i know i have made mention of this before, but it might not have been out loud. when easter hoves into view each year, or sometimes just a bit before, the world's cycle clothing manufacturers alert us to the existence of their spring/summer ranges and attendant look books. it is a well-known fact that, if your product launch is not accompanied by a look book, you risk serial sniggering on the part of your intended customers. but while it may have begun to appear like spring (summer would be stretching credibility just a smidgeon too far) in the far south, up this end of the world, we're still wearing merino winter collars, thermal gloves and belgian style winter caps.
as if that were not too much of a potential suprise, this sort of garmentage wear will continue for a good couple of months past the look book date.
therefore, it would seem only right and proper, seeing as we're all in this together and still a markedly insistent united kingdom, that the launch of anyone's spring/summer range ought to be staggered, with final shipments and marketing being featured in the north and west of scotland some two or so months past the intial mention being made in the cycling media. of course, with this firmly in mind, the autumn/winter collections ought first to be on sale in reverse order, beginning up here around mid-july (or earlier).
it is for this very reason that a galibier.cc ultimate foul weather gilet received in early may, saw far greater use than its constitution would perhaps suggest. in fact, the very day after i had wrenched it carefully from its packaging, in which it was accompanied by a rather fetching pair of galibier.cc socks and water resistant toe covers (about which more later), it saw sterling service in zero degrees windchill.
galibier velo are based in omeath, county louth in ireland, so while that places them on the wrong coast to experience an atlantic squall at first hand, it does perhaps provide them with an inkling of what their more northerly cousin (me) is likely to sustain by way of foul weather.
the gilet, which may or may not be the ultimate of its species, certainly does everything in its power to live up to the name, constructed from an impressively thin softshell material that possesses a marvellous level of insulation. in short, it keeps you warm. and given that it's a softshell, you can laugh heartily at any number of atlantic gusts heading in your (my) direction. the gilet's water-resistance is also mightily formidable, smatterings of precipitation simply running off the surface with regulated impunity.
its total blackness is alleviated by one or two reflective tabs and a very bright and extremely yellow stripe from collar to hem down the back and at the shoulders.
however, you do sort of have to wonder about the wisdom of naming a sleeveless garment with an ultimate foul weather apellation, for in the midst of this tangible agglomeration of wind and precipitation, won't my arms get wet? coupled with a lack of taped seams, maybe ultimate is just a tad optimistic. but in point of fact, this offering from ireland's galibier velo does its job pretty darned well in my opinion. so much so, in fact, that i've been almost persuaded to leave the waterproof jacket at home.
i say 'almost', because the gilet has three capacious rear pockets and it would seem a shame not to make use of at least one of those to carry a waterproof jacket. this is the west coast of scotland, after all. additionally, there's a fourth, zipped internal pocket for phones, valuables, race radio, coffee money etc. of course, as the months roll by and summer does become a real thing, as opposed to a hypothetical horizon, wearing a jacket even in heavy rain, is as likely to soak your arms internally as precipitatively. horses for courses.
and let's not obscure the fact that the price of only £47 makes this less of an option and much more of a compulsory purchase, one that i expect to be still wearing come the corporate releases of the autumn/winter look books.
as to the water-resistant toe covers, perhaps they portend the same lack of total coverage as espoused by the gilet? but in point of fact, there are more than just a few instances when it's not raining in the islands (a little hebridean humour there), but the roads are still awash from the last shower. in such cases, given that many an item of velocipedinal footwear is vented at the front, even a smidgeon of protection is more than welcome. these have a cutout to accommodate your cleats and work better than their abortively minimal appearance might suggest. and they're cosy.
the galibier ultimate foul weather gilet is available only in black/yellow in sizes small through to xxl at a cost of £47. the pro-lite socks retail at a superb £7 in small, medium or large, while the mistral toe covers are only £8.90 in small, medium, large or extra large.
monday 9 may 2016..........................................................................................................................................................................................................