Today the weather behaved perfectly for testing the new gear I purchased yesterday.
By mid afternoon the rain was still coming down and mud embraced the Trans Pennine cycle route along the disused railway that links Altrincham with Warrington.
It was hard going in sections – the mud doesn't doesn’t look deep, but it’s a wet and grimy pastime, sloshing through all the puddles.
Trafford Council doesn’t spend any money on maintaining this amenity, though many people use it. Luckily it dries out fairly quickly in good weather.
I went all the way to Thelwall, some 10 miles from home, turning round at the first (albeit short) road section of the trail that I came to. A mile back up the line I jumped ship to the adjacent Bridgewater Canal, staying on the towpath for the 10 miles back home. The towpath isn’t often maintained, either, but it’s in better condition than the disused railway track, and more pleasant to cycle along.
I don’t think cyclists are really allowed on this part of the canal, so courtesy to all other users is a prerequisite here, and there were quite a few other users today, all cheery in the damp weather.
So, my initial verdicts on the Montane Lite-Speed jacket and CCA Waterproof Bumbag:
The Pertex (Nylon) jacket replaces my 30 year old Dartmouth Performance Clothing jacket made from ‘Dunloprufe’ Polyurethane Coated Nylon. It's 60 gm lighter at 160 gm; the small size fits me brilliantly and the hood was snug, which is what I want under a cycle helmet – this was perfect, as I forgot I had the hood up until my head got hot when the rain eased!
The jacket has a smattering of reflective silver dots for safety, and a handy, zipped, chest pocket which would take an A5 or folded A4 map, but it's not big enough for an OS map.
The jacket certainly proved shower proof, as it should be on its first outing, and I’m hoping that frequent washes using ‘Comfort Pure’ rather than any pricey Nikwax product will keep it in good condition.
A bargain at £25.
And the jacket fits neatly into the mesh pocket of the CCA Waterproof Bumbag (£20). With a capacity of only 3 litres, this is a small bag by my standards, so I had to prune down its contents when transferring them from a Lowe Alpine bag I use. Keys went into the small zipped pocket at the side – you could just about get a GPS into this, but I think Bob is optimistic with that suggestion. The front zipped pocket had space for my tools, tyre levers and repair kit, though the screwdriver and pliers from the old bag wouldn’t fit there. The waterproof interior of the bag had room for a spare inner tube, camera and phone. The Lite-Speed jacket would also fit in here if I was to use the bag for walking (and the inner tube could be replaced by food). The mesh pocket could then be used for a half litre can or bottle of water. (Any water I take cycling fits on the frame of the bike.)
The bag is clearly and securely waterproof. At the end of the ride I was happy to hose it down to remove the mud, before removing its valuable contents. It’s ideal for the short rides I do mainly for exercise (I hate gyms) and would be ok for longer rides in good weather, and for walks in showery summer weather, when I would carry lightweight waterproofs on my belt and use the bag to keep valuables dry. But in the latter circumstances I may still use a bigger bumbag, plus an old Ortlieb map case within that bag for the valuables.