25 November 2008

Ode to English Bike Gear

Today is English winter weather - cool but not nippy with a cold, soaking rain. As I rode in, profoundly appreciating my
I resolved to break my guidelines and post another photo of yours truly, soaking wet and not looking particularly chic, but still out there in weather that kept most bicycles at home, all thanks to timeless English design that knows this weather inside out and backwards!

There was a certain affinity among the cyclists who were out today - they mostly all smiled at me, and I was grinning and splashing in puddles the whole way in (and getting drenched by passing cars). I got into my office, peeled of my jacket, rain trousers, and galoshes, and was completely dry underneath. Today is a good day.

(photo taken by a colleague, bag is open to fish out camera from dryness inside, this is our bike parking at work - something I intend to post about on Thursday because I'm so very thankful for this wonderful space, which is the only place I could take a photo that wouldn't get my camera completely soaked)

OK, a bit of not-really-fashion advice: my Barbour dates to my more active equestrian days and it is perfect for a cycling posture - sitting on a saddle with your hands in front of you. The more modern ones have 'handwarmer pockets' which is an important improvement. Get that style if you can. I wanted to take off the visor on my helmet because that's what the cool kids do, however today it was invaluable in keeping the rain out of my eyes. And I say I don't have Hunter wellies yet because I don't think it would be possible for my English colleague to rave about them more. She clearly adores them and they're trendy enough right now to be on sale soon. I expect to pick up a pair. I'd be interested in additional datapoints if anyone has worn them. Thanks!


JPTwins said...

What a great set-up and so glad you got to work dry!

The next obvious question: what do you wear in the cold, so you don't end up looking like Trinity in the Matrix?

I have to side with Michael from Copenhagenize that as long as you're not attacking hills, you can dress fairly normally for cold biking weather and still stay warm. However, good shoes and gloves are far more important when you're riding!

Geoff (who i just about to install his new mudflaps!)

erwan said...

nice photo and setting.
I sometime commute like that in paris (maybe 2 or 3 time a year) but i learned to put the rain trousers above the boots :-)

Charlotte said...

Erwan - you're right, and those are my Go Sport rain trousers from Paris, but they are blousy enough that I was ok. I'm not sure the cuffs will fit over the top of these boots. I should try them with the Hunter boots.

JPTwins - here is what I wore most of last year. I have some changes planned for this year...

Christoph said...

Hi Charlotte, Chris here. Love the blog. Keep up the good work. Hunters are great wellies. I've collected three pair over the years. However, I most often go for my Le Chameau wellies. They have a snugger fit through the calf and therefore a more graceful line. Their only downside is they're only available in green and blue. Happy T-Day!! -- C.

Bird said...

I second the Barbour jacket as perfect cold-weather riding gear.

Sadly, I took the T today, but only because I don't have the rain trousers, yet.

PJDodge said...

Barbour gear is incredible.

As for wellies, Hunter's are great, as are Le Chameau, but I love my pair of Barbour wellies. I've had them about seven years and they still look like new, even though I've worn them in some pretty nasty weather (and on rugged terrain). They're somewhat narrow at the top, too, so most trouser legs will fit over them.


Alexandra said...

Washington DC has proven to be very wet this winter (typical) and I am adjusting my commute slowly and somewhat damp-ly in the process.
I've been dreaming of a Barbour jacket for far too long ... this post has finally pushed me over the edge - I now know what I am spending my Xmas bonus on!!! (I saw plenty of them in Paris on the oh so fashionable women last spring which is another sign it is time to buy one - classic and stylish)

Re Hunters - I love mine. I bought a red pair about 6-7 year ago and they are still as good as new. (oh so winnie the pooh) I plan to buy second pair in black for next winter as they are (IMHO)a necessity in the DC area in the winter - a very cute with a short skirt and tights.