Published on June 24th, 2013 | by Greg0
Biking? Ominous Clouds? Grab A Brooks Rain Cape!
We’ve had weeks of rain here in NYC. It’s been a drizzle or a downpour each day, and meant that carrying an umbrella has been a constant necessity, and rain jackets are the new fashion statement. All the more of a pity, since it’s also been the launch of the new Citibike program, New York’s bike sharing system that has been incredibly popular despite the weather. It’s a great deal of fun to ride the streets of Manhattan on two wheels, and can be both better exercise and more enjoyable than sitting on subways.
Thankfully, we’ve had the Brooks Oxford Roll Up Rain Cape handy. It rolls up tight into a small blanket-like bundle, and you can keep it on your bicycle for easy and instant access in the event of a storm. Unbuckle and unfold it, and you’ve got protection against the elements in the form of a giant cape. Ours was a size medium, and offered a billowy layer with plenty of space for us and everything in the vicinity. An extra large might be able to protect an elephant. But you want the length and breadth to protect your clothing on the way to the office or out shopping, even when you need to pedal hard. The lightweight jacket zips up fairly far, and the built-in hood is quite decent, with a visor for extra visibility.
Direct on-coming rain sheets will still prevent an obstacle, but the average afternoon shower won’t be more than an inconvenience. We were able to wear our helmets over the cape, and only wished it offered a full-zip for easy removal. Made in England from waterproof cotton, tweed, and tanned leather, this is as sexy as a full-body rain cape can get. It’s stylish, in a British sort of way, and there are technical reflective strips sewn in for safety. Roll it back up, strap it to your bike’s seat, and you’re free to enjoy the sun- it doesn’t take too long to dry either.
There aren’t any pockets, but that what sort of cape would offer them? Of course, this cape has real sleeves, even ones with elastic cuffs to keep out whatever Mother Nature tries to throw your way. It might not seem at first glance to be too breathable, but because it’s open at the bottom, ventilation isn’t much of an issue at all. Seams were extremely well-sewn, and not a drop got through. Of course, you’ll still want to be careful, as you can easily get splashed from below. Available in only one color, it was our only real issue- it’s a bit boring and we would love to see other options and patterns. The Brooks Oxford Roll Up Rain Cape isn’t cheap, retailing at $250 or more, but is clearly a well-made, lovingly-crafted piece of biking gear that any cyclist should have at the ready.