Of course, you could carry along a jacket on those iffy days but most jackets are too bulky, heavy and not worth the hassle.
Pearl Izumi's Nada pullover jacket is the perfect solution. Not only does this jacket weigh close to nothing -- nada means nothing in Spanish -- it wads up into a size small enough to wrap your average hand around it. More importantly, it fits into a standard jersey pocket with plenty of room leftover for a couple energy bars and cell phone -- in the same pocket!
When I first held the Nada, I was certainly impressed. It truly felt like I was holding nada. Weight weenies will want to know this jacket tips the scales at just three ounces.
Okay, enough talk of weight and compactness. I wanted to know if this baby could stand up to some cold wind and rain. Fortunately for my testing needs -- and unfortunately for all my fellow cyclists in San Diego -- Southern California is getting more rain this year than Seattle.
I've carried my Nada on just about every ride this year and have found reason to wear it almost every weekend. While dubbed a water and wind resistant jacket, I can attest that I was caught in an off-and-on rain storm two hours from home and the Nada kept me pretty dry and warm while cycling through continuous spray and rain.
I've also really enjoyed having the Nada when starting out early on cold mornings, knowing that I could shed the jacket as the temperature rises an hour or two into a ride and easily stow it in the back of my jersey. Quite honestly, this is its greatest application. The fact you can always have an insurance jacket with you at virtually no extra weight or bulk handicap.
My only complaint -- and I have this with most jackets -- is that the sleeves and shoulders tend to flap around in the wind too much. Since the material is like ultra-thin rip-stop nylon (they call it Optik), it would probably be hard to design something to tightly fit around most body-types.
Most lean-bodied cyclists try to minimize wind resistance by wearing tight jerseys, arm warmers and vests. If somebody can somehow design some elastic into a pullover like the Nada, they'd have an extremely versatile, popular and technical jacket.
That said, I'm a total fan of the Nada. It's truly the ideal, ultra-lightweight companion you'll want on any ride where temperatures start cold or can drop quickly because of changing conditions, altitude, rain or winds.
There's also a small zippered pocket in the Nada's side but I've never found occasion or reason to use it. When I wad the thing up, I don't want keys or other objects to distort the compact nature of my wadded jacket. I'm sure some will find comfort in knowing they can always stash a little emergency money or what-nots into their Nada.
And while the Nada's ridiculously light on your back, it takes a little heavier toll on your wallet at a suggested retail of $74.99. Though this might seem cheap to many that are used to shelling out beaucoup bucks for anything touting itself as technical cycling gear, I still havent come to grips that you can spend way more on jerseys and shorts nowadays.
If you want more info on the Nada, click over to Pearl Izumi's Web site at www.pearlizumi.com or give 'em a call at (800) 328-8488.