the phrase 'your mileage may vary' has never rung more true when applied to the common practice of layering clothes. in our particular case, layering winter clothes, for there is less demand in those long, hot summer months (a little hebridean humour there). depending on your particular constitution, the number of applicable layers may vary, but surely at the bottom of the pile (so to speak) will always be the ubiquitous baselayer?
i'm willing to make compensations here for regional variations, principally on the basis that no matter what time of year i find it necessary to visit london village, it always seems alarmingly mild and warm. thus, though i would still posit that a baselayer ought to be the foundation garment, whether it has long or short sleeves (or no sleeves at all), precisely which, is open to conjecture. additionally, the thickness and composition of the garment under discussion can also vary wildly.
personally, i am drawn towards the merino variety, having worn a succession of man-made fibres in my early years, the style of which are almost too embarrassing to contemplate. and aside from that, by the time i reached the coffee stop, certain areas of the baselayer had already taken on less than aromatic tendencies. the luxury of merino wool is that its fibres leave no nooks and crannies in which bacteria can grab hold.
however, merino does have one or two shortcomings, not least of which is a distinct aversion to be figure-hugging. i point this out not to contend that as modern-day velocipedinists we ought to appear in public as muscular gods (no sniggering at the back), but because if there are unconstitutional ruffles in the early stages, they can but be magnified as the mid and outer layers are subsequently added. yet again, such discussions are not allied to sartorial necessity but pretty much aimed at the comfort factor.
slogging into a galeforce headwind comes under the heading of grunt work. there is no real alternative to succumbing to the heads down no nonsense mindless boogie in order to get from a to b. any additional discomfort would be most unwelcome. to satisfy the above conditions, showers pass of portland oregon have brought us their body-mapped baselayer, constructed from merino wool along with modal, spandex and nylon.
though an ingredients list such as this may seem a tad over the top for a layer that no-one will ever see, i can attest to the fact that their concoction offers great merit. the baselayer feels, to all intents and purposes, to have been spray-painted on. while untoward bumps and lumps will show up in all their manifest glory, remember; this is a baselayer; well chosen top layers have a great ability to conceal. but the closeness of fit not only prevents any ostentatious discomfort and ruffling, but lets the garment do exactly what it was designed to do.
the knit pattern, graphically demonstrated by shaded patterning under the arms, on the forearms and the full length of the back aids the dispensation of excess body heat to the layers above. the torso is knitted in a single piece, offering no uncomfortable seams, while the lengthy sleeves end in thumb loops to prevent any draughts entering when a glove/sleeve interface is less than optimal. though i've had varying results with the latter due to bulking under winter gloves, on the body-mapped baselayer, they are thin enough to be almost un-noticeable.
perhaps the best recommendation that i can offer is that the showers pass baselayer remained entirely forgettable throughout each and every ride. on those where perspiration was very much to the fore, even when quite damp, the fabric hid the fact remarkably well. to be honest, you'd rarely, if ever, know you were wearing it. the only factor you might want to check is the sizing. i would most often choose a medium size, but showers pass advised that a large/extra-large would likely be a more apposite choice. they were right (and i'm a slim 5'10")
the showers pass body-mapped baselayer is available in small/medium or large/extra-large in grey only at a cost of £40 ($69)
monday 8 december 2014..........................................................................................................................................................................................................