I’m a bit obsessed by Desert Island Discs. Choose the 8 songs that mean the most to you, and, in the event of a rogue wave, you need to select the ONE song that you’d save. One song that means everything.
That song for me is Singin’ In The Rain – Gene Kelly. Its not my favourite piece of music, but the one that means the most to me. Its totally different from anything else I listen to. Hell, I hate musicals. But its a mantra, a way of life, a metaphor.
Being an entrepreneur, I like motivational sayings and shoe gazing amateur psychology. If I have to decide between riding in the rain, or getting the train, I cycle. Because nobody EVER regrets cycling instead of public transport. Freedom versus incarceration. Nature versus industrialisation.
Taken as a metaphor, its about positivity. making the best of what circumstance has brought you. Not worrying about what you can’t change, but embracing it. Its the sort of life view that makes entrepreneurs incredibly bloody annoying. Sorry.
I’ve been singing Singin’ In The Rain out loud on the bike since I was a kid. If you’ve ridden with me, you’ll have heard me chucking out mis-remembered lines in-between laughing out loud. I mean, I REALLY love cycling in the rain. I wait for it. I’d rather ride in a thunderstorm than in any other weather.
It’s the elemental nature of rain. It’s not controlled. You can’t. It’s nature breaking through a city’s defences. Humanity can’t control it all.
It makes me feel small, humble and at peace. That life’s worries are meaningless against the rocks and their trickling melt water, the rivers, seas and storms. All dumped onto your shoulders in rush hour. Woot!
I’m also a contrary man, and I love that I’m riding through a biblical downpour while everyone else is sitting in cramped silence, hurumphing and cursing their luck. Its everyone’s bad luck! I’m not going to let anything get me down, or beat me. We can’t change it, so lets ride, and feel joy!
Now I’m losing you. Practicalities. Its all very well throwing yourself into a storm with uninhibited joy, but it’s not all love and daffodils when you’re sat in your own personal pond for 6 hours, as your desk sinks into the soggy office carpet tiles, ducks circling your ankles…
Enter the cliche you were anticipating:
There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.
I love that cliche. Vulpine loves that cliche. We live by it, as any outdoor apparel designer should. What does the founder of a cycling company who’s bestsellers are ALL rainwear wear, when he (er, me) can wear anything he chooses?
Well, I wear everything in different combinations, because I’m always looking for new improvements and constantly iterating. But these are my go-tos:
The Harrington isn’t fully waterproof, but for my half hour commute, it can take all but a heavy downpour. Most rain dropped here is from showers. Sorted. Its extremely breathable and blends into any of my working day. I guess that’s why its so popular.
The jeans dry fast, if I do get caught out, as does anything merino. I use the gloves in the cold. They stay incredibly comfortable, even in the rain, so I use rain or not.
If I know its going to hammer it down, or I’m staring at it out the window (heh, even I hesitate), then out comes our best waterproof jacket, the Deluge. I ride hood-down (I put it up when walking around) and use the toggles to close the neck off. I wear a HOY Vulpine Storm Cap (oop, crossing the streams) to keep the rain out of my eyes. The Tailored Rain Trousers always been a huge customer favourite, as they’re smart, bead water and dry really fast (faster than the jeans), as in a downpour they may wet out on high-tension areas. I use silk socks, as silk gives amazing comfort when wet.
All of these are designed by my team and I with comfort and breathability as absolute paramount. It’s all very well being bedecked in totally waterproof gear, but if you ride in bin bags you get really wet anyway….from sweat. That’s definitely not riding and arriving in style. Exercise creates heat, so we get rid of it. Vulpine are big on using vents and real world fabrics with excellent breathability. Moist hot must be got rid of. These are some of the garments that Vulpine customers and I wear to work, the pub, even dates.
Ride in the rain, there’s too many wet days not to. Cycling is joyous. Use it to escape the city’s oppressive traffic and public transport. Stay healthy. Arrive of sound mind and body.
I hope we are encouraging more cycling. More singing in the rain.