There’s one thing that the last couple of years of odd weather has meant to me – not the thought that we’ve broken the planet’s weather; that’s not in doubt – but it’s the far more trivial poser of ‘what to wear?’ It used to be that summers were mostly short sleeve Lycra jerseys and winter was a long sleeve thermal and a waterproof. Now we seem to be getting a lot of warm, wet summer days and warmish, dampish winter days along with some super frozen highlights.
Wearing a full waterproof on a mild, wet day is a sure way to boil yourself, but wearing just a jersey is risking a chilly ride home in wet clothes. Luckily the fabric world has been working apace to try to keep us in that surprisingly narrow window of ‘comfortable’ for some time and seems to be making good headway with our particularly specific needs as UK cyclists.
On a recent trip to Pearl Izumi in Colorado, I had fun giving the designers a hard time about the amount of mesh panels they design into everything they make. While they do get some extremes of weather there, it does seem to vary between ‘sunny and hot’ to ‘sunny and freezing cold’. They know little of our world of in-between damp greyness and I realise that it’s truly hard for someone living in a high desert in the rain shadow of the mighty Rocky Mountains to imagine a world of average temperatures and mild, grey, possibly wet – but possibly not – days.
We, meanwhile find it hard to imagine needing new, white arm warmers that reflect the sun and that get cooler when they get wet. Equally, what they consider a suitable winter boot is something that’ll keep the toes warm in -10C snow ride. We, meanwhile need something that’ll not fill with water and that works anywhere from 10°C to -10°C. It’s worth remembering that when we’re shopping for ideal clothing for our conditions, that the UK has a particularly odd lack of distinct seasons; probably why some of the UK designed gear goes down so well. The overseas designers are making trips over here more though, given the UK’s demand for clothing it’s probably no surprise. So if you see a tanned chap shivering by the side of a trail on a sleety day, stop and say hello. He’s probably doing research for a company based in sunnier climes.
Posted on: December 29, 2011 by chipps