I am no longer the whining, sniveling, personification of dampness I once was --- that I have been since I began this biking project. Last Saturday, after countless months of misery, I bought rain gear.
For my helmet: a rain dome -- a sort of rubberized cover made for specifically for this helmet, that snaps on snugly, leaving room for the rear light bracket so blinkie can keep doing its job. What ecstacy! I had no idea how gravely I was being affected by the continual invasion of cold, oversized rain globules bulleting into the air holes above my head. And the cover breathes! so that am spared the serious overheating problem caused by any hat I’ve ever tried to wear under my helmet.
Also for my helmet: Ear covers. Sound like the fashion faux-pax of the century? Not to worry. You won’t even know they’re there, the way they’re fitted right in between the helmet straps. Expensive little numbers, but worth it. Finally an alternative to cramming a fleece headband under my helmet, which, even without covering the top of my head, was too darn hot! Ear protection is essential, since even the most temperate of breezes whizzing past my head is enough to bring back the dreaded ear-aches of my youth.
For my hands: Gloves at last! Away with my clumsy and unwarm sale-table gardening gloves! These gloves are made for biking -- biking in winter, which means that they have full fingers. Though they are not super-warm for the first few blocks, the good news is that they don’t get too hot, forcing me to pull them off suddenly in a feverish panic in the middle of traffic nad throw them at oncoming cars. Not only that, the material on the palms has such good traction that that I can relax my usual white-knuckle grip on the handlebar shifters.
For my legs: The rain pants I’ve had for several months and they are the reason I’ve made it this far into the winter, as compared to my November quitting time of last year. They are completely breathable (do not inhale in their vicinity!) and at the same time completely waterproof. Neither the moisture from the sky nor the rain from my own body can stop me now. Incredible, and indispensable. Brand: REI. Cost: about $70.
The net result of all this protection is that I now feel ensconced inside an impenetrable cocoon as I flail through the tidal-wave combination of water and traffic --except for my feet. I still haven’t solved the shoe problem. Will post on that later, as I explore solutions.