i like my food; i'm not obsessed by it, and i'm hardly passionate about it, but nice stuff is nice stuff, and if i want to keep riding my bike (and doing other things), ingesting a decent amount is a pre-requisite. what i don't understand is why chefs have become celebrities to the extent that they have their own television programmes, and more to the point, why there are entire tv channels devoted to cooking food. most of us, incorrectly, according to nutritionists, eat pretty much the same things day after day, week after week, probably because we're that busy filling our spare hours with riding the bike, that there's no time to cook properly. so we buy frozen supermarket meals and processed food.
mrs washingmachinepost delights in watching as many of the food programmes as time will allow, but i can assure you that most of the extravagances prepared in those trendy kitchens never see the light of day on my dinner table.
surely, however, with so many hours of tv, and so many pages devoted to 101 things to do with an egg, or forty more ways to cook tagliatelle, there has to be an overlap? just like the bbc, there's bound to be at least a few repeats. does every michelin star chef spend time desperately trying to think of something that hasn't been thought of before? ragout of spinach with sour cream and creme caramel perhaps? sadly, television hasn't cottoned on to the world of cycle clothing, and those whose job it is to provide our unquenchable desire for more and varied clothing in colours that are not black or fluorescent yellow with scotchlite.
large corporates such as du pont have research and development departments beavering feverishly to mix ever more disparate oil based derivatives in the hope of making polyester and lycra into fabrics that will be remembered with affection, but stored in a darkened corner. meanwhile big barns in new zealand work from the opposite end of the candle, squirreling strands of merino into fabrics hitherto unheard of. and to them all, we must be eternally thankful; cycle clothing has come a long way since alpaca jackets and ron hill track bottoms.
if evidence of this were required, you need only grab a hincapie sportswear tour lt jacket off the peg, or at least you almost could if it came with a loop with which to hang it on. it's uncanny how something that weighs less than a few sheets of toilet paper can be offered to the great unwashed in an effort to protect their skinny little bodies from the cold wind that constantly blows around this island. it was howling today as i headed off to port charlotte for the first port mor wheelers session of 2010. the contradiction of wheelers on a saturday is the art of dressing comfortably for the 20km ride, but warm enough to stand around on the coast of loch indaal on a cold, windy march saturday morning. i will not conceal my surprise at just how well such an incredibly thin and oh so soft jacket repelled the wind. while the blurb that goes with these things doesn't mention any sort of waterproofing, the brief shower that threw at me on the way out the village just sat in droplets on the sleeves.
there's a full length zip fastening all the way up to a high collar, bolstered by an inner flap to aid windproofing behind the closure. it's really not enough nowadays to be protective alone; a refined degree of style is almost mandatory. but do you really think that a figure with the poise and, dare i say it, grace of big george would let a ruffled heap leave hincapie headquarters? you're darned toot'n he wouldn't. the tour lt jacket, despite the on the bike cut, would not look out of place in the coffee bar. in fact, it didn't: a fortunate by-product of coaching youngsters on a saturday morn is that debbie's cafe is on the way home, perfectly poised for a cheese and pickle sandwich, a soya cappuccino and a rather large slice of toffee sponge cake (a guy has to keep his strength up).
lounging about on the sofa in the corner with a foam top lip, the stretchy fabric has no restrictions, and though i opted for the bright red (it is also available in blue, black and yellow), i doubt that i stood out in polite company any more than usual. the underside of the sleeves and the lower back is coloured in a soft, dark grey, culminating in two rear pockets positioned left and right; an unusual solution. the pockets are of a mesh fabric, reflectively stamped with the hincapie logo. if i was going to be picky (and i am), it would have been nice to see a zipped pocket somewhere abouts; in the days of credit cards, debbie cards, digital cameras and mobile phones, i feel a zipped repository ought to be mandatory.
i figure it's possible to scrunch the lt jacket up small enough to shove in a back pocket, if the temperature rises more than expected, but in true senior moment style, i forgot to try. we're just entering the seasons when this jacket comes into its own; today was cold when relatively inactive, but we're all aware of just how warm it is possible to become when pedalling hard. the tour lt jacket keeps the wind at bay, and has the great good fortune to be highly breathable. i wore it over a long-sleeve merino baselayer and long-sleeve merino cycle jersey; the stretch of the fabric removes any restriction of movement. it's of admirable constitution to be of solid use until the really cold global warming bites back again next november.
stylishly cool and warm both at the same time.
the hincapie sportswear tour lt jacket retails at £79.99 ($119.99) and is available in sizes from xs to xxl. size tested was medium. thanks to david at bromley video for the review sample.
posted saturday 27 march 2010..........................................................................................................................................................................................................