In a rainy city such as Vancouver, especially in the fall weather after such a long sunny run, it is important to perfect your umbrella handling so you can easily navigate the drips and drops that otherwise interfere with perfect rainy days! Here are some tips to avoid the most common ‘umbrella bumbles’.

1. Close your umbrella under awnings

When you are walking under any awning longer than one storefront, simply collapse your umbrella and hold it at your side, point down to allow errant drops to fall straight down to the sidewalk.

2. Pass with care

Three moves to master in the ‘Dance of the Umbrellas’: the outside tilt, the straight raise and the mushroom drop. When walking on a busy sidewalk, shoulder check for outside passers and then gently tilt your umbrella to the outside when passing another pedestrian. If there are other pedestrians, use the straight raise instead -raise your umbrella straight up to allow the umbrella of the passing person to pass just under the rim of yours. If this doesn’t work (the other person might be way taller than you!), use the ‘mushroom drop’, dropping your umbrella down just over your head so they can pass their umbrella over yours.

3. Work with the wind, not against it

When your umbrella turns inside out, go with the flow.  Turn around and graciously let the wind blow your umbrella right side round.

4. Watch your drips, pops and ribs

Before entering a building, collapse your umbrella and gently shake it to the side of the building, away from the door or any other pedestrians. Use the umbrella stand if it’s provided, otherwise do the best you can by shaking off the excess water, fastening the cord and placing the umbrella in a corner near the door, preferably on a mat where shoes are kept. If in doubt, ask your host where he/she prefers to store umbrellas. When you leave, before popping up your umbrella, take a quick look around to be sure that no one is in the immediate vicinity. If someone’s there, step to the street side of the sidewalk and hold your umbrella down towards the street as you open it.  Make sure your umbrella is in good repair as broken ribs or ribs that aren’t secured to the fabric can be dangerous to you and to those that pass you on the street.

5. Make a good choice in the first place

Choose the right umbrella for you in order to avoid struggling with the size and weight of it as you walk down the sidewalk. Match the scale of the umbrella to your height. If you are taller you can choose a slightly larger and longer umbrella. If you are shorter then a smaller, more compact umbrella will do. Add a nametag with a contact number to your umbrella so it can be returned to you if lost. Have a little fun too, with colour and pattern to stand out in a sea of black this rainy season.

Enjoy the weather, keep dry and follow the easy tips above to avoid being an ‘umbrella bumbler’!