Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Finally got wet

I've owned the NX for just about seven months now. Yesterday was the first time I actually rode it in the rain. That's not bad considering the number of miles I've put on it (~2000) and the number of business days that I've ridden it to work (since mid-March).

The Bike
I was pleasantly surprised by its ability to handle adverse conditions. It didn't feel much different than riding in the dry. I suppose that has something to do with the tires (Shinko 705). They handled the wet pavement with aplomb. I know to keep an eye out for pavement markings as the rain has a tendency to make them very slick. However, I never felt the bike slip or slide while riding over them. I didn't have any other issues other than my rain gloves slipping on the levers a little. I moved my hands inward, on the grips, to compensate for that. I noticed that I need to re-lube the chain, there's some surface rust on it this morning.

My Gear
Naturally, I had just washed the Olympia Bushwacker over the weekend. I chose to use the NikWax Tech Wash to clean the jacket and prep it for waterproofing. It did a decent job of restoring the color to the Hi-Viz jacket as well as removing most of the dirt. I plan to eventually use the TX.Direct Wash In waterproofing. I chose not to use it just yet because one bottle is supposed to be good for up to six garments. I only have two; my jacket and over-pants. Since the directions indicate one bottle per washer load, I figured I would use it once Fall arrived and the weather tends to be less dry. At that time, I'll wash the jacket, its waterproof liner and my FirstGear over-pants. The only issue I noticed was that my crotch was a little damp when I arrived at home. Unfortunately, that's common condition with waterproof pants. I don't know if the stitching has become loose with use or if the seams need to be sealed or if the waterproofing need to be "refreshed" with the TX.Direct. However, that was the only issue I noted and it rained steadily during my ride home. My helmet, an Arai XD3, is also very good at keeping my head dry. Water does not drip down the inside of the visor nor do the vents leak. I also put my Aerostitch Rain Boot Covers to use for the first time. They are pretty nice and very similar to Totes brand of overshoes. I like them because they come up to the mid-calf. This allows me to tuck my pants into them. With the over-pants, my feet and lower legs are protected from rain and spray. I read some reviews that said they were easily torn. I'm guessing this was due to a tight fit or operator impatience. So, I ordered one size larger than I normally would have. They were a little loose but not sloppy. They worked very well and I would recommend them. My Joe Rocket gloves, a birthday gift from a few years back, kept my fingers dry and warm. This was the first time I could recall feeling rain drops hitting the exterior of the gloves. No problems. The Seal Line messenger bag also did its job and kept everything dry. I opted to put my laptop in the messenger bag instead of in the Outdoor Research dry sack strapped to the rear rack. It made for a bulkier load but the bag isn't subjected to the spray, off the rear wheel, since it sits on the rear portion of the seat.

For some reason, inclement weather seems to bring out the worst in commuters. Most are either afraid of the conditions or drive like idiots. I can't figure out if they're truly unsure of their abilities or if they've lost their collective minds. However, yesterday, everyone seemed to be on their best behavior. No one was in a big rush or tailgating or weaving in and out of traffic. Just a nice calm ride in less than optimal conditions. Kinda nice (if not for the rain).

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