We the pork hunts who get rained on

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It was a shame when Newcastle ska band The Porkers were made to change their name from The Pork Hunts. The only upside was it left the name free for we pork hunts who get rained on while everyone else goes to work beneath a roof of some kind. Hence forth all transport cyclists shall be known as Pork Hunts.

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Legal or not, when the rain starts belting down, the footpath becomes a barrier protected Cycle track for anyone who values their life. So in a sense we pork hunts want for no more than our porky friends the Netherlands—in those times when we are getting drenched anyway. I’ve written before about our Dutch friends’ blind spot when it comes to rain protection and how canopies could shore up bike patronage there. I also know from conversations that many of my Dutchy friends agree that canopies would be useful, they’re just embarrassed to say so in public for fear of being branded as pussies.

But let’s forget that! There is a way we as individuals can combat the indignity of being sweaty, rained on and covered in road grime on our way to posh meetings. It’s the capitalist/individualist way. It is to spend shit loads of our own money on prestige rain gear then perpetuate our little white lie that inside we’re as cosy and dry as those folk on the bus.

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You may opt for the $995 Paul Smith 531 Orange “Weatherproof” jacket with “temperature control”. With this little number Smiffy has chosen the coveted Swiss-made Schoeller ‘C-Change’ fabric, made by actual Swiss people, who used to be shepherds. However, by not getting wiped out in ze war, they can now call themselves experts in everything, from chocolate to state of the art nanotech bead-and-breathe miracle yarns. If you believe their yarns, you will believe that each thread in Smiffy’s sartorial wonder coat will actually shrink in response to your rising body temperature as you start to perspire, letting that heat and perspiration into the atmosphere without letting bucket loads of the atmosphere back into the jacket. (Brief aside: a roof would be better, but you don’t want that, I know.)

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Prefer something more timeless? (And let’s face it, Paul Smith’s regular clientele buy their clothes for one wear.) It’s just a little more money, but then you get just a little bit more of that Schoeller ‘C-Change’ amazingness, which by this time you must be thinking is made from rare elements. It’s better than that. It’s made by people whose grandparents were shepherds and who now operate ski resorts with downhill mountain bike runs for the Summer. Any water inside a jacket like that is water you put there yourself, by your own lack of faith. Forgot to mention: that’s the Mission Workshop Stirman topcoat, spelt “Styrman” for effect (darn Ghetto names!)

Of course, if you don’t mind looking like a pimp…

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…you could wrap yourself in Swiss made nanoshit for a quarter of the price thanks to our ever faithful pleb mates at Chainreaction. But somehow I find an all black spray jacket lacking a certain je ne sais quoi, even if it is made from techy Swiss yarn. In Australia we might say such attire could make one look slightly “bogan“. In the Netherlands you might say it looked like scooter attire. In the UK you would say the guy in that jacket is on a bike he has nicked and is taking to market.

What pork hunts we are! You can cover yourself from head to toe in “urban kit” as they call it, and ride to work with cold jets streaming in through a half dozen ingress points. You can power-commute in your lycra with dry clothes in a bag. Of all the available options, I’m least averse to being drenched in all wool, telling myself I’m no worse off than the poor sheep.

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If you know something I don’t, don’t keep it a secret.

8 Comments

  1. Jimm Pratt says:

    …or avoid getting wet entirely (except when getting in and out perhaps) by riding a velomobile – no special clothing necessary! 🙂 Funny enough, some of those “Dutch pussies” are the ones that have developed the most popular (and most produced) velomobiles on the planet: the Quest, Mango, Strada (Sinnerbikes), the Orca (Flevobike), and a few other minor players. *Jimm jumps into his Wildcat velomobile and cycles to work – in the rain*

  2. rdrf says:

    Seriously, I think this is a crucial issue.

    In London we lose about 30% of transport cyclists when the autumn starts with clocks going back, and it doesn’t change until late spring. More important , even for those who stay cycling up to 50% stop when the wet stuff comes down – and that means cycling for loads of people is not a form of everyday transport.

    I can’t see covers coming in on most streets/roads, so good quality stuff you can wear over everyday clothing, or stylish everyday clothing that keeps you warm and dry is ESENTIAL. That’s the way I keep going.

    Of course, the Dutch often use umbrellas, and others (particularly, yes, the Swiss) just seem to carry on and not mind getting their nice office clothes wet.

    So I have tried pushing schemes where you can get easy slip over tops at least (trousers as well is good) here in the UK. they should be subsidised by the state, which, as you know, spends so much on subsidising motoring.

  3. crank says:

    I turned up in Alaska with fancy name-brand, “breathable”, “rain-proof” outerwear apparel and was laughed at and directed to get a good ol’ Norwegian fisherman’s rubber raincoat. Good thing too, I would have been wet to the core. The high tech garment practically dissolved in Alaska’s incessant “liquid sunshine”. I still count on my rubber rain jacket today in the rare Melbourne downpour.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ketchikan,_Alaska#/media/File:Ketchikan_Alaksa_Rain_Gauge.jpg

    And again, I’ve been experimenting with “breathable”, “quick-drying”, “odorless” technical undergarments to arrive at work a bit less seedy. (Damn that hill!) Better than cotton for sure, but why do all these “odorless” technologies smell like a football team’s post-game laundry basket after a couple of wears? Surely I can sue for false advertising?

    Judge: I call the plaintiff to make his case!
    Me: *opens bag with odorless undies in it*
    Judge: Faaaaaaark! I rule in the favor of the plaintiff! Case closed!

    In the mean time, I’m getting some custom linen shirts made. Recent experiments have indicated increased comfort, less water retention, and zero odor.

    Current menswear styles have come to us from the practicalities of horse riding while lookin’ the biz, which is very well suited to the realities of riding a bicycle! Wool outer, collars, breasts, vents… I’m definitely pro human-made technical fabrics, to protect the well being of animals (the real pork hunts), but gosh, science, why is it so hard? We need wool trees or something. And until my tailor is offering a three-piece in true odorless, waterproof, breathable, technical fabric with the right drape that I surely won’t be able to afford, BRING ON THE FUCKING COVERED BIKE TRACKS!!!

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