it's hard to recall how we all coped with the possibility of mechanical diffculties before someone thought of combining a whole skoosh of tools into the modern equivalent of the swiss army penknife. there is, however a fundamental and irrepairable flaw in the mechanics of such; the hinge that holds several of the allen keys in place is generally held in place with an allen bolt. but how would you tighten this bolt when necessary, without purchasing another multi-tool? hopefully the large hadron collider at cern will one day find a solution to this conundrum.
but nonetheless, the multi-tool cannot be dismissed out of hand, principally because of its ubiquity and practicality. though many of my younger readers may never have known days without this addition to the cycling panoply, i have no desire to return to experiencing the futility of emptying the under-saddle pack at the edge of the most remote road on the island, in the rain, only to realise that the very tool required had been used at home last week and left on the shed floor. if there's a nobel prize for bicycle tool inventors, somebody sure as heck deserves one.
it strikes me, therefore, that the selfsame principle might be transferable to other cycling artifacts. not that i'm thinking of a coathanger out of which it was possible to pull the very jacket that the climatic conditions demanded when needed, but perhaps, while we're on the subject of cycle clothing, some sort of garment that offers more than a single use. though there's some way to go before we reach the status of a sartorial multi-tool, there are one or two current products that look towards the event horizon, one of which i have been wearing to the office this past week.
portland's showers pass, long renowned for their effective waterproofing, are beginning to spread their wings more into what might be termed general cycle clothing, presaged by their cascade range, the track pants of which i reviewed only a few days ago. this time round, i have been stylishly wearing a grey henley shirt, crafted from a mixture of merino wool and bamboo fibres, providing the benefits of odour free fabric and a level of softness that is hard to describe.
the clever part about all this, and call it subterfuge if you like, is that none of my work colleagues have twigged that the shirt has any connection to cycling. not even in view of the large thumbloop holes in each wrist. maybe they were just too polite to ask? it offers the perfect balance between a piece of technical clothing and relative normality.
the length of both the sleeves is particularly well judged; popping a thumb through each cuff loop doesn't overstretch the fabric but prevents the sleeves from riding up in colder weather. additionally, the torso length precludes any untoward draughts in the lower back. but the specific feature that makes this a henley rather than simply a stylish baselayer is the buttoned collar, though unless you're adept at riding no-hands, i'd advise buttoning or unbuttoning before you ride.
the flexibility of the garment that makes it akin to the multi-tool is a perforated strip down the back, one that lowers the potential overheating quotient, yet it's subtle enough not to advertise itself too self-consciously in polite company. i cannot deny that the major plus from my point of view, is its relaxed nature. i have never been accused of sartorial elegance; designer scruff has been heard more often than once, and the showers pass henley ticks every box in this respect. this is not to aver that it cannot be worn in more formal situations, but with rolled-up sleeves and a couple of collar buttons left undone, i could easily pass for a jazz drummer.
the showers pass merino/bamboo henley sport is available in either grey or charcoal (men) and charcoal or plum (women) at a cost of £69.95 ($95).
saturday 3 october 2015..........................................................................................................................................................................................................