Rain, rain, go away

It’s been an unusually rainy and humid year in Provincetown.

I’m not a fan of humidity and heat, so it was tough this summer to spend a lot of time outside. And my bikes didn’t like it either.

The Argo Cargo box delaminated and the inside got moldy due to the humid summer in Provincetown.

The Argo Cargo box delaminated and the inside got moldy due to the humid summer in Provincetown.

Delaminating wood

My new Argo Cargo bike’s wooden box started rotting pretty dramatically. It’s made of laminated plywood, and the humidity soaked into the edges and the layers of wood started to fall apart. I kept the box covered with its box cover, but trapping humidity inside the box just resulted in mold - yuck.

I had initially planned to paint the box with chalkboard paint so I could use it as a bit of a billboard, but it was too humid to paint outside and I don’t have an indoor space with enough ventilation to do it out of the humidity.

I posted photos on the online Argo Cargo Owners group on Facebook and got lots of suggestions on how to paint the box. The folks at Argo saw the delaminating box, were surprised to see how it failed, and sent me a replacement box - which was super kind of them. So I left the disintegrating box on the bike to see how bad it would get. Eventually the paper-thin surface layer started to peel off, some of the vertical edges fell out, and the dramatic water infiltration separated the wood like pages of a book.

Keeping dry

Meanwhile, I fantasized about fancy rain gear like the waterproof gloves, jackets, and rain pants from Showers Pass and the lovely rain capes from Cleverhood (which are made not far from here in Fall River, MA). But those products are fall or spring gear, not summer 80-degrees-and-90-percent-humidity gear. They’re also way out of my budget. So I just muddled through the summer.

When fall finally arrived in October and it kept on raining, I found a nice Chrome waterproof rain jacket on sale at REI, so it was only $50 with an REI coupon I had. I normally put shower caps on my bike saddles to keep them from getting soaked, and I realized those same shower caps kind of worked as booties, too, and I could wear them inside my shoes. (They’re not very sturdy but work fine in a pinch.)

It doesn’t really take any special clothes to ride in the rain. Regular rain gear works fine as long as it’s actually waterproof. I do like the new Chrome jacket (which is designed for riding a bike) and my Swrve cordura-denim jeans are my go-to pants in the fall since they stay pretty dry. My next clothing investment will probably be a pair of properly waterproof gloves or just a can of water repellent fabric spray.