Thursday, December 11, 2008

Beware the Conspicuous Ninja

Obviously, any ninja can get the jump on you if he's sneaky and dressed in all black. It's a special brand of ninja who says, "I can get to you even in this revoltingly bright vest that guarantees you'll see me coming a mile away!" This guy even went so far as to say, "I'll be there at 5:33," thus giving away any hope of surprising his foe.

What you're seeing is pretty much everything new about my winter cycling wardrobe for the '08-'09 frigid season. The zipper on my old shell crapped out, so I found this bruise-colored thing on mega-clearance at a local discount store. Despite being...

  1. arguably designed for golf (a sport I don't even understand enough to write a post about how I don't understand it),
  2. a product of the Great Importer of Swoosh-Encrusted Crap Made In Chinese Sweatshops, and
  3. darn near impossible for drivers to see in stock form,
...I must grudgingly admit that I like it lots. It's a waterproof "soft shell" (whatever that marketing nonsense means) with a waffle-patterned fleece inside that seems to trap a lot of warm air -- and if anyone knows about hot air, it's me. Plus, it only has one very subtle swoosh (must be why it was so cheap, since the Great Importer of Swoosh-Encrusted Crap Made In Chinese Sweatshops charges by the swoosh), and it doesn't make me look like (much of) a bike dork when I'm not on the bike.

The obnoxious vest is a Carhartt hi-vis number made for construction workers that I picked up from G and L Clothing -- a locally-owned store in my 'hood that also
happens to have a Web presence. Frankly, the reflective vests that are supposedly designed for runners and cyclists cannot TOUCH this thing. It makes my eyes hurt to look at it. I got the idea when I was riding through my neighborhood and saw a kid wearing one on her walk home from school. You couldn't not see this kid. So, I thank her parents for keeping both her and me safe. (Aside: G & L is also a great source for non-bike-specific gloves, hats, and long undies that work better for biking -- and are way cheaper -- than a lot of bike-specific stuff. Construction workers and farmers don't screw around when it comes to staying warm and frugal simultaneously.)

Finally, there's my ninja headgear. This is V2.0 of the helmet liner my wife made for me last winter. V2.0 is longer in the neck (good, since my jacket lacks a high collar) and made of 100% merino wool rather than V1.0's wool/mohair blend. The merino version isn't as warm as the mohair, but it's still plenty warm, and it's also less likely to give me hairballs.

No comments: