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About 45 degrees and rainy

November 25, 2011
Wet GTS headset

The GTS lives outdoors (Orin O'Neill photo)

Last year at this time, there was snow on the ground. It’s merely rainy this year. I’m not going to complain… I don’t mind riding in the rain.

Wind, however, is another matter. There’ve been lots of high wind warnings, with gusts at times reaching 60 mph. I’m not going to ride under those condions; the Fourth Estate gets blown around, never mind what would happen if I chose to ride.

M65 parka

M65 'fishtail' parka

The M65 fishtail parka I bought several years ago has proven a wise investment. I paid $34 for mine, including the button-in liner. The U.S. Department of Defense provides soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines with really, really good foul-weather gear. An M65 will keep you warm and dry under all but the most extreme conditions (in which case you probably shouldn’t be riding, anyway).

However, I’m absolutely floored by the prices I see being asked for them by some e-tailers. One in the U.K. wanted £399!!! Gawd, don’t pay that much! Find an Army-Navy surplus store, somewhere. It will be worth the trip, trust me.

Of course, for some Mod purists only the M51 will do (the number, BTW, refers to the year the parka was standardized by the DoD). That was the one Jimmy and Sting and all their other friends who trashed Brighton wore. As Wikipedia notes, “Due to their practicality, cheapness and availability from army surplus shops, the parka was seen as the ideal garment for fending off the elements when on the Mod’s vehicle of choice, the scooter.” Western Washington and Great Britain have very similar climates. Unlike the M65, the M51’s hood is not removable. But the M65’s hood is designed to fit over an M1 helmet, so unless you’re wearing one it will probably blow off.

Fred Meyer sock sale

If you live near a Fred Meyer store, their annual sock sale is going on now. I knew nothing of this sale until I landed in Portland in 2009, where it seems to be a mandatory annual story on TV news there. Apparently, founder Fred G. Meyer was moved to have a special sale on socks during the Great Depression, and they’ve been doing it ever since, even after Kroger swallowed Freddy’s whole several years ago. I grabbed a 12-pack of Nike socks for $13.50 (regularly $18). One can never have too many socks. Favicon

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2 Comments
  1. November 25, 2011 10:56 pm

    I always get the questions about this time of year, since I have no car, and yet I live where winter’s teeth sometimes bite (though thankfully, usually not too deeply, and in any case, never too long).

    I’m not finding the C9 by Champion thermal underwear at target.com this year, so they may have discontinued it, but it is pretty remarkable for rides above freezing that aren’t overly long (and even those that ARE long, if it’s above 40F). They’re also perfectly comfortable all day indoors, with is why I prefer them to the waffle-weave cotton garments.

    Dry is tougher, but Frogg Toggs have always done me right, and for not a lot of dough. They also make a good outer layer in the cold, as they stop wind rather nicely.

  2. Jack Riepe permalink
    November 27, 2011 1:39 pm

    Dear Orin:

    I drove in snow for the first time this year, cutting through the Wilmington Notch (in the Adirondacks) two weeks ago. I missed one hell of a storm the week before that by being in South Jersey. But since then, it has been 50s and 60s here, which I will not argue with.

    This has been one of the mildest autumns on record, which generally means February and March will be ghastly. But I’ll take any weather that doesn’t have to be shoveled.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack/reep
    Twisted Roads

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