Water on the brain (rain helmet covers)
MichaelW and Mike: Thanks for the posts. It is good to know about the Gore rain cover. Wonder if you (Mike) have a link that would help track it down in UK? As far as two-wheel commuting in Saudi Arabia is concerned, any travel on a regular KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) roadway by bicycle is about as ssssssafe as letting a Krait bite you on the nose! Although the Saudis as a national entity are collectively a wonderful, hospitable, and friendly group, they have about as much awareness of driving safety as the fellow who presented his schnoze to a Krait (see above reference). Each commute undertaken on a regular Saudi urban road is terribly hazardous and simply not worth undertaking with anything less than full attention, as road bicyclists in "The Kingdom" have a life expectancy of about 2 hours. The only safe place to bike to-and-from work is on protected compounds (especially the monsterously large, sprawling types, such as the medical and hospital compounds in Riyadh). However, even in that semi-protected domain many of the simpler Saudi drivers make a game out of trying to hit runners and bikers. The first time someone almost took me out on a bike, I thought it was a fluke; the 4000th time this sort of near-miss event took place, it finally dawned on me that this was a game--with the object being "try to hit the stupid foreigner on a bicycle (or on foot)". It is a matter of particular pride amongst Bedouin bus drivers to cut bicyclists off, turn in front of them, and generally attempt homicidal maneuvers in the vicinity of any human-powered two-wheel vehicle. When I finally understood the ground rules implicit, I had frequent opportunity to exercise a considerable vocabulary of Arabic insults, hand gestures, and generally imprecative gesticulations in return for all the deliberately near-catastrophic encounters (whilst fully staying on the alert for stupid tricks by ALL 4-wheel vehicles). The more common (that is simple, uneducated) Saudis (mostly of Bedouin extraction, it would seem) simply have no concept of responsibility for the health and safety of foreigners (after all, the operative principle seems to be: "If the foreigners weren't here, there would have been no accident"--impeccable 25% to 75% IQ Gaussian curve solipsistic logic). Still, once you understand the rules of the game, it becomes a very invigorating and quite exhilarating activity (biking to work). Bicycling Rule #1 in KSA is "Bicycling is a very hazardous undertaking"; Rule #2 is "In the event of an accident, the foreigner is ALWAYS at fault (regardless of whose fault it really is)". Once that is well and fully understood, commuting by bicycle on a Saudi roadway is about as much sport as mountain biking down the North Face of Half Dome on a Winter day in Yosemite (National Park). Clearly, I am having some fun with this subject here, but the very real bottom line is that although KSA roadway commuting is great exercise, it is terribly risky. In other words, if you love adrenalin rushes, this is definitely something you ought to try over there; it is not an activity for the faint of heart or spirit. PS: On the other side of the equation, the outback mountain biking in the Hijaz area (Great Western Escarpment, down near Taif and Khamis Mushayat way) is absolutely fantastic! Malesh Sidiyki!