Thursday, November 02, 2006

The biking jacket to beat all

In the nick of time, I purchased the perfect rain jacket. One of those yellow & black Burleys. Ninety something dollars. I decided against the $200 jacket I mentioned the other day, and I made the right choice, because this morning I rode through a deluge that would float an ark, and here I sit in my secret hideout, unafflicted with inner perspiratory dampness, and warm as if I'd just popped out of the dryer. The jacket's 100% nylon, but so cleverly designed and vented that you don’t get hot. At least I don’t – though a salesperson at one of the bike shops told me the Burley ran hotter than any other choice. I went against her advice because (1) I don’t sweat that much, compared to other people, and (2) I liked the caution yellow color, but (3), the most important thing, and what really sold me, was the fact that it has two big pockets in the front. No other bike jacket on the market has this.

Every other jacket I’ve seen, if it has pockets in front at all, it’ll be one, or at most two, teeny tiny pockets that you can fit about one key into. And the slit is always going the wrong way, so that you have to reach across yourself with your left hand for the pocket on your right side, and vice versa. Then they’ll have this huge kangaroo pouch all across the back, the most awkward place to reach with either hand. It makes no sense to me.

And now you’re probably wondering why I wanted a bike jacket at all, that I’d be happier with a mountain jacket or something. The answer is, No, there are other features of a bike jacket which I want. For instance you need it to be longer in the back to keep your End dry, and it has to kind of cup around you in back so the wind won’t blow the fabric up in the air as you ride. Also, the sleeves have to be long enough so that as you reach your handlebars they don’t inch their way up your arms exposing you to the elements.

This morning my new jacket passed the ultimate water test, and Tuesday it passed the wind and cold test. It was gelid, with a wind that was trying to prove something. The second you stepped out of the sunshine, you froze – that kind of a day. As I rode in my new Burley to the gym and back, the shady streets felt much different from the sunny streets. But a few adjustments of the long zippered armpit vents brought my body temperature up or down as effectively as a knob on a heater.

When I got to the gym, however, I was horrified as I passed a mirror and almost mistook my own self for a cop. UG! Remember I was worried about the earflaps making me look like a cop? Well if this doesn’t complete the look! It’s exactly the black and yellow color pattern that the Portland bike police wear. I decided right then I would take it back to the store. But by the time I got home again, the warmth of it, the fabulous venting system, and the POCKETS had won me over. I hereby accept myself as looking like the police. Maybe it’ll keep the real police from bugging me if I should commit a "cycling error." Maybe it’ll even make the screaming, lunatic, hair-on-fire kind of cyclists behave better in my presence. This could actually work out nicely.

Next: how I saved the other parts of my body from utter soppingness in this morning's deluge. And possibly, photos of mentioned merchandise .


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