Thursday, June 13, 2013

Hubway + Umbrella: Great Life Hack, or Greatest Life Hack?

As I left a meeting today, a light rain had begun to fall. I wanted to go from Powderhouse Square to the Market Basket in Union Square and the bus there didn't come for fifteen minutes. The rain wasn't hard, so I hopped on a Hubway (which I've nerded out on before) for the two mile ride.

I had an umbrella (a fantastic Montbell ultralight—less than six ounces and it folds down to nothing) stashed in my bag on the front basket, and as I glided down towards Davis I took it out to see if it would keep me dry (or at least make me look like the world's lamest Mary Poppins). It sort of did, but got caught in the wind, so I lowered it down on to the handlebars and, miracle of miracles, it nested there perfectly. The drop handle bars and basket allow a small-to-medium sized umbrella to sit on the front of a Hubway bike and, as long as it's not too windy, keep your legs completely dry from falling rain.

Look, ma! Dry pants!
I had a helmet and rain coat, and with the umbrella and fenders my khaki-clad legs stayed dry. I find that the worst part of riding in the rain is the water shooting off the fender and soaking your legs from below as the rain dampens them from above. With this hack, I was able to cycle in a moderate ran and stay mostly dry. And my stuff stayed dry, too.

At no time did the umbrella try to blow away, and at no time did I feel like I had to tie it down to keep it dry. I biked along at a leisurely pace, and when I got to the rack near the grocery store, I snapped a picture and walked the rest of the way. Would this work in a hurricane? No. But it makes bicycling much more palatable when there's a light rain coming down. If ever I'm tempted to drive when it's raining, I now have one less excuse. Especially if Hubway comes to Dana Park (pretty please).


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