Monday, November 28, 2011

Using the Uberhood Bicycle Umbrella in the Rain - A Review

Like some sort of dust bowl farmer (or any Texan in 2011) I have been praying for the clouds to open up for some time now. Unlike them, I wanted it to rain just so I could do some product testing on the Uberhood bicycle umbrella. We actually had some rain the other evening, so I put on a sweatshirt to fight the chill, handed the phone to my wife/photographer (just like Graham Hancock!) and took my 'hood for a wet spin.

In the driveway leading to my estate

This is obviously not the first time I have ridden in the rain, but it is the first time I have ridden in the rain and kept my face dry. In that respect, the Uberhood does a great job.

Unfortunately it protects much less of the rest of the body from the rain than most of the other methods I have tried on the bicycle. I currently use and carry a bicycle rain cape from Campmor, and it works very well, covering my hands and keeping the rain off of my torso. Just like the Uberhood, the rain cape affords little protection for my legs and feet, so I will eliminate that comparison of the two.

Coverage wise, the cape is obviously better, but comfort wise, the Uberhood certainly wins out when compared to a rain cape. When using the cape, you have to periodically dump the water that accumulates between your arms, or make a conscious attempt to keep the cape taught enough to prevent accumulation. With the 'hood, there is no puddle to worry about. However, the 'hood does allow much more rain to hit your upper body and hands, especially at speed.

Pictured: Speed. 

Certainly, however, the best part of the Uberhood is the coverage it affords your face. My head was dry the entire ride, and didn't get a drop of rain on my glasses, which was really great. when wearing a rain cape, your face is in the wind and rain, which is very tiring.

Dry face, long beard. 

I would expect to use the Uberhood by itself in a light sprinkle, or for a short trip to the store - but if I was riding a longer distance in the rain, I would add a rain cape to the mix, and arrive with a dry face AND upper body. Add some gaiters and rain shoes in and I think you could expect to arrive fairly dry and comfortable, no matter what the weather.

In Action - or Inaction? 

The only problem with that plan is the size of the 'hood when folded. It wouldn't be a problem if the day started with rain, but on a day when there was sudden rain on your ride home, the odds of having the Uberhood on your bike already are pretty slim; a rain cape will slip in a bag easily, but even folded the 'hood is 23" long - and something that size creates a stowage problem on a bicycle. Yes, it has a bracket on the handlebar, but I can imagine that very few people feel particularly comfortable with a metal pole bolted to their handlebars right at their eye level. I like the Uberhood, and it will certainly eliminate excuses on rain days. I hate wet face more than anything, and it is no longer a problem, thanks to the Uberhood!

The Uberhood is available here for $79.99.

4 comments:

  1. There was a gentle breeze - I would classify this rain as not sprinkling, and not a storm. When it rains harder, I will certainly take the 'hood out for further testing. However, I will say that this rain I rode in is classified as "the strongest rain I would actually make the decision to ride in".

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  2. I use my bike umbrella in Phoenix, not for rain but for sun. Think 112 degress in the shade versus 140 in the sun. Something like that. Looks peculiar but it works.

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  3. nice, did you go down any hills, how was the force against the umbrella?

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