Showing posts with label hi-vis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hi-vis. Show all posts

Saturday, March 13, 2010

I Am Unprepared. And Naturally Hi-Vis!

I was caught off guard by the unseasonably warm weather last week. While the morning was cool, the trip home from work was in a balmy 14 C. See, I'm not one of those who celebrates the return of Spring prematurely. I don't switch back to my summer commuter bike until there is almost zero chance of snow or ice. Mutant Winter seems downright sporty ever since I put air in her tires after running for months in deflated mode, so that's good enough for me. I feel confident that winter will take one more kick at it at least, and I hate switching back and forth.

The thing is, I have not prepared myself to ride in warmer weather clothing-wise either. My fair weather cycling shoes are MIA somewhere around the house. I have been too busy or lazy (the former if you are me and the latter if you are some external observer of me) to find them yet. So, like I said, I was caught off guard last week, which left me trying to look normal while wearing cold weather cycling boots and long socks with my cycling shorts since I didn't want to wear my cold weather pants and roast like a turkey.

It has been a while since I posted pictures of any part of myself online... if any of you sick perverted freaks have been anxiously awaiting some Rantwick Action, today is your day. Please never ever ever contact me and for the love of God seek some counselling in this matter. Here's the process I went through that warm afternoon:

click pic to enlarge

Now, one result of this sad situation was that I discovered something good. There is something about brazenly untanned, pigmentless human skin that catches the eye like almost nothing else. Since I almost never go shirtless in summer, I am that guy at the beach with a farmer (or in my case, cycling) tan whose blazing whiteness makes you wish you didn't have eyes. I am not alone in this, so in this respect I am about as Hi-Vis in the leg department as every other uber-white cyclist who is coming off the trainer, out of the basement or out of their cold weather gear and riding in shorts again. When I was taking the pictures, I thought to myself, "well at least those white socks make my legs look less terrifyingly white..."

The pictures above were taken in my office, which thank goodness has windows and receives some natural light. When I take pictures of stuff, including my limbs, I usually do some with the flash and some without. When the flash was used, those socks didn't stand a chance in the Hi-Vis category. Along with my summer cycling shoes, I have also misplaced some reflective ankle bands I usually wear, but as you can see, I have absolutely nothing to worry about:

You would think the leg hair would cut the glare a little, but no joy. Lots of cyclists shave their legs, especially the racer types. Not me. I ain't no racer, plus if things keep going the way they have started to, my legs will eventually be the only way I'll be able to enjoy the breeze blowing through my hair on a bike ride... maybe I should get some rogaine for them! I bet riding around with Chewbacca legs would feel fantastic! I would have to find my reflective ankle straps though. Hmmm. Decisions.

If you see me riding, please don't drive your car into the light. There's nothing divine going on, believe me.

PS - Check out ChipSeal's latest post here. Then donate to help defend him using the button on this page.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Encounters with Rantwick, episode ten: Industrial Bright And Tragic

My cycling specific garb for winter riding has been joined by several bits of industrial work wear lately, three bits to be precise. One thing I've begun wearing only recently is a pair of clear safety glasses:

I really like my clear goggles for cold weather riding, but that's the problem. This year it has become dark during my commute without becoming cold enough to warrant the goggles, which can be quite warm when you're working much. So, I tried the clear safety glasses, and I must say I quite like them.

The next item is one that I haven't really felt the need to use until recently. My work has had me commute to some new and different locations lately, some of which force me to ride on some roads that most sensible cyclists would rather avoid. I wasn't feeling quite visible enough some of the time on these roads, so I added a reflective vest to my usual getup:

I must say that I like what the vest does, but I hate wearing it. It makes me feel like a nerd, which is totally stupid because Mutant Winter with her pink cables and plastic tub have already completely established that I AM a nerd, so why should I care? Perhaps I attach more importance to clothing; after all "clothes make the man", right? If that's true, do "gloves make the hands"?

I've never really believed that specialty mitts or gloves, like "lobster claws" and stuff like that were necessary for winter riding, as evidenced by the stuff I was forced to retire thanks to being worn out:

I've only had those $5 gloves for about a month! I must have super strong thumbs. Damn video games!

I came across my replacements when I was at a work wear place buying jeans. I am really excited about these (not a nerd. right.) because they may well be the perfect winter cycling glove despite the fact that they were not designed for the purpose:

They are fuzzy on the inside, the backs are a knit material and the palms and fingers are rubberized. They are extremely grippy on the handlebars regardless of weather conditions. Last but not least, they are really hi-vis! I have read Steve A and others talk about lights to make wrists or hands visible so that their signals don't get missed; these wouldn't do in the summer of course, but in the dark of winter when these things might matter most, I think they are a pretty darn good solution. Last but not least, they were $16. But never mind all that. These things make me look cool, because they make my hands and fingers look like those of Master Shake:

If you don't know who Master Shake is, shame on you. You are so un-cool. I didn't know who he was either, but a young colleague of mine said my hands looked like his in those gloves, so I looked him up. I don't get the channel needed to watch Aqua Teen Hunger Force, but I really wish I did... it seems like my kind of strangeness.

OK, where was I? Ah yes, I was stylin' in my industrial evolution:

So, I am Industrial Bright and lookin' special. Where's the Tragic? I was in my full industrial bright splendour when the following occurred:

The tragedy lies not in the fact that the truck driver didn't like me being where I was and using his air horn. The tragedy is that for reasons I can't explain, I lost my temper and flipped him off very clearly with my new hi-vis finger held high for his rear-view mirror. He didn't miss that signal, because he touched his brakes for no reason while I did it, like he might stop for a chat. I know lots of cyclists would consider that pretty normal, but it isn't for me. That was the first time in my many years of driving and cycling that I have ever given someone the bird, and therein lies the tragedy. I pride myself on keeping my cool and refraining from reacting to stuff like that dude's air horn. Civility is important and as my Mother would say, two wrongs don't make a right.

Keep Yer Cool. Until Next Time,