Tuesday, 30 October 2007

It’s been a busy month. It’s also been a terribly wet month up here on the upper West Coast. And when it hasn’t been rainy, it’s been cold - at least cold for a West Coaster.

The main reason I am really aware of this is I now only have two choices for getting to school - my Vespa or my bike. That’s because number one daughter drives her sister, a neighbour and herself across town to the French Immersion High School every day. That’s mostly a very good thing but I am having to get used to being car-less this year.

This morning, the temperature dropped down to 3° C. (that’s about 37° F. according to a temperature conversion site) and it felt cold to me. Yes, I know, if you’re from the prairies or the mid-west or practically anywhere else but the on a coast, that’s not very cold but to a person born and bred being able to smell the salt in the ocean on a breezy day, 3° is really cold!

I don’t have a particularly long ride to school in the morning but I have been making a lot of trips on the way home in recent days. I’m beginning to find my choice of scooter clothing to be - well - not good enough for cold weather.

So what am I wearing?

In the rain, I have waterproof pants that I bought from MEC (Mountain Equipment Coop). They are completely waterproof and keep my legs warm in both rainy and cold weather. On Mondays, when I teach PE, I even wear them over shorts!

For my feet, I wear cycling shoe covers. These are pretty much waterproof and, as an added bonus, they keep your feet warm. Unfortunately, they only protect the top and sides of your shoes so if you step in a big puddle, your feet will get wet.

For a jacket, I wear a waterproof shell that is really waterproof - as long as I fold over and secure the velcro patches on the front seam. The times I forgot to do this, I had a nice big wet spot across the chest of my shirt. Thank goodness for air dryers.

I have a fleece or two that I can wear under my shell. In the rain, this works pretty well. When it’s cold outside, though, my core starts to get cold. I have put up to three layers of fleece and still will get cold, especially if I am going to the city.
As for gloves, I use kayak paddling gloves when it’s really rainy. They start off warm and work for a while but become soggy after awhile.

During cold weather, I wear lobster gloves - they are sort of like mittens but have two fingers in each part which gives you some mobility but also added warmth. Unfortunately, on longer rides, my fingers start to freeze, even if I wear another pair of gloves inside the lobster gloves.

So, that’s what I am currently wearing for wet and cold weather. Now to look at what’s out there that will keep me warm and dry - or, I should say, warmer and drier.

And, no, I haven’t managed to get my camera back from my sister yet.


Kano said...

I just discovered your Blog yesterday and came back for another visit today. I found you with a link from the Midwest Scooter Enthusiast Blog. Great Blog! You have a unique perspective or riding. I'm a fellow west coaster, down in Oregon.

Dave Dixon said...


I'm glad you're enjoying reading my blog. Tell me, what do you wear on those cold winter days in Oregon?

Bill Sommers said...

Thats a pretty good set-up for wet weather. I hadn't thought of cycling booties. Good idea.

I went with some mittens last year, the kind that the snow boarders use, and have been really happy with them. You can find them at the LL Bean website for about $20.00 US dollars. I'll toot the horn that I blow on my site about the military surplus fishtail parka. I've been wearing mine for the past 2 weeks, and man it keeps me warm on those cool morning rides. Yesterday was 32 degrees!

Have fun,

Kano said...

Dave-The item I'm most proud of wearing is my gloves issued to me 25 years ago by the U.S. Army. They are a leather shell with wool liners. In warmer weather I take out the liners and just wear the shell. Works for me. Other than that I retired my leather jacket w/liner and got a Tour Master Transition jacket that has been keeping me pretty warm. I wear a full face helmet on cold days and a bandana tied around my neck. I don't usually go to far during the winter just 10 miles to and from work, so I'm not in any danger of freezing to death.

How about you? It must be a little colder up there than here although I'm in the Willamette Valley 50 miles from the coast. How far is the farthest you've ridden your LX?

Dave Dixon said...

Hmm - a parka actually sounds like a good idea - a bit moddish and that's OK.

Don't you find that the mittens restrict your movement?

I'd be interested to know how well the gloves hold up in the rain. I assume your weather can be socked in and wet as ours....

I probably should wear a full face helmet - but I don't.

I'm only about 30 km from the coast as the crow flies but you're right - the temperature is a fair bit warmer in Salem - much to my surprise (see this site).
I thought that the coast would make the temperatures mild and similar from Eugene to Vancouver!

Kano said...

I'm surprised that there is only 3 degrees difference, I thought it would be a little more. The gloves hold up fine in wet weather. I generally will take the car to work though if it's pouring down rain when it's time to leave. If it's raining mildly, I ride and I don't care if it is raining a lot on my ride home because it's a short distance. I did have some trouble yesterday. It was super foggy and my face shield and glasses underneath kept fogging up and I couldn't see a thing! Plus it was dark. I ended up riding with the face shield raised and my glasses lowered.

Bill Sommers said...

The mittens took a little getting used to, but now I reach for them before gloves every time. Even the early morning frosty days haven't been a problem yet. Mittens rule!

twistngogrl & vespajitsu said...

Hi Dave,
I'll keep enjoying your blog, go to mine and see my farewell message.

Steve Williams said...

Your gear sounds pretty good. One time the speed limitations of the LX50 are a blessing is when the temperature goes down.

Windproof and waterproof are essential to staying warm. I good for everything but my hands. I too have some heavy expedition mittens that are good below zero for hiking but at 50 MPH the wind chill can drop very low. So still I consider electric gloves.

Hope you get your camera working again soon. Always enjoy seeing where you are riding.

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

Dave Dixon said...

I think the coastal currents keeps it pretty mild up here. I have had problems with fog too, especially last week. Lots of wiping and peering...

My lobster gloves are sort of like mittens - I find them a good compromise as I'm just too fumbly with mittens.

I'm sad to see that you are taking a break from blogging - I especially enjoyed all of your photos that you took over the summer.
Blogging can certainly be an up and down thing and some months it's hard to crank something out, especially if it seems no one is reading.
I know I read a lot of blogs but don't leave messages very often - it might be that people reaad but just don't respond.
Anyways, good luck and take care.

Electric gloves... hmmm, that's a thought.
I still get pretty cold on longer rides - and will have to work on winterizing myself.

Cameras back in my hands!