Friday, 24 September 2010

Why cycling in the rain is NOT amazing

Ugh. I am writing this while still wet, cold and gumpy, so brace yourselves folks, for my first non-pollyanna-esque post.

I need to add some qualifications to 'Why cycling in the rain is amazing'. I have decided it is only amazing if you have the right kit. This morning I left the house under blue skies, wearing a t-shirt and jogging bottoms with my handbag in my basket and my pretty, not-very waterproof pannier on the back. Ten minutes from home the heavens opened. I had packed my waterproof, I'm experienced enough for that, but it was needed to cover up my handbag. When I know it is going to rain I pack everything in the pannier in plastic bags (style and practicality, you see), but today my change of clothes and my laptop were horribly vulnerable. The rain was the kind Forrest Gump calls (adopt slow southern accent) 'itty bitty rain', but which I would like to rename 'spiteful, scouring rain' and before long I was exfoliated, soaked and freezing. My joggers absorb water better than bounty kitchen roll, and my t-shirt? Well. I wouldn't have wanted to run into my boss.

Perhaps the worst thing about cycling in the rain unprepared is that, and here I throw all vanity aside, it gives you Spam Arms. Some female readers will identify- in extremes of temperature the flesh at the tops of my arms turns an unpleasant, mottled deep pink colour, resembing nothing better than processed sandwich meat.
And no-one wants to start their day with Spam Arms.

In order to remain friends with the rain it is time to smarten up. I'm off to buy the yearly long leather gloves which are the perfect combination of warm, dry and just a little bit Cruella De Ville. I will not be fooled again.


  1. Ah - totally sympathise. Had never heard the concept of spam arms before but have a very clear picture in my head of what they are like. My usual thing is doing the opposite e.g. This morning - wore extra layers + waterproofs then sweltered in nice clear weather while sensible people sauntered by in T-Shirts!

  2. Spam arms! I think you've just coined a new nome de plume - looking forward to hearing of more of her rain-sodden adventures soon!:o)

    PS You know there's no shame in *not* cycling in the rain, right? Only say that as it took me a while to realise that riding a bike is not something to be endured at all costs. Sometimes, just sometimes, when it's snowing out there, I quite like going on the bus!

  3. No! I do not want to be called Spam Arms. I can abandon vanity only so far...

    And thanks. I know i can get the bus sometimes. I just always seem to regret it...

  4. You have my complete sympathy! It took me most of a rainy winter to pin down a good rain-riding routine, and there were several instances of soaked shoes, jeans, and (in one memorable instance) a heavy corduroy jacket, before I got it all worked out.

    Funny thing was, I never caught cold, unlike while riding crowded buses in similar weather.