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Future tech: Where is my Back to the Future self-drying jacket?

Isn't it time someone invented a self-drying jacket for cycling?

Today is Back to the Future day, in case you hadn’t noticed, when we finally reach the same point in time - 21 October 2015 - that the iconic 1989 movie was set in.

The future predicted in the film was full of amazing gadgets and technology, but it got many things wrong: we’re not travelling around on hoverboards, using virtual reality to communicate with work colleagues or wearing self-tying trainers.

One of the gadgets in the tech-laden future that we don't have is the self-drying jacket. At the touch of a button, Marty McFly's jacket dries itself and Marty down. After my very wet ride this morning (out testing some new wet weather cycling clobber) I could have definitely done with a self-drying jacket. Instead, I left a puddle on the hallway floor as I got changed out of some very wet clothing.

Cycle clothing has come a long way since Back to the Future II aired in 1989, with new fabrics and materials helping cyclists to combat the cold, wind and rain with more protection and comfort. There’s still a long way to go, though. The holy grail of a highly breathable and completely waterproof jacket hasn’t yet been developed, and probably needs a significant breakthrough in fabric technology for that to happen.

But still no self-drying jacket. There's been a lot of talk about wearable tech the past couple of years, but no mention of adaptive clothing, whether self-drying or dynamically adjusting to temperature or weather conditions. 

"The self-drying jacket doesn't really exist at this moment," says Pailes-Friedman, who has worked on wearable technology for NASA and is a fellow at the Brooklyn Fashion and Design Accelerator in an interview with MarketPlace. "I think that there are really exciting technologies that are happening—technologies where water will just be repelled by the fabric and never really absorbed, so the jacket will never actually get wet." 

Isn’t it about time someone invented a self-drying jacket for cyclists? Surely the technology exists to make it happen? It can’t be that hard, can it? It would be ideal for commuting cyclists, no need to drag a change of clothes to the office. Maybe we'll have to wait another 30 years?

David worked on the tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes

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