Friday, April 28, 2006

Is that a Sears poncho?

I rode home in the rain and that gave me a chance to use my new bicycle rain cape (poncho). It has little elastic loops for my thumbs to hold it down in the wind. It also has elastic loops for my legs to hold down the rear of the poncho in the wind. That's a flatulence pun.

The poncho worked great at keeping me dry. It would have worked better if the bike I rode had fenders. I just built up this fixed-gear bike and haven't installed fenders yet. I've got an old front that will work and I'll find a used rear. I have a few good sources for those.

I had a problem coordinating the fixed-gear riding style, which is new to me, and the loops on the poncho. I use arm signals to tell the others on the road when I'm turning. But the elastic loops prevent me from extending my arm. So I had to pull my thumb out of the loop to signal. Then get it back in again. It was difficult to place my thumb back in the loop. I wore long-fingered gloves and they were wet. I had no feel in my fingers for the fiddly little loops. The wind blew the poncho up and while trying to straighten it out and get my thumb back in the loop, I forgot and tried to coast (can't do that on a fixed-gear bike). I almost crashed in a tangle of poncho and whirling pedals. I didn't crash, but I got to feel those sensations just before you crash.

I imagined my face and shoulder piling into the asphalt. It was wet so I would have slid nicely unless I did a pile-driver. Those suck. I'm familiar with sliding and the pile driver. Neither are very nice, but at least the pile driver gets you some very pleasant pain medications.

When I arrived home, I dug out the water-proof camera and tried to take a photo of me on the bike with the poncho. It's a film camera and it had a fresh roll of film in it, so I'll have to wait for the results. I'll have them put on a photo CD and post the result even if it's pretty bad. Sometimes those self-timer photos don't turn out very well.

Don't get me wrong, despite the near crash, it was a great ride. Rain makes a ride special.


aberson said...

I've been reading about these ponchos online and came across some of your posts about them. Would you mind answering a few questions about how it works?

Do you sit on top of the back of the poncho, or does it flap behind you?

If it flaps behind you, where do the leg straps attach? More on the side than the back maybe?

Is it big enough to fit a backpack under?

Do you think one could be reasonably home-made by modifying a standard plastic poncho? (adding leg and thumb straps, cutting to length, etc)

rigtenzin said...

The poncho hangs behind you. I suppose you could sit on it, but I like the idea of protecting my saddle in the rain.

The leg straps are elastic loops that you have to insert your legs into. they are located at the back of the poncho. I think they'd be better if the had velcro fasteners to make it easier to put them on.

I think you could fit a back pack underneath, but haven't tried it.

You could definitely make your own. If you find it isn't long enough in a certain place, add some material. I did this with a runner's goretex jacket. I added a flap to the back to cover my seat. It's ugly, but it works great.

Blog Archive