currently sitting as second in line in thewashingmachinepost bike shed, is a molteni coloured colnago master bearing a campagnolo potenza groupset, the latter recently installed for a long-term review. in common with both shimano and sram, campagnolo are given to naming their groupsets with memorable names, even if, in the former case, it's as modestly unimpressive as red. colnago, on the other hand, have recently resorted to an endless series of numbers to describe their top range models: c40, c50, c59, c60, m10 etc., when once they offered delights such as the eponymously named superissimo and more recently the ultimately desirable arabesque.
of course, it is unfair to single out ernesto as progenitor of uninspiring bike names. pinarello, though having established a family of the oddly named dogma, have subsequently resorted to adding an inscrutable series of letters and numbers to undermine the nomenclature. the k8-s, the f8; i'm sure you get my point without further need to labour it incessantly.
the folks at imperial works can usually be counted upon to offer a wardrobe of intriguingly named garments, inspirational apparel going by the name of souplesse, core, brevet, classic and even, rather eccentrically ghent hustle. however, it seems that inspiration may have recently deserted the creative side of rapha, for i have recently spent some gloriously warm and cosy days wearing their recently released merino stand collar jersey. be honest, what kind of a name is that to apply to one of the finest merino jerseys to be seen this side of easter island?
so, in order to lend a hand where it is obviously needed, i have decided to christen this woolly jumper the hebridean jumper, for in truth, it is the sort of solid, windproof undeniably cosy jumper that islay's fishermen would wear when stacking their creels against the harbour wall. if rapha were truly on top of their game with this one, a creel would be included in the pack.
it seems like only a week ago (actually, it was only a week ago), that i spent my usual friday afternoon playing hooky from work and heading west for a brief bout of froth supping. despite the early smoulderings of an impending atlantic hoolie, as we refer to the occasional breeze around these here parts, i had no trouble in riding the length of uiskentuie strand, exposed as it is to the elements clad only in rapha's hebridean jersey. well, that and a pair of their rather excellent trousers. it was the equivalent of the force field encasing the uss enterprise, fending off the wind as if it really wasn't there.
except it really was.
though this thick-knit merino jumper is as cosy is as cosy does, the existence of a windproof panel behind its frontispiece surreptitiously dispenses with any draughty ingress as a result of the aforementioned hoolie. though i have no wish to belabour the idyllic nature of my home island, the very act of riding a bicycle down (and up) uiskentuie strand is something of a high profile statement in and of itself. but that is hardly any reason not to love the cuffs of this particular garment. at the end of a pair perfectly judged length of sleeves, rapha have redeemed the last vestige of their imperial creativity by hiding brightly coloured pink cuffs 'neath the purple/black outer cuffs. 'tis but a simple matter to roll back the topmost to reveal their hi-viz secret.
naturally enough, i covered such brightness while froth supping was in progress.
oddly, rapha's insistence on naming the woolly jumper stand collar, is somewhat undermined by the collar being too soft to stand entirely of its own volition, a fact that only serves to reinforce my unilateral re-naming. you have to admit, a thick-knit merino sweater is pretty much as hebridean as it gets.
and since you ask, i had no trouble carrying the necessary coffee money about my person despite having divested myself of an outer jacket due to the all but concealed, vertically zipped rear pocket at lower left. if there were any justice in the world, this hebridean sweater would have received a launch party all of its own at the spitalfields cycle club. this is the very item from rapha's range that you could cheerfully buy a non-cycling member of the family for christmas.
just don't tell them about the pink cuffs.
rapha's merino stand collar jersey ('hebridean jumper') is available in either purple/black or blue/black in sizes xs to xxl at a retail price of £140. believe me, it's worth every penny.
saturday 8 october 2016..........................................................................................................................................................................................................