There are no two ways about it – riding in persistent rain sucks. I’m not talking about getting caught out by a light shower, I’m talking about incessant, heavy rain, the type that finds its way under your kit, then sets about chilling you to your core. Exactly the type of rain that I’ve been riding in these past two days…the kind that takes any pleasure away from riding and turns what is usually a fun-packed commute into a miserable feat of endurance; a chore. We’ve been pretty lucky with the weather this year when I think about it – even the week spent hustling the RSV-R around the Isle of Man for the TT wasn’t too bad – and it’s only this week that I’ve been finally been forced to ditch my trusty vented leathers for textiles. I’ve got to admit I’m a dyed-in-the wool sports bike rider and will only ditch the leathers for textiles when the rain is biblical or when the snow and ice appear. The fairings on modern sports bikes do a good job of keeping the worst of the elements away from you, and I figure that as long as I can keep my top half dry then I’m laughing. And normally I am, thanks primarily to my trusty Alpinestars Eclipse Tech jacket that slips over my leathers and keeps the wind and rain at bay without obscuring my movement and making me feel like Bibendum’s chunkier brother. But this week has seen the first telltale signs of winter’s icy grip slowly taking hold and I’ve begrudgingly made my annual transition to textiles. And I can’t say I’m pleased. I’ve slid some 110m down the road in leathers when the GS I was riding hit an oncoming deer, and I know they work…my second skin did its job and I managed to walk away (actually I was stretchered, but that’s another story) relatively unscathed. I can’t imagine the textiles would have performed so well – actually I know they wouldn’t. Thanks to my five-year stint at RiDE I know they’ll have worn away to nothing in next to no time. They’re not that great at keeping the water out either. The collar will always let water in, or it will collect and pool around the crotch area, eventually penetrating the fabric and leaving you soaked. And even when they do work, their sheer volume means you’re about as nimble on the bike as the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. So, even though I fully admit that the best textile kit is flawed, would I swap the bike in favour of the car? Never. As unenjoyable as these past two days have been, I’ve still cut a swathe through traffic while my four-wheeled brethren sat stuck, going nowhere for mind-numbing minute after mind-numbing minute. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. So, I may be wet on the outside, but inside I’m dancing. Bikes still rock, even in the wet.