the chap in bridgend who owns the islay woollen mill comes from yorkshire, probably a fine location from which to hail if you're into weaving and wools and stuff. so perhaps little suprise to find the new kids on the block arriving on the sportwool cycle clothing scene from richmond in north yorkshire with a small but comfortably formed range of jerseys. the colomba cycle company has been in existence since 2am one saturday morning in 2007 when they figured it would be a fine notion to be clothed in their very own jerseys. the intervening period was spent studying fabrics and sizing before trading started early in 2009.
according to the introductory text on the colomba.cc website, their inspiration comes from golden era of cycling when cycling jerseys were wool and designs were simple but stylish. this has manifested itself in a peloton of four initial offerings: the peace race jersey, based on the design of the leader's jersey from the very same race; an italian tricolor jersey which does exactly as it says on the tin, and two variations on their club jersey - a dark blue version with white hoops on the short sleeves and the colomba logo on the back, or an all black, short sleeve alternative.
all four are produced from sportwool, a 52 percent merino/48 percent polyester mix, which is a pleasant change from endless dye sublimation printed polyester. chris at colomba was kind enough to send through a long sleeve version of the italian tricolor jersey (currently the only one with a long sleeve option) partly because of my undying love of long-sleeve jerseys, and partly because it's still ruddy freezing up here.
this latter fact, while not deterring me from road testing the jersey, played havoc with the photos, not least because it was too cold and too windy to be seen in the saddle without further exterior warmth. this rather spoiled the look of a fine jersey. in keeping with features we have come to expect from our cyclewear these days, the colomba jersey features scalloped outer pockets at the rear, a mandatory fourth zipped pocket, and the small turnover at the top of the collar to prevent the zip removing sections of your neck. it almost goes without saying that the three colours are separate pieces of sportwool sewn together to resemble the italian flag, and the sewing appears to be of a substantial nature.
the long sleeves, while being my jersey delight, were also this item's minor downfall; too short. not by much i'll admit, but on the bike, there was a couple of centimetres gap between cuffs and gloves. i may be longer armed than the average domestique, but i still feel these could do with the extra length. i tested the medium size jersey which was generally a good fit: the tail, which would also benefit from just a smidgeon more length, is held in place by grippy tape stuff, something that fulfilled its function rather well. the pockets have loads of space for loads of stuff, and the scalloping on the outer pockets made it easy to remove and replace bits and bobs.
so all in all, an impressive debut for a cycle clothing company with no tradition of their own, but an appreciation of the tradition that cycling has to offer. plans are afoot to progress into other items of bikewear, particularly colomba shorts, since the alternative is their customers always wearing someone else's name on their legs.
and it's not all just sportives and mont ventoux: at the start of the year, following the demise of the local cycling club, they set up the colomba cycle club to get kids interested in becoming a part of our future heritage (i know, i know, but you know what i mean) - not all just a one way velodrome.
the colomba tricolor jersey is available with long sleeves in small through to extra large at a cost of £64. the short sleeve version is £5 less at £59.
posted on thursday april 2 2009..........................................................................................................................................................................................................