Thursday, May 23, 2013

Showers Pass Portland Jacket Review

Showers Pass Women's Portland Jacket taking the east coast by storm!
ANOTHER RAINY DAY IN NYC: May is Bike Month so many people are taking to the roads by bicycle for the first time.  Really all is well and fun as long as the sun is shining but what happens in a downpour? I believe cyclists in Portland Oregon would know a thing or two about riding in the rain.  However the real proving ground is in New York City. That's because US cities such as New York, NY, Atlanta, GA, Boston, MA and Washington, DC have higher annual rainfall rates than both Portland, OR and Seattle, WA (which are often thought of as the rainiest cities). Surprised? I'm not because as I'm writing this... it's raining!

Rainy Rides
I'm going to be honest. I don't enjoy riding in the rain. My foldy has fenders and my sport-touring has a rear rack with a center shelf that helps but that's about it.  Still there are times when this aspect of cycling just can't be helped and riding in one of the nation's rainiest cities makes it inevitable.  I do carry a little folding umbrella in my Basil Elements Bicycle Bag for when I get off the bicycle and have to walk but other than that I have to admit up until now I haven't been seriously prepared. Just for a rainy day, there are a few things you should keep with you in your cycle bag:

1.) Plastic shower caps for your saddle and helmet.
Portland Jacket & Terry Skort.

2.) Extra set of dry clothes.
3.) Absorbent cloth or towel.
4.) A water-proof jacket

Portland Jacket
When I say water-proof, that's a bit different than "spritz" proof. Why? Well, on a bicycle you are often dealing with high winds and torrents of driving rain hitting you square in the face. The waterproof softshell fabric makes the Women's Portland Jacket feel and look like fabric. Other cool features include:

A drop down 3M reflective rear panel & stealthy reflective piping.

Hidden zip pits for venting

Chest pocket with audio port & hidden inside pocket

Zippered WeatherGuard cuffs

Adjustable fit-or-flare side gussets that allow for a more tailored fit.

My Spring-Summer Rainy Day Kit
The beauty of it is that it is made for cycling but looks fantastic for that stop in at Starbucks for a latte. It has a definite urban-chic vibe so you'll fit in anywhere. I paired my rainy day wear with a Terry Skort, which also has reflective accents for extra visibility in the rain. Now while the skort isn't water-proof, I've gotten into the habit of choosing quick dry fabrics or spraying on a little Atsko Permanent Stain & Water
Repellent.  Only one treatment is needed and it allows water to bead up and roll off leaving the fabric dry and breathable.

My Test Ride
This jacket received a trial by rain when my bicycle broke down, (the chain jammed) and I had to walk it home. Although it was quite a dismal 58 degrees, I was warm and dry the whole time. When I felt myself getting a little over-heated, was able to open the zip pits with only one hand. Prang! The back extending tail-flap is also genius for coverage and reflectiveness as cars could see me and stayed clear. Once I got home, I switched to another bicycle and took off again to complete my errands. Really the whole trip was extremely enjoyable even with the breakdown as I was not cold or sweaty underneath the coat.  This jacket could very well turn me into a rain-loving rider. Here it is below after being in the rain for about 45 minutes.
A very wet, (but I was dry), Showers Pass Portland Jacket in Pretty Plaid
The Wrap
What I like about the Portland Jacket is the adjustable fit that allows for freedom of movement while pedaling. The jacket also has a very soft lining, making it a bit warmer than most rain toppers. Yet the zip pits keep you from getting over-heated. The zippered cuffs work the same way and are tapered to keep rain from running up your sleeves. The high neck is also a comforting feature as you can zip it up all the way to keep the rain from running down your chest. Getting wet is extremely dangerous on a bicycle as it can bring down your core temperature even in above freezing weather. This is a substantial cycle jacket that keeps you snug as a bug but just happens to look fantastic off the bicycle too. Showers Pass but you don't have to get drenched until they do.

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