the big trouble with the scottish weather is its unpredictability. time was when you could rely on october being a graduated introduction to winter, with each passing week experiencing lower temperatures and steadily increasing winds. then, when november scuttled over the horizon, having to collect the washing from a village some miles away was less of a surprise than it might have been.
in the days prior to mrs washingmachinepost and i moving to the hallowed isle on a permanent basis, we paid at least two visits per year to stay with relatives. and on those occasions you could pretty much guarantee that the waves would be hitting off the upper deck windows of the calmac ferry, and our daughter, now married and expecting our second grandchild, would serially roll off the seat onto the floor of the seagoing lounge.
ah, them were t'days.
currently we seem to be in the middle of what i believe is known as an indian summer, reference to a warm period in autumn first noted by the american indians. or at least, first mentioned to the settlers by them. apart from one hebridean day's rain in the past couple of weeks, the sky has been clear and the sun unseasonably warm. definitely not the ideal conditions in which to wear and review winter-weight bibtights.
or maybe it is.
for despite having classified this as unpredictable weather, the island itself harbours unpredictable pockets of the birth of cool. on the high road, just past dunlossit estate's deforestation policy, the ambient temperature dropped by a most noticeable few degrees, and a strengthening wind lowered the average temperature elsewhere. it's what we like to call windchill. as it turned out, conditions such as those described were just ideal to highlight the versatility of the latest hoy vulpine winter bibtights.
unlike almost every other pair of bibtights on the market, winter or otherwise, sir chris's are not black. in fact, they're a rather fetching mid-gray with an obvious and refelctive hoy vulpine logo emblazoned on the calf region of the right leg. the side of both thighs features a similar logo but applied in a clear gloss over the fabric; stealth mode. it seems most likely that those wearing such a garment would be keen to let others learn of their sartorial commitment. but with subtlety.
the tights feature a sort of waistband, not restrictive in any way, but extending the reach of the tights front and back to the mid stomach area. the rear bib section pretty much covers your whole back, keeping any potential draughts just where you'd prefer them to be; outside. the flatlocked seams, coupled with a generous width of bib straps means that in the heat of battle (or maybe just the ride for coffee and cake), they stay firmly in place without advertising their presence.
at the other end of the equation, namely my finely-honed ankles, hoy vulpine have dispensed with any zips or foot loops, relying on gloopy grippers on the inner hem to hold the legs in place. of course, no zips means there's no chance to pull these on over a pair of cycling shoes. but does anyone ever do that anyway? footloops i usually find more of a hindrance than a help, since they're often a total faff when it comes to putting on that previously mentioned footwear. this seems the ideal compromise.
the fabric itself, lined as it is with roubaix fleecy fabric, is thinner than i'd have expected. though this might have taken me by surprise, considering how many cycling garments these days are thinner than our toilet paper, it can hardly be seen as anything of a real disadvantage. we're hardly in the depths of winter at present, but i gained the distinct impression that the hoy winter tights are intelligent enough to gauge the ambient tempreature and behave accordingly. ok that's perhaps a trip too far into anthropomorphism, but their incredible lightness of being is both a boon to cycling pleasure as well as a demonstration of just how cycle clothing technology has improved over the years.
my only fears would be a couple of wear points at the waist where my jacket has bobbled the fabric slightly after only a few admittedly lengthy rides. these are but superficial and currently hidden from view; closer inspection showed no actual damage, so i'm probably concerned over nothing.
concomitant with the thickness of the fabric, the italian-made integrated cytech pad also displayed a thin(ish) constitution, once more demonstrating how clever some cycling boffins really are. for, all across those allegedly extensive kilometres, it would have been very hard to fault any particular aspect of sir chris's bibtights. i only wish i was as svelte and speedy as they made me look.
but perhaps the finest point about these hoy vulpine winter bibtights, one that will warm the hearts of many a wallet, is the price. £109 for quality and constitution such as this almost seems like an administrative error. the blame for this must surely be placed at the door of vulpine's top fellow, nick hussey. we all know sir chris to be one of the most stable and down to earth gents in the sport; nick on the other hand, is prone to bouts of eccentricity, so before anyone attempts to cure him, get online and order in case he realises a couple of the digits are the wrong way round.
hoy vulpine bibtights are available in mid grey only and in sizes from small (reviewed) to xxl..........................................................................................................................................................................................................