they're crafty, treacherous and indubitably devious. product manufacturers will append whatever they like (within reason) to their website descriptions and advertising copy in mostly successful attempts to persuade us into swapping our hard-earned cash for their damnably attractive goods. there's often a fine line between need and want, needing simply a gentle nudge to convert from the latter state of mind to the former. it's called marketing.
you may think my castigations to be unfairly cruel, but i'm sure the majority would adopt an innocent and angelic disposition, all the while protesting that they were merely doing their job, (guv). in truth, they are not entirely wrong, for even a cursory look at a job description would confirm that convincing people to buy stuff was pretty much their sole purpose in life. but isn't it not only possible, but quite likely that the thoughts uppermost in their collective minds when describing the purpose of the un-named product are rather different from our own?
apple computer has long had a tradition of appending the abbreviation pro to the end of many of their products. as many users of apple products would never stoop so low as to be recognised as other than pro, it's a cunning plan. thus sales of these not only outdo those perceived as being of the consumer range, but often confer a faux superior status upon the purchaser. that's just one of the ways in which marketing can improve its return on investment; making people feel good about themselves while unleashing more pennies than absolutely necessary.
but what of the humble item of cycling apparel? is it not only possible that both purveyor and marketer were considerably wide of the mark when deciding its purpose. sure, you'd figure there ought to be at least a modicum of cycling involved, otherwise we'd have to reconsider their position in the grand cycling panoply. thus certain features may of necessity be included. in the case of vulpine's brand new softshell gilet, these amount to a high, yet adjustable collar, a full-length zip, two front pockets and a variety of rear examples hovering over a drop tail to keep wet bum syndrome at bay. and if you're going to ride really, really fast along clerkenwell road, or even uiskentuie strand, something's going to have to keep that wind at bay.
however, maybe my needs on receiving the rather elegant claret gilet were entirely at odds with those of vulpine central command. in fact, there's a better than evens chance that we occupied completely disparate headspaces at the time. for instance, is it likely that mr hussey peered intently at a copy of adobe illustrator featuring the gilet design drawings and immediately thought of a trip on the megabus gold between glasgow's buchanan bus station and that of victoria in central london? if he did, there's a great deal more to the concept of serendipity than i was previously aware.
strangely, there is no railway sleeper service between glasgow and london on a saturday night, for what reason i know not. sitting in however comfortable a seat on a national express coach bound for the nation's capital is not the ideal manner of travel. particularly when the coach pulls into a motorway service station just as you've dropped off to sleep, the lights go on and the driver announces that a fifteen minute break will ensue. it's a largely unwelcome feature that can be repeated at least another twice. why, you might ask, would i wish to get to london for an early december sunday in the first place?
i'll tell you.
since their appearance on the cycle clothing scene, vulpine have been happy to make their own way in the world; eccentrically some would say. thus, instead of setting out their wares in accustomed fashion in the grandiose halls of a myriad of cycle exhibitions, vulpine were (and are) more content to do it differently in the form of the cycling fete. though i recall at least one of these having been north of london, the rest have remained within the region of big ben and the river thames. when the recent vulpine cyclogames were announced in early november, i e-mailed mr hussey in the mistaken assumption that this event would surely take place north of the border. like that's ever going to happen.
however, i was invited to join the party at hackney's ovalspace on sunday pm, 8 december.
dressing for the occasion was the least of my concern, but had little or nothing to do with nipping out for a bike ride. plying the route between the two cities is the aforementioned megabus gold service; effectively, beds on a bus. a thoroughly customer unfriendly situation occurs at glasgow buchanan bus station where the coach departure time is signalled as 23:30, but the heated and seated concourse closes at 23:00. this entails an half hour wait in the great outdoors at close to sub-zero temperatures. though they've easily catered for such an event, i doubt vulpine ever had this in mind. long-sleeve baselayer, softshell gilet and harrington jacket took care of the torso, and a pair of epic cotton trousers were not only more than adequate armoury against the chill, but consummate travel apparel into the bargain.
an early sunday morning walk from euston to look mum no hands! in old street, past legions of boris bikes, proved the veracity of the concept of city riding as complementary to city walking.
the velogames were not only well attended by exhibitors and visitors alike, but notable for witnessing the inimitable ned boulting take victory over kenny van vlaminck on the rollapaluza race bikes. and not a cobble in sight. trackstands, most beautiful bikes, sartorial cyclists and most impressive quads all combined to make the afternoon more than worth attending and sleeping on a bus. if given the choice, i'd have opted for a jazz trio rather than the dj sessions, but i figure that's an age thing.
ok, so i have ridden more than 100 kilometres clad in the softshell gilet, a few of which consisted of wet rain, and all of which were windblown. though i have long considered myself a medium sort of a guy, in this case, a small softshell gilet fitted just ginger peachy thank you very much. the two front handpockets are more than welcome off the bike, but not really much given to storing stuff for cycling. the latter task is, however, easily accomplished by an open rear pocket, a zipped version for coffee money and one bearing the magnetic closure now seen as vulpine trademark.
the front zip is commendably waterproofed and that high collar features a rear drawcord to close out any influx of cold. once zipped to the neck, there's a double magnet flap to close over the front. try as i might, i was unable to find any mention of its suitability for sitting in cold bus stations and sleeping the night away on a megabus gold. perhaps i've found a gap in the market, even if someone has already inadvertantly filled it.
maybe they're not so devious, crafty and treacherous after all.
the vulpine softshell gilet is available in claret, grey or fluorescent green, in sizes ranging from small to xl at a cost of £115.
thursday 12 december 2013..........................................................................................................................................................................................................