i figure that frankie valli would probably agree with me, that the four seasons are a bit of a pain. the days of the week, though filled with unplanned activities, happenings and surprises, start right when they're supposed to and end just before the following day has a chance to encroach. it is the way of the world, the stars and eternity, long before the gregorians had the bright idea of making money selling calendars. thus, if, like me, you had made an appointment to have your eyes tested on wednesday at three pm, tis but a modest level of vision, observation and a reminder on your ipod to make sure you are where you're supposed to be at the appointed time on the designated day.
the seasons, however, have acquired, possibly through their own volition, an almost unacceptable degree of lassitude when it comes to being where and what they're supposed to be, when they're supposed to be. take as an example, the current proceedings. this is more or less the middle of may; is this spring or is it summer? mrs washingmachinepost, who has the needs of young children to consider when planning earth-shattering activities to keep those little minds engaged, asked google when summer started. google via one or two secondary websites gives credence to the commencement of this most lusted after season as 19:29 hours on june 20th 2012. in case it had by-passed you, that means this is still spring, even if the temperature outside has more in common with winter.
but how then, does that work? 24th june is the longest day, commonly regarded as midsummer's day which, by rudimentary extrapolation, means that summer ought to end on june 28th, thus pushing both july and august into the throes of autumn. something, somewhere has gone horribly wrong.
but excluding the inclusion of such pagan festivals the seasons have little by way of stability to recommend them. if i might refer my honourable readership to my previous statement regarding the outside temperature, though sun and blue skies have been the order of the day, when stopping momentarily to photograph the jersey under review, the windchill was, i must declare, less than amenable. sad is the day when jerseys require to be tested and reviewed under cover of an outer, windproof garment. it almost seems like cheating.
consider for a moment the confusion that must reign at solo in new zealand. as we hurtle headlong towards our eight day summer, they are rapidly approaching the opposite end of the planet's incidence to the sun. in which case, do they market their summer clothing now in favour of the northern hemisphere, or should they retain an impressive degree of parochialism and keep that till november? given that i have spent days during this past week riding around in a short-sleeve, lighweight jersey, it appears they have opted for the former.
solo have dubbed this latest range of jerseys retro tech a term i believe emanates from a combination of the retro styling but contemporary construction. though i have described this as a lightweight garment, i see from the solo website that there is indeed a defined retro-tech lighweight jersey, one ascribed to the hottest riding conditions. as those are all but absent from any season in the hebrides you may wish to name, i am extremely grateful that such was not within the stylish packaging that arrived on the doormat. what did arrive along with the blue retro-tec jersey was a pair of similarly branded armwarmers, beautifully fitted for each arm and leaving no doubt as to which was left and which right.
in a comparable manner to the jersey, the slicon gloop constituting the grippy part of each warmer and along the hem of the jersey is cleverly applied to form the words retro-tech. this is something the rest of the world and peloton will likely never see, but as always, art lies in the details. the armwarmers are available in small, medium and large, and though my armes err on the lengthy side of long, the medium sample sent fitted just ginger peachy thank you very much.
solo describe the jersey as a close fit, anatomic cut, a statement and philosophy with which i would find it hard to disagree. though i have little use for its race-bred properties in relation to the act of speeding towards a finish line of any description, i do find the lack of flap to be something of a salient feature in a cycle jersey. it comes replete with the necessary three rear pockets, augmented by the compulsory fourth zipped instance. on days such as this, when sun and sky are in complete agreement, it's hard to decide what accoutrements to carry along in case the weather is telling fibs. photographs require use of a camera, so that's one pocket filled; long-fingered gloves may just prove a tad too warm, so a spare pair of track mitts would not go amiss, and just in case it is deemed appropriate to stop off at bridgend stores to acquire some alpro soya fruit yoghurts, then a colnago csf musette is an important additional accessory.
(incidentally, don't you just love the way the italian commentators refer to them as 'colnago chay-ess-effie'? i know i do.)
i cannot underline the importance of that fourth zipped pocket. on days such as this, when it is necessary to clothe the upper torso in a richard sachs windjacket, it's bereftness of pocket space requires that coffee and lunch money be securely secreted about one's person. this has nothing to do with the expectation of highwaymen around loch gorm, but more the idiocy of an incumbent that more often than not would pull paper money inadvertantly from a pocket while grasping for the camera. aside from the plain, unadorned styling of the jersey (appropriately enough in azzuro blue), the retro flavour is encouraged and perhaps defined by the presence of red white and blue hooped knitted style collar and cuffs. its very plain-ness is its finest attribute, particularly when supping froth, where it refuses point blank to mark one out as of pelotonic aspirations.
a full-length zip adds to its credentials as a summertime jersey, offering the hardy cyclist an opportunity to bare every inch of that baselayer when altitude, effort and temperature make the going harder than anticipated. sadly it's a feature that might remain fully closed at all times here on the atlantic's edge, but it's always better to have and not need in my opinion.
if you've a space in your cycling wardrobe for a jersey and armwarmers pairing that does pretty much everything it promises without fuss but with a subtlety of panache and style, this is probably the combination to fill it. available in two other colours (red and black) and in sizes from xxs to xl, it might just be possible to confound the seasons in a blur of retro and contemporaneity. price in the uk is £75 ($125) for the jersey and £29 ($45) for the black solo logo'd armwarmers.
sunday 13th may 2012...........................................................................................................................................................................................................