Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Rain Test

I know people call the part of the country where I live the Wet Coast rather than the West Coast, but, come on! It's July! The rains have been here, off and on, for weeks.

When I scheduled my latest appointment for my GTS, I booked about 3 weeks ago thinking it would be a nice sunny day and that I could wander around Kits (Kitsilano a nice part of Vancouver, near the beach) while the Vespa got services.

Imagine my disgust when I got up and it was absolutely pouring! Well, I thought, time to test out just how good my rain gear truly is.

I wore my MEC hiking boots, MEC rain pants and Corazzo jacket. It should be no problem arriving dry and warm,  I thought. Boy was I wrong!

To be fair, it was absolutely pouring most of the way, and about 12° C. I got through Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows and even into Coquitlam feeling pretty confident. By the time I hit Port Moody, though, I felt a strip of water right down the front of my shirt. My feet, however, were still nice and warm and I thought my lower half was dry.

A few minutes later, as I approached Vancovuer, I felt definite dampness in my shirt but the outside weather had warmed to 14.5°C. so it wasn't so bad. My feet were still dry but I had the feeling that perhaps my pants weren't quite as dry as I thought....

I continued riding through Vancouver, realizing now that my shirt was soaked. I was early for my appointment so I stopped at Mark's Work Wearhouse and bought a clearance T-shirt for 10 bucks. It was at this time that I realized that my pants were definitely wet - I just didn't know the extent.

I then road to the Urban Wasp and parked my scoot. I started to take off my rain pants when I realized that they had leaked right at the crotch - it looked like I had peed myself! Great! I put my rain pants back on and headed into the store.

After setting up my appointment, I went into the washroom and changed shirts. That solved one problem. Interestingly, my Corazzo Tempeste jacket is advertised as being waterproof - and I guess it is - but the zipper is definitely not! I was not happy about that.

My MEC pants, however, were a more pressing problem. Have you ever wandered around in a wet bathing suit for several hours? That's what this felt like. I couldn't take the rain pants off or it would look like I had had a very big accident and leaving them on gave the moisture no opportunity to evaporate. The pants have taped seams but are about 6 or 7 years old so maybe they have outdone their usefulness - or maybe they aren't good for higher speed water....

I spent the next 4 hours sloshing around Kits in my wet pants but, on the bright side, there were no major issues with my Vespa. I had asked for an oil change and to look at the transmission because of the shuddering problem. There was no mention of metal in the oil and the shudder, although not gone, is much better. It is hardly noticeable most of the time now but, on the way home, through rush hour traffic, I still heard some loud noises at time when doing a lot of stops and starts. But definitely better than before.

I finally made it home, and feeling like a 10 year old who had spent the day at the lake, I took a long shower, had a nice big glass of wine, and felt much better, and much drier.


David Masse said...

Hi Dave,

Glad to hear the bike is in good shape.

By the way, keeping your crotch dry is the holy grail of waterproof-ness. Try and see if MEC has some wash in waterproofing. That did the trick when my riding pants failed on me. As for the top half, I have a teknic waterproof riding jacket that fits over my riding jacket that keeps me dry. I also have Icon Patrol waterproof gauntlets that so far also stay dry. My boots are also Icon Patrol. If you're thinking of those boots, let me know, they have a weakness in the lacing system that I have a work-around for.

Ride safely, and here's wishing you balmy sunny weather for a change.

bobskoot said...


I have a pair of Icon Super Duty and they leak through the laces. I have had them for years, but I don't use them. They are only good in dry weather

Riding the Wet Coast
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Dave Dixon said...

Great ideas, David, will have to check out MEC and see what they can come up with.