a friend of mine, far better versed in the whys and wherefores of efficient garment design than i will ever be, once pointed out the efficacy of cooling oneself via the wrists and forearms. though pretty much every jersey and jacket on the market at least slightly underlines the importance of zippered neck enclosures to exhale excess heat, it turns out that they lied.
well, sort of.
assuming everyone on a bicycle has a similar physiology to my own, have you ever noticed that, as the calories disappear and the heart-rate goes up, the result of using up all that stored energy is at least partially converted to heat? and, yet again, assuming we inhabit the same grovel space, it's more often than not that the first area to feel that heat is the arms.
it's the very reason why i recently declared my undying love for long-sleeve jerseys. though that may sound slightly contrary, in the speedily approaching days when it becomes necessary to don a rainjacket for either warmth or waterproofing, any naked arms are going to feel awfully clammy inside that breathable membrane. as i have been telling you all for ages, long-sleeves are your best friends.
but, and it's precariously close to being a very big but, on the days when precipitation is but a distant memory as you lead out the sprint train nearest to the coffee stop, any excess heat generated in the process can be cast to the wind more efficiently and with far better result if you simply roll up the sleeves a centimetre or two. if we concern ourselves solely with aerodynamics (with which the bicycle industry at large is currently obsessed), a flapping collar is far more iniquitous than an exposed portion of hairy forearm.
why not try this at home?
however, at the risk of stating the obvious, there are those amongst us who think mark cavendish is the conseravtive mp for nuneaton. not for them the rigours of choosing just the right climbing gear, or fathoming just what is meant by a sticky bottle. these are velocipedinists for whom the bicycle is transport; a sedate leisure activity to be enjoyed with mrs and the kids on sunday afternoons, the greener and more efficient alternative to having a four-wheeled money pit in the driveway.
it may be that we have become so wrapped up in our pro-continental demeanour that we have forgotten a) that such folks exist b) that we might actually be counted as amongst their number and c) commuting/leisure riding can be every bit as heat-inducing as weekend pelotonic activity. a further optional condition is a possible desire to appear not as a refugee from the movistar or katusha team when eventually sat in the library or reception desk. in other words, sartorial policy may mitigate against sponsors' logos.
the fine folks at vulpine headquarters have these very interests at heart, keen to offer their carefully researched expertise to the great unwashed (that's a euphemism for you and me). aware that we may need to retain body warmth and a certain level of visibility in traffic, coupled with a an almost obsessive desire not to become hot and sweaty in the process, they have removed the sleeves from their renowned quilted jacket and presented us with a quilted gilet (which i assume, is french for jacket with the sleeves missing).
the example residing in washingmachinepost croft is of the distinctly visible genre in an almost rabobank orange with hard wearing grey shoulder panels to take the strain from necessary shoulder straps. it weighs almost nothing at all, yet offers a cosiness that borders on the really cosy. i'll willingly admit that the review period has not been filled with chills, but on riding to the nearby gaelic college for a jazz festival gig, cosy was definitely the first word that sprung to mind. the high collar was more than welcome on the return pedal with a hebridean chill in the air.
on each and every commuting opportunity on the taurus corinto, coupled with just a few infernally combustion powered trips that included a vintage marine pearl drumset, the lack of sleeves confirmed my friend's advice about forearm induced cooling. the gilet features a thin, yet deep pocket at bottom right, a zipped internal pocket and two deep, zipped handwarmer pockets just where you'd expect them to be. oddly, there's no hidden pocket into which it might be scrunched when not being worn; it's certainly light enough, though i admit i made no concerted attempt to see just how small i could fold it.
the orange fabric (it's also available in a petrol blue) is impressively windproof and on a damp return from bridgend, the water-resistance was more than welcome. though it's a close fit and almost slightly restrictive around the bum due to its generous length, the cut is not that which demands to be worn aboard the colnago c40. and nor was it meant to.
there are far more opportunities to wear a thermal gilet in day to day existence than you'd think, both on and off the bike. and this is undoubtedly one of the best fits for pretty much all those occasions. the price of £119 recommends it well to the majority of wallets, as indeed the sizing range (xs to xl) ought to fit pretty much everyone on a bicycle.
and one or two pedestrians.
wednesday 23 september 2015..........................................................................................................................................................................................................