet when the weather gets bad outside. And every time, it’s a fresh disappointment that I don’t look like Boonen or Lizzie, who both look amazing in that festering turd of a helmet. But I don’t. I blame my grapefruit-shaped head and the vaguely bewildered look on my face. I’ve thought about ways to make my head look less like a fruit of a popular primary color, but everything I try leaves me with this same stupid round head. If you can’t choose your parents, you should at least be allowed to choose your face; it seems like a basic humanitarian issue.
Ugly as it is, however, it is very warm and keeps the wind off my wet, flowing locks, and it also has enough surface area that I have added various strips of black reflective tape to help make me more visible in order to satisfy to my lingering desire not to end up on a texting-driver’s bumper. (I’ve also covered bits of my Nine Bike with the same tape, and it is awesome.) The Castelli Gabba jersey is the go-to wet weather riding jersey, also with some reflective materials on it, and in Spinal Tap Black it matches the V-Bibs perfectly. This is a jersey that will make even the most stubborn fair-weather rider get excited about rain.
Finally, I’ve been wearing DeFeet’s orange Cyclismo socks in bad weather along with the Orange Damsels, but with the mercury dropping, I’m going to switch over to the orange Slipstreams to keep my feet toasty in the coming cool rain. And, I’m considering designing an all-orange V-Jersey. You heard me.
There is a fine line between being safely visible and looking like a bicycling traffic cone, but the best rides are the rides we come home from. Indulge in the magic that only a Rule #9 ride can bring you, but make sure you stay safe, and keep your Nine Kit in good taste.
Vive la Vie Velominatus.