Author Topic: TK Maxx Cape/Poncho/Green Witch wear!  (Read 244 times)

in4

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TK Maxx Cape/Poncho/Green Witch wear!
« on: April 22, 2022, 09:48:51 PM »
For those amongst us who are cape fans TK Maxx have some Ellesse lightweight green ones in stock. Weather (!) they’re any good I don’t know.

Danneaux

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Re: TK Maxx Cape/Poncho/Green Witch wear!
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2022, 10:36:30 PM »
Good to know; thanks! :) Options are always nice.

I rode for about 40,000mi/64,000kms with a rain cape and booties before switching to an early Gore-Tex cycling-specific rainsuit in the early 1980s. The Cape was certainly nice in some respects but ultimately fell short in two vital aspects for my use:
1) Poor aerodynamics
2) It was a sweat factory, particularly where it was stretched across my back and shoulders.

Also, on my derailleur bikes, I am used to glancing at my derailleurs to check my (non-indexed) gear combos and I missed that.

The switch to the jacket and trousers (marketed as "knickers" in the American meaning -- knickerbockers -- that were seatless and combined with nearly knee-high Gore-Tex overboots) was a night-and-day difference for me over the cape...but still have ventilation problems.

I'm not sure there is such a thing as the "perfect" rain gear for cyclists!

Best,

Dan.

Andre Jute

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Re: TK Maxx Cape/Poncho/Green Witch wear!
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2022, 12:04:10 PM »
Some more “options” that don’t quite fit in Navrig’s parallel thread:

Everything I wear on the bike is 100% cotton street clothes except for a very modern Altura cycling-specific jacket with multiple zipped circulation vents which I keep open virtually all the time, and still find too sweaty — but then I generally use it as a windcheater in what for me is really cold weather — nothing under the low tens Celsius. My normal jacket for cycling, if a jacket is required, is a heavy longshoreman’s zipped cotton bomber jacket, which is so closely woven that it takes rain a couple of hours to soak through.  This jacket is over thirty years old but I’ve failed to replace it — new stuff is simply not made of the same quality cotton or stitching, or zips.

I don’t have a roadie background, so I have no beau ideal of a cyclist’s appearance to refer to, and in any event I’m not a joiner and generally buy nothing with the designer’s name visible (I used to be an advertising executive — I expect to be paid, and plenty, for advertising manufacturers’ gear). I bought the usual cycling wear when offered by the German supermarkets Aldi and Lidl in Ireland and found it inadequate and/or ludicrous or simply tiresome to change into. I simply reengineered my bike once and for all to keep oil off my clothes — anyway a welcome byproduct of building a near-zero maintenance bike.

These are the more or less successful rainwear items I also tried:

One of the most successful blowins from other sports was/is my hillwalking and mountaineering jacket (Chris Bonington’s brand, Berghaus?) which is a huge nylon shell with the Goretex layer on the inside, intended to be worn over a thick sweater in an ascent of Mount Everest. Not very aerodynamic and still sweaty despite the air circulating inside the jacket if you loosen the drawcords but it sure keeps you warm and dry from your head all the way to just above your knees. And this: Wind, what wind? Tip: Goretex doesn’t wear out, it’s just a microlayer inside a shell of another material and its purpose is to let perspiration out, not to keep water out. If the outer material is nylon, you can restore its waterproofing by washing it and then tumble drying at low temperature to raise the nap again. It works better than spraying wax; if you insist on spraying on wax, do it after you raise the nap.

I also have Goretex boots, too heavy to cycle in, trousers hardly worn in thirty years, leggings that is the only one of the accessories that I can recommend for cycling in heavy rain because they keep spray off your shins and ankles, overshoes made redundant by the boots but too much bother to put on except for the sort of serious, long range, multi-hour daylong ride that I save for fine days but that a more committed tourer well away from home may not have a choice about if he is to keep to a preplanned schedule. 

I went to considerable trouble and expense to source and import a Dutch cycling cape, which is beautifully designed for a commuter, with a hood that can be adjusted to fit over a helmet, a little visor to keep water off your spectacles, and a thousand and one other thoughtful details. Though as wide as the Goretex mountain jacket above, it is such soft plastic that it drapes to your body and thus sweaty, clammy and plain nasty to wear on the bike, though when you’re on foot it is loose enough to be a useful defender against rain. Very awkward to shop in, which is the only time I’m on foot. I wouldn’t wear the cape on a bike with derailleurs or an open chain because it would be an invitation for the thing to do an Isadora Duncan* on you, but all my bikes have hub gearboxes and covered chains, and two have Dutch overcoat guards over the spokes as well; see the coat guards on my Gazelle Toulouse at
http://coolmainpress.com/BICYCLINGgazelletoulouse.html
The reason I wear this cape a few times a year on windless but rainy days is that it is long enough to keep your knees dry. It seems to me that near home in the small country roads and in the city it is worth having but on a tour it would be too much bother, and I certainly wouldn’t take it onto the highway on a windy day because it would unpredictably become a sail.

While shopping for the cape, I came across two other Dutch solutions to bicycle commuting in office clothes in foul weather. Both, unlike the neutral dark blue cape, were made of transparent plastic:

One was an ankle-length overcoat. See immediately above about coat guards on Dutch bikes; without coat protectors, this could be a lethal piece of clothing. I don’t know if it was clumsy advertising, but the coat appeared to be a tight-fitting fashion-cut on a thin model, with zero space for air circulation.

The other, of the same transparent plastic, was a jacket and trousers set, obviously a sweat factory, so probably intended for a five or ten minute ride at Dutch commuter speed of 15kph or less to the train station. I wasn’t tempted.

Another successful blowin to bicycles was a short Peruan Indian poncho, woven from cotton, which my wife bought at a fair trade shop. It’s just a large square of patterned weave with a fringe on the edges and a hole for your head in the middle. Super for cool days at the change of seasons, and you can arrange where the corners fall and whether you sit on a corner or drop it behind the saddle for much-appreciated ventilation up your back. Circulation around you front and side isn’t a problem because your arms reaching to the bars hold the poncho away from your body. It’s like a short cloak without the bother of the fastenings, and if you anyway wear a helmet with a cloth skullcap, the lack of a hoodie is irrelevant.

* Duncan was an American exotic dancer, a sensation in the Parisian demi-monde in the Jazz Age. She was strangled by her silk scarf winding around the exposed axle of an Amilcar, which the myth-makers promptly promoted to a much more “exclusive” Bugatti.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2022, 10:58:35 AM by Andre Jute »

JohnR

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Re: TK Maxx Cape/Poncho/Green Witch wear!
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2022, 12:52:35 PM »
1) Poor aerodynamics
That's an understatement. A cape is the optimum shape to change a headwind from being a nuisance to being very hard work. I used a cape when at school and have no desire to buy another one.

mickeg

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Re: TK Maxx Cape/Poncho/Green Witch wear!
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2022, 11:05:21 PM »
Never tried a cape.

Have used waterproof/breathable rain jacket and pants.  Shoe covers (waterproof) are needed too when you do that and a helmet cover is nice to have.  That said, waterproof rain pants and jacket can get pretty warm if the weather is warm. 

I have never seen these but a few people have commented on a randoneuring forum that they are good for that type of riding, not too hot but your feet will still get soaked since these do not have much below-knee coverage.
https://www.rainlegs.com/en/home

Reviews caution that it does not work that well if you lack fenders (mudguards) in which case you get wet from rear tire spray.  And if the rain jacket is too short, rain can come in the top of them.  I can see these being useful for light drizzle in warm weather.  I considering buying one so I am ready for any moderate to warm weather rainy riding.