As a woman, wife and mother in my forties, I find it amusing to be “hit on” by men. It happens now in the most amusing circumstances and often when I am wearing red. Sometimes while on the bicycle too!
Recently, I’ve started wearing a rain coat made by a Dutch company called HappyRainyDays, which Cyclestyle sells here in Australia. I spotted it a few months ago and admired the style and the colour of the “Petra” raincoat. Joyce, the founder of Cyclestyle, founded the company because she couldn’t find stylish gear to wear on the bicycle in Australia. I was interested in the raincoat because my Lululemon rain coat, while lovely, is starting to show its age after nearly four years of use. Consequently, when the jacket arrived from Melbourne, I was so excited to try it on! I wear an Australian 8/10 and the small fit perfectly. I was also inspired to wear red lipstick more often.
I was wearing “Petra” this rainy morning while on the Nihola. Originally, I had planned to walk with my son to school. But because my daughter was ill and staying home, we were delayed. Then it started pouring with rain. And then, I realised that I needed to do a bit of grocery shopping en route home and didn’t want to leave my daughter alone for too long.
After dropping my son at school. I locked the Nihola in front of the shop and another bicyclist on carbon fibre road bike pulled up behind me. He was wearing a floaty plastic transparent cape as protection from the rain and all-black casual clothes. He was in his late forties. We made eye contact because he was admiring the Nihola cargo bike. I had installed the rain cover to shield my son and the soon-to-be-purchased groceries from the rain. The cover is an eye-catching pink camouflage pattern, an oxymoron.
We commented on bicycling in the rain and how it was no big deal. We high-fived. He complimented me on my raincoat. I said that it was new and I was testing it. He very intrusively touched the bottom front hem of the coat. I proceeded to pick up a trolley and we went our separate ways. In the refrigerated section amidst the organic eggs and milk, he approached me to say, “You have great legs. Wow!” I told him it was because of all the cycling. I had been trying to take some selfies with the timer but was unsuccessful. Consequently, I recruited him to be my photographer.
He was obliging of course and then repeated himself, “Such amazing legs.” “Thanks. It’s all the cycling.” I also repeated with a professional air as I strode off. I finished shopping and then returned home to my daughter.
The raincoat did a fantastic job of keeping me dry in the rain. The material is breathable and entirely water repellent with taped seams and a comfortable cotton lining. I’ve worn it successfully as a wind-breaker since its arrival a few weeks ago. (I think that its presence acted as a rain deterrent for a few weeks.)
Later in the day, I took the e-bike to the office and felt the breeze in the arm seams. Because it was raining, I wore it with collar up and fully buttoned. A wool scarf helped to keep my neck warm because it was about 18C today. When it drops below 15C, I need to wear a jacket on top of my dress to stay warm in “Petra”.
The hood is helpful for places where there isn’t a mandatory helmet law for bicyclists. I didn’t use it because I wore my Yakkay helmet with rain cover to keep my head dry. I usually twist my hair into a messy bun and tuck it underneath. I might detach the hood from the jacket because I’m on my bicycle most of the time and even in the rain. Walking is too slow nowadays.
The coat’s styling is quite attractive. I have worn it open with the belt tied in the back to give it a more tailored shape.
The pockets are designed to keep water out. Each of the sleeves has an adjustable belt to prevent rain from entering in heavy rain. The sleeves are also quite long which is helpful on bicycle. A slightly bent over or upright position often results in sleeve-creep which can by quite chilly in winter. I wore my Rapha winter cycling gloves and my arms and hands stayed warm and dry as a result. Beautiful!
Also, the length is quite good. It covers the body and skims the top of my knees thus keeping my dresses dry. My tights dry quickly at the office. Would I wear it in a downpour? No. Do you ride in a downpour? I have and it’s no fun. The water tends to collect in your boots. Better to wait it out.
My only minor complaint is the belt. It’s very slim and because of movement, it tends to collapse on itself. If it were a little wider, it would help to give the coat a more consistent shape. I love the belt on my Lululemon rain coat. It’s very wide, like an obi (a Japanese kimono belt) and gives the coat a very contemporary profile. It also has a reflective pattern and has a zippered pocket to store the jacket. I realise the styling of the “Petra” is more traditional.
Now in my mid-forties, I find it amusing to be complimented on my legs. They are muscled now and because it’s winter here in Sydney, I wear boots which some refer to as FMBs. When I met Mike Tomalaris of SBS Television, he was adamant that there was nothing wrong with complimenting a woman on her legs. Are they a non-sexual part of the body so that women should not take offence? Or is it the tone and intent that poses a problem? I can recall being embarrassed by such compliments in my younger pre-children days, especially by older men who seem to have nothing to lose. What do you think?