I don’t know, what part of ‘wet and miserable weather’ do I not understand? It seems that, despite a whole weekend of apocalyptic flood reportage in the papers, my own blog entry for Friday, 20 minutes of hyperventilating flood warnings on the Today programme this morning and a weather forecast of heavy rain for the whole of Southern England, the part of my brain that decides what I should wear in the morning (no point asking me, I’m asleep) decided not to bother with a jacket. Or an umbrella. Or, indeed, waterproof shoes. Something to do with the fact that it wasn’t raining then, I suppose. And also because I did have my cycling jacket, which is waterproof, but is really not seemly for non-cycling wear. That – coupled with the fact that I also decided it would be a stunning idea to do the long cycle ride to Battersea this morning – meanss that there is no part of me now that is not soaking wet (yes, indeed, blogging is the first thing I do when I get home). And there’s something really very unpleasant about cycling not just in steadily dampening jeans, but in a wet shirt overlaid by a waterproof but not terribly breathable jacket.

But I do wonder exactly what I could wear that would cover all circumstances. My day consists of a 20 minute cycle ride, a five minute wait on an exposed and shelterless platform, a 25 minute air-conditioned train ride, a 10 minute walk in everything this summer chooses to throw at us (blizzards?), and a day spent looking at least passably professional in an air-conditioned office with its phasers set to stun. Oh and only one small backpack to carry my many outfits in. So to show that I can take the fashion advice as well as dish it out: readers, the floor is yours. What would you wear?


21 responses to “Bleeeeeurgh

  1. … and anyone saying ‘shower cap’ will get a personally administered slapping

  2. I was going to say “a car”…
    but, can you still get those yellow cycle capes?

  3. London City Soul

    full body condom, no really, i hate this sorts of weather, you end up wearing the wrong clothes anyway, not that unusual in london anyway. go out sun shining, wearing summer clothes you’ll end up drenched, go out umbreally warm clothes you’ll end up sweating so much you could surf back home.
    the misery of living.

  4. I’d suggest wearing a bigger bag with more clothes in it 😀

  5. frogman outfit (scuba gear)

  6. Perhaps as a public service, I could just post in the mornings what outfit I’m wearing, and you can all safely wear the opposite …

  7. How about photos too? Then it could be a sort of what not to wear commuter blog.

  8. Yes, all right, thank you baby mother, you may leave now.

  9. Get some lightweight trousers from your local outdoor store. These dry much quicker than jeans. And try a fleece top.
    My waterproofs leave me feeling as wet as if I hadn’t bothered, but my fleece keeps me realtively dry.

  10. Wear a sheep. Merino thermals.

  11. my genuine suggestions for this weather might cost a bit but I’ll give you the list anyway. Being a cycle tourer, I’ve had cycling trips of 6 hours riding in the pouring rain so here is my advice for wet weather comfort:

    go to millets or similar outdoorsy shop and buy a baselayer and make sure it is one that touches your skin all over (so not too baggy) because this will keep you warm in cool weather and cool in warm weather. The fabrics wick sweat away, saving you that horrid clammy feel from sweating under your raincoat. Some of the more expensive ones have silver fibres in for their antibacterial properties which keeps it from getting wiffy.

    Avoid cotton like the plague. It soaks up sweat and keeps it right next to your skin and feels yucky.

    You can get midlayers to go over your baselayer but these aren’t always necessary.

    The second vital piece of equipment is a good (read: expensive) raincoat. Not all raincoats are created equal and it’s not all about being waterproof. Get one that has vents (to let the warm, damp air out that your baselayer is drawing to the surface) and one that has a hood you can turn your head in properly (so you can look over your shoulder). The better hoods have ‘volume control’ to allow it to it more snugly fit your head. Mine cost about £70 and that is as cheap as I’m prepared to go for a raincoat. You really do get what you pay for.

    Third piece of vital equipment is a baseball cap. this stops the rain getting in your face and prevents you having to squint to be able to see. The peak of the baseball cap also helps to move your raincoat’s hood when you need to glance over your should. Nothing worse than turning your head and seeing only the inside of your rainhood.

    Fourth piece of vital equipment is a pair of waterproof trousers. I only wear these in a total downpour and they aren’t expensive. Only thing is: check they are long enough in the leg and buy men’s ones if they aren’t.

    Lastly, shoes that are waterproof or pack some clean socks and keep a spare pair of shoes at work. For cycle touring I pack my waterproof hiking shoes to change into if it starts to rain, otherwise I wear my SPD shoes that clip to the pedals. My boyfriend wears waterproof overshoes for his commute but then he’s cycling an hour each way. If its warm but wet, we both wear SPD sandals. No slipping off pedals and they dry in no time.

    expensive raincoat
    baseball cap
    waterproof trousers (for downpours)
    waterproof shoes

  12. Ian and Skye – all good suggestions for the cold wet days, but what about the warm ones (should we ever have any)?

    I had a brilliant idea this morning though – a normal looking jacket with detachable hi-vis panels. Or a reversible cycling jacket – lurid yellow on one side, sober black on the other…

  13. Bit chilly on the train … and think of the road rash

    Make for an interesting blog, tho’

  14. Another blogger – sorry your comment got caught as spam for some reason & Akismet didn’t tell me. Thanks for the sensible suggestions. Sounds like I’m going to need a bigger bag … model commuter was right

  15. I believe that there are some lightweight trousers that convert into shorts.
    A fleece will keep you warm and dry when it needs to and can be carried in the rucksack when you don’t need to wear it.
    It is a very good idea to keep spare shoes at work if you can.
    Another blogger is right – you get what you pay for. But I am cheap!

  16. I forgot to say get a t-shirt that wicks sweat away from your body. That way you don’t feel like a wet lettuce leaf when you get to work.

  17. As I’m wearing a skirt today, I can confidently guarantee blizzards. Sorry.

  18. Pog – damnit, and me without a jacket again as well. Blizzard and hurricane, I reckon

    Ian – damp lettuce leaf doesn’t even begin to describe the feeling. Inside of dog-chewed trainer might be closer…

  19. Hi, I’m studying design at London College of Fashion. I have been cycling in London for over 7 years now and have always been frustrated by the clothing available to women – either it’s too girlie, too impractical or too sporty/masculine. So I’ve decided to base my final collection on clothing for female cyclists. I don’t mean high performance gear – rather commuter gear that is both functional, comfortable, intelligent, adaptable and looks good so can be worn on the road and at work. I’d appreciate any thoughts/ suggestions. I have a questionnaire which I’d appreciate your feedback on – if you’re interested in filling it out, please contact me at and I’ll send it over. Thanks in advance!

  20. yay – all you girl cyclists out there, hope is in sight

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