Today’s morning deluge offered me the first real test for my present wet-weather ensemble. Amid very intense rain, I cycled with considerable exertion for several kilometres, while layered with Gore-Tex from toes to helmet. The mad people you see cycling in the rain with just hoods on may be keeping their bangs dry, but they are flirting with doom. Just imagine having to pass in front of a bus, at speed, with low visibility while skirting the cycle line that has become a moat after the rain overwhelmed the drainage system, and you begin to understand my concern.
The Helly Hansen waterproof breathable pants and North Face Gore-Tex shoes had proved their worth previously, (though the shoes become unusually hot and internally damp in very hot weather). As when I went hiking in North Van with Kate, I was impressed by the impermeability of the Mountain Equipment Co-Op (MEC) Aegis jacket that I got in Vancouver. Even more impressive is the breathability, which is substantially better than that of my old two-ply Eddie Bauer Gore-Tex jacket, even when it was new. Nearly getting hit by an Oxford City Council lorry that had decided to swerve to avoid a massive puddle in the middle of Banbury Road also made me glad for the choice of startling red as the colour.
All that said, I have always taken a certain pleasure in enduring despite the weather. As such, I am not bitter that I have a string of tasks to accomplish all over Oxford today – from having student loan forms endorsed by the college and jetted off to tracking down readings for tomorrow’s core seminar.
PS. This electron micrograph of the Gore-Tex membrane is pretty cool looking. Somehow, ‘thermo-mechanically expanded polytetrafluoroethylene’ fails to automatically conjure an image in my mind.