i think gravity might be at least partially responsible, though i'm willing to consider that the principle of saturation may be every bit as much to blame. it strikes me as a gap in the market, for in all the years i've been reviewing clothing from the world's major cycle clothing manufacturers, i've only come across one pair of waterproof bibtights that can be zipped over the top of my waterproof overshoes. this is a reasonably big deal, for it will not be news to any of you that either tucking tights or leg warmers inside your socks, or over the top will only end in tears.
and wet feet.
you see, as everything becomes a lot wetter in the rain, once water has permeated your preferred legwear, gravity drags it down into your footwear or, as in the most recent outing, inside a pair of previously impermeable waterproof socks. lest you think those socks to be errant in their constitution, let me point out that the water inside was unable to get out until they were subsequently removed.
it was certainly something to discuss at length while huddling round the electric fire in debbie's, having spent the better part of an hour and a half in that horribly drizzly rain that soaks everything in sight. it was also worth having a few words about the permeability of the café du cycliste charlotte jacket that had been my companion on more then one wet bike ride. in fact, its first outing was something of a baptism by fire (so to speak), consisting as it did of the early part of storm abigail; gale force winds and torrential rain and sleet.
i remain to be fully convinced by the latest implementation of waterproofing technology, mostly in the shape of highly flexible softshell jackets. the charlotte fits that description, and rather attractively too if you don't mind my saying, featuring as it does a large, light-grey check pattern. the softshell fabric is stretchy in every direction, offering a close fit with no flappage, a stormflap over the full-length front zip, high collar and three ample rear pockets with a zipped fourth for coffee money and the like.
as i understand it, the powers that be have realised that keeping us breathably bone-dry inside while providing waterproofing that a deep-sea diver would be proud of, combines two mutually exclusive factors. so rather than listen to status quo records all day, they have adopted a compromise that hopes to ameliorate external dampness by keeping us comfortable when wet. i do sort of understand the principle, but i'm just not sure my traditionalist attitude matches the technology.
despite sporting a durable water repellency coating and fully taped seams, each and every expedition into the rain resulted in my getting appreciably wet both inside and out. i will grant you that i was really only aware of just how wet i was when preparing for remedial froth supping in debbie's, but i confess i had hoped to be just a tad drier inside. that said, the charlotte jacket is no different in this respect than its competitors, so it is more than possible that it's me that's out of step, wondering if this is a clever case of the emperor's new cycling jacket. there is no doubt, however, that the jacket, even when wet, maintained a level of comfort that a strictly waterproof/breathable jacket might not manage so well.
the jeanne winter bibshorts are a whole 'nuther kettle of precipitation. though their public relations would propose that they may be at least partially impermeable to a smattering of rainwater, you and i both know this is an achievably unrealistic goal. thus, my expectations of keeping impressively dry below the waist are condierably lower than applicable to their jacket brethren. they will deflect mild quantities of road spray and a brief shower left them unsullied. persistent or torrential rain, however will find them soaked through pretty darned quickly, at which point they prove to be you very best friend.
lined as they are with fleecy stuff, no matter the external temperature or the amount of rainwater absorbed, their excellent ride quality remains every bit as immaculate as when first removed from café du cycliste's quirky packaging. the cytech pad is comfort personified, wet or dry. the brilliance of their wide elastic bib straps has to be seen to be believed. being somewhat of a wimp, i matched the shorts with a pair of lou lou leg warmers, though sadly not the water repellent version. nonetheless, even when referencing my opening problem with gravity induced sock saturation, the shorts and leg warmers are something of a match made in cotê d'azur heaven.
the softshell technology may better suit the racers in the family, fellows who care more for high-speed comfort devoid of flappage than for total rain protection. fortunately, for those moments when arriving at the coffee shop a tad less damp than was the case yesterday, there's always café du cycliste's regine waterproof jacket, albeit at a few pounds more. what cannot be faulted is café du cycliste's impressive build and design quality.
the charlotte jacket is available in the grey check as reviewed or a rather delectable red. sizes are xs to xxl at a price of £163. the jeanne rain shorts are available in black/blue or black/green in sizes xs to xxl at a fairly incredible cost of £116 while the loulou leg warmers can be had in either small, medium or large for the lowly price of £33.
monday 16 november 2015..........................................................................................................................................................................................................