very much at my behest, we bought an espresso coffee maker for the office, a machine that would provide a little something by way of a mid-afternoon pick me up. it also has the ability to steam milk with a view to offering a cappuccino or two, but initial efforts to duplicate the froth more usually supped in debbie's came pretty much to nought, so froth production has been put on hold for the time being.
i used to own a gaggia espresso maker that sat in the corner or our kitchen, providing a daily tipple until the seal faded somewhat and lessened the pressure available to offer an appropriate tiny beverage. however, confident in my ability to produce the ideal espresso from any random machine, i proceeded to make espressos for all and sundry, sure that i would soon be able to add the epithet of'barista' to my business card.
though the machine produces espressos with a thick, light brown crema that really ought not to be the case considering how little we paid for it, my regular efforts at espresso making have fallen ever so slightly short of the mark. one of the girls in the office, however, who claims never to have tried an espresso in her life, has brought an uncanny knack for making an espresso shot that would garner rave reviews at any cafe you care to mention. this, as you can imagine, is more than just a little embarrassing, and i was eventually pressed to enquire just how she was so regularly managing such a feat of coffee making.
"i read the instructions" she replied.
ah, the instructions. that comprehensive little booklet contained within the packaging that i had nonchalantly placed to one side when extricating the coffee maker on arrival, and subsequently had no idea where i'd put it. though simple in their directness, it turned out that, had they been followed to the letter, as done by my colleague, i would presumably have ben enjoying a series of daily espressos that would have undoubtedly have made my knee-caps crinkle on a regular basis. yet, having followed the same instructions, i have yet to equal, let alone surpass her efforts.
and it is the lack of reading the appropriate literature that almost led to the cervo rosso garment under discussion being given a lower rating than it truly deserves. the ibrido is a not easily definable garment that could be a jacket if approached in the correct manner, but could just as easily be a jersey when advanced on from another direction. which it is, depends somewhat on the circumstances in force at the time. my misapprehensions were based on a cursory glance across the description on the cervo rosso website, coupled with the numerous tags hanging from the internal label.
the ibrido (which means 'hybrid' by the way) is constructed from acqua zero fabric, described as non-wetting. i'm not entirely sure what that means. the garment is available in either black or red with a dramatically large cervo rosso logo printed over the upper portion of the left sleeve and shoulder. not so visible to the wearer but rather glorious for the rest of your peloton. it's a graphic treatment of which i heartily approve. however, to return for the moment to my misdirection, i read the following from the website. 'Respecting the views of the purists and understanding the role of a jersey vs. a jacket, we gave ourselves the challenge of developing what we believe is the perfect 'in between' for unpredictable days.╩ Those days when heading out with a long sleeve jersey can potentially catch you unaware if caught out in light showers or short rain falls or the days when layering a long sleeve jersey with a jacket can leave you overheating and an unwanted feeling of bulkiness.
in retrospect and with an honours degree in hindsight, the idea of heading out in sub zero windchill wearing only a long-sleeve baselayer, short sleeve cervo rosso corsa jersey and the ibrido over the top was something of an error of judgment. though the ibrido pays lip service to windproofing, coupled with its thinly fleeced lining, in point of fact it's not entirely windproof, at least not in the sense that something like cervo rosso's intermedio jacket. that is exactly the garment which should have been paired with the ibrido considering the sub-zero gale force windchill to which i had subjected myself.
however, perhaps it is better to learn by one's mistakes. i had confused the ibrido's constitution with that of the current trend for all-purpose jackets that promise immunity from everything between bike-shed draughts to polar bear attacks. in mitigation, however, the fact that while i was comfortably supping a real cappuccino, the weather turned entirely, and though benefitting from a tail wind home, it was accompanied by cold, torrential rain. back to those instructions again.
cervo rosso contend that, despite the absence of taped seams, the fabric offers 'excellent water repellency', adding that 'The IBRIDO is water proof.╩What this means in riding conditions, is that drizzle and light rain will literally roll off.' in this contention, they are not entirely wrong, for the initial attack of precipitation did indeed offer up little baubles of water on each sleeve, and i cannot say i felt internally wet at any point of the proceedings. however, by the time i had changed direction at bridgend, that gale force, rain laden wind was hitting head on, and i think it likely that only a serious piece of rainwear would have kept the intrepid, if a trifle foolish, cyclist bone dry.
intriguingly, on arriving home, the only internal regions that exhibited wetness were the sleeves of my baselayer. the torso of my cervo rosso corsa s3 jersey was commendably dry. perhaps that's what's meant by non-wetting. and equally as commendable was the short period of time it took for the outer surface of the ibrido to dry. cervo rosso profess that a cup of water placed in the middle of the jersey will not go through, even after two hours. while i have not had cause to replicate the experiment, the dryness of the fleece lining on arrival at the warmth and safety of the croft may just be the evidence that proves their point.
but apart from the technicalities, how good is the ibrido really? well, the full-length front zip features a zip garage both top and bottom, while the collar is laudably high at the rear, dipping slightly in the interests of comfort at the front. i am a great fan of long-sleeve cycling apparel (something i may have mentioned before), but with arms of greater than average length, it's a feature of which i am more than just acutely aware. those on the ibrido are truly excellent, and featuring a zipped closure at the cuffs to aid ventilation. the rear of the jacket/jersey contains the usual three substantially sized and easily accessible pockets, with the centre of the three featuring a zipped fourth on the outside. somewhat of a mandatory requirement nowadays.
as is my usual predilection, i opted for size medium on which the fit was exemplary. the fleece-lined fabric is non-too heavy and exhibits an excellent degree of stretch without losing its shape, and though of superficial concern, it does look remarkably stylish.
in an effort to redeem my reputation and perhaps that of the ibrido erroneously tested in conditions unbecoming to its constitution, i took it out again, but this time with the added appendage of a waterproof jacket as my outer shell. here's where it scored eleven out of ten, providing all the benefits of a fleece-lined long-sleeve jersey that not only breathes well, but offers a second barrier to any moisture ingress. this particular outing was one that tested the mettle of both rider and apparel to a degree that probably neither were particularly comfortable with. sub-zero gale-force windchill and somewhat risky crosswinds (there's a very limited market for deep-section carbon wheels over here), i was happy to be wearing not only the rainjacket, but the ibrido underneath.
i can see the dilemma (self?) inflicted upon cervo rosso by the ibrido; it's neither a jacket nor a jersey, though probably more of the latter than the former. when the weather picks up a bit (probably around mid-august), a garment such as this would relieve the necessity of carrying a rainjacket stuffed in one of those three capacious rear pockets, secure in the knowledge that, should the weather turn nasty, one might laugh in the face of sudden rainfall. at this particular time of year, i wouldn't necessarily recommend it as your sole outer garment, rain or shine. even over a winter l/s baselayer and short sleeve jersey, i was a bit cooler than i'd hoped to be. but all in all, it was pretty damn fine; with the inclement weather almost guaranteed on scotland's west coast, i may be in danger of wearing it out prematurely over the ensuing months.
don't say suprese, say ibrido.
monday 28th january 2013..........................................................................................................................................................................................................