All women's racing has been banned forthwith. Until the UCI can agree on new rules to allow the ladies to ride side saddle. Apparently there is some delay while they overcome disagreement on how many layers of underskirts must be worn.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch: 8:45am. 47F, 8C, windy. I had to go into town on business. Outside a charity shop I saw a bright green cycling jacket hanging from the rack. Still crisp, brand new and unworn. Even the zip pulls were still wrapped in tissue. Though heaven knows why anyone should wrap zip pulls in white tissue!
On the way home I was getting much too hot in my Belstaff 'Cyclone' jacket. It had also just started to spit with rain. This seemed like an excellent test for the new jacket. Being a waterproof rain jacket I imagined I would sweat like a proverbial wotsit at 47F. I did give the jacket half a chance by unzipping the handy armpit zips. Good quality zips all round BTW!
With the tail wind I should have been dripping sweat all over Mr Higgins within half a mile! I know I would have in my silicone proofed nylon cape. Rather oddly, I wasn't sweating. I stayed amazingly, unbelievably, completely dry and comfortable all the way home. This is beginning to sound rather like a deodorant ad! :-)
I could feel gusts from the cool tailwind through the back vent at times. Though it was not remotely unpleasant. In fact it made me feel even more comfortable! Full marks (except for the very slight tightness across the back when crouched over the bars) Without my long sleeved ski vest under the thicker racing jersey I will have slightly more room.
The jacket seems beautifully cut and made. It is fully lined with soft, woven netting including the sleeves. Rather like the stuff fish-friendly keep nets are made of. The reflective devices are well thought out and remarkably efficient. It has a soft lining to the high neck. This all reminds me of the Signal jacket sold by Wiggle. Which I had been browsing the night before.
Guess what? When I arrived home I looked up the maker's name. Expecting that I had made a killing on a £50 jacket. Shock horror! I don't believe it! Crane clothing is an Aldi product! :o)))) I must look out for more of this clothing. The quality is amazing! I kept looking at the rain kit in bike shops and just couldn't bring myself to pay so much in the vain hope of breathable waterproofing. The label in this jacket just says polyester. With no claims to high-tech fabrics. Though check the Aldi catalogue entry below:
I swear the cloth was breathing without heat loss. It was bone dry inside when I took off the jacket at home and checked carefully. I know that all of my other jackets would have felt wet inside. They usually are. Particularly the Aesse when its upper temperature range is exceeded. My thin polyester ski vest would always be wet too.
It actually felt very strange that my vest was still cool and dry. As if I had just put it on. Quite often I come home feeling rather cold from being under-dressed on a cold, windy ride. Yet my vest is often wet down the middle of my back. I never felt the sweaty feeling all the way home despite some long uphill drags. I expected the worst and was delighted to be proved wrong.
Anyway, back to the SealSkinz "Activity" gloves. I fought the headwind for ten miles going there. My hands felt strangely neutral throughout. Neither warm nor cold. The Thinsulate would have felt sweaty and cold by turn. The Gel gloves simply cold in such a headwind! When I climbed off at the first supermarket I expected my hands to be drenched with sweat. After all, this was my usual experience. The gloves came off easily and my hands were perfectly dry and naturally cool. It actually felt really weird! I rubbed my hands together in disbelief.
Dexterity is really excellent. Far better than any of my other gloves. I found myself undoing zips and cords on my bag and jacket without a second thought. Normally I have to take my gloves off. Which is often a very unpleasant experience in cold, windy conditions. Though it wasn't that cold today.
The lack of cycling padding is very noticeable on the handlebars. Though I was able to ride on the hoods without the usual fight with the cramping wadding of the Thinsulate. The SealSkinz actually felt more comfortable on the brake levers than on the tops. I had become used to riding on the tops simply because the Thinsulate were so uncomfortable on the hoods. They would make my hands ache after a short while.
There was never any sense that the inner liners would pull out with my damp hands every time I stopped. They remained perfectly cool and dry on the way back too. Which is important when you consider that hot hands can make one feel too warm all over.
I am really beginning to appreciate the remarkable breathability of these gloves. The temperatures are now too high to probe their cold weather performance. Though frosts are promised for next weekend. It's a still a long way off and might not happen. I am turning the gloves inside out as far as the base of the fingers to air in a warm room overnight.
The sheltering trees beside the Assens bypass, cycle path have been decimated! Talk about clear felling! Cyclists and walkers are now subject to the full onslaught of the roaring traffic alongside. It used to be so quiet and beautiful riding up or down the hill between dense growth. It was a favourite walk with the elderly, families and kindergarten children alike. Birdsong will be absent for years. No Silent Spring. Just roaring juggernauts. The once-quiet housing estates behind this former shelter belt will suffer too!
The gears are still behaving themselves. I like the new arrangement of ratios. Changing from one ring to the next is effortless. Having a much wider range of gear ratios on the 32T makes the 22T seem almost redundant. Until I really need it. 20 effortless miles. Parading like a catwalk model in my Aldi jacket. ;-)
The Aldi jacket is fine. Not quite as breathable as yesterday's ride might have suggested. Still pretty good with the underarm, side zips open. I managed to stay cool in all the shops. The promised all day rain did not arrive. The gloves are okay too. No sweat or cold fingers yet. I'm still missing the palm padding. I may have to foam the tops and tape over.
13 kilos of shopping! 29.6lbs! I didn't like the way the heavy bag sagged without the rack. It made loading much more difficult. So I fixed the rack back on again. It weighs exactly one extra pound. It would be helpful if it had an extra crossbar. So I could cut off the top section and lift the rack by a few inches. Then the foot of the rack would support the bag properly. Instead of only when it is unhooked from the saddle. Without the crossbar there is no way to shorten the rack because it would lack fixing points on the seat5 stays. 20 miles. Mostly against a fierce headwind. Tomorrow promises much better. With sun and lower wind speeds.
Click on any image for an enlargement.