Daily Commuting Tip: To Sweat or to Get Wet?
Posted: 24th Sept 2009 | Eddie Allen
To Sweat or to Get Wet? That is the question.
I'm sure if Hamlet was a cycle commuter he'd be properly vexed by this age-old commuter quandary. Anyone who's even dabbled in bike commuting will be familiar with this scenario:
- It rains
- You put your jacket on and carry on riding (possibly a bit quicker than before to get out of the rain fast)
- You start to sweat - i.e. get wet from the inside of your jacket
- You take your jacket off
- You get even more wet, and cold
- You go home and ponder where you went wrong
- You question the whole idea of commuting by bike
Familiar? The truth is that our well-hydrated isle is a challenging environment for the cycle commuter and our cycle commuter psyche isn't quite as well developed as that of other nations.
However, don't lose heart, fair commuter, for there are a number of philosophical approaches to this sodden situation:
Rain be damned! Accept the fact that you're going to get wet, carry a full change of clothes, and enjoy that liberating feeling of embracing the rain, knowing that in a few minutes time you'll be changed into plush, dry clothes and sipping a cup of tea at home or at the office. Just remember to wear wicking an insulating layers so you don't get hypothermia!
Sweat be damned - similar to above, but with a waterproof on - either way you'll need a change of clothes - but you'll be nice and warm.
The Art of Compromise - Get a water-resistant and windproof jacket and play the percentage game. These are the ideal middle ground. Water resistant enough to keep the worst of the rain off you, but breathable enough to stop you sweating like a horse
Go Dutch and carry an umbrella - Not one for your fast-paced fitness guys and gals, but many Dutch and Danish commuters will ride sedately along, umbrella in hand! Probably not a viable option on our car-centric streets but food for thought none-the-less.
Think 'Tortoise' - Put on your full rain jacket and go slow - perhaps a more sensible option than the umbrella, but again an approach inspired by our Northern European cousins. Don't treat your commute like a time trial. Take the approach that even pootling along is faster than walking. This way you won't work up a sweat. If the rain gets really bad, don't slog on like a typical Brit. Seek shelter under a tree, bus stop or in a coffee shop and wait until the rain eases off. You'd do this in a heartbeat if you were walking, so why do we trek on like Scott of the Antarctic just ‘cos were on our bikes?
In any event, it's only water...