mrs washingmachinepost and i spent a week of what we laughingly refer to as our summer holidays, giving the sitting room somethng of a refresh in the decor department. as her daily grind involves caring for a veritable team of little darlings, it will suprisise you not too much that certain parts of our wallpaper below a particular height had acquired a secondary pattern consisting mostly of little handprints, fingermarks and the occasional coloured crayon. it is what i believe might appropriately be referred to as an occupational hazard. since there is little likelihood of those tiny digita receding anytime soon, we were content to live with the situation as long as possible, but this past july, we both decided that our sitting room would benefit from looking more like a dulux catalogue than a corner of the early learning centre.
colour charts were duly garnered, shades chosen more easily than you would ever think possible, and after several visits to the local paintshop and more than just a couple of diligent traipses up the hill that is bowmore main street, style was liberally applied. and in one of those once in a lifetime moments seen all too infrequently, we were both more than chuffed at the outcome.
however, i may have given the indication that the aforesaid process was as brief as such a short paragraph would suggest. you and i both know that life isn't like that.
several years ago, the size and ministrations required by the description home computer often necessitated some form of computer desk; the sort of thing that had a shelf for the monitor (which used to be of considerably larger heft than is currently the case), another for the keyboard and a large slot below to house what we technical folks like to refer to as the cpu. then the first fruity coloured imacs happened.
to house this coloured delight, we purchased a self-assembly edifice that resembled nothing more or less than a wardrobe. yet the interior cunningly concealed the coloured lozenge, its keyboard and a slew of cables that joined it to apparently necessary bits. when computing (to give it its proper name) was over and done with, the doors could be closed and no-one other than ourselves need be any the wiser. to cut a long story short, i probably shouldn't have started it in the first place, but imac now gone, it was about time the cupboard followed suit.
so now we had a beautifully decorated and less cluttered sitting room that was bereft of one detail; a standard lamp. with one lamp almost parallel to where i currently sit, the corner with no cupboard now seemed unnaturally dark as the nights drew in. and of course, as we enter autumn/fall and head inexorably towards winter, it gets dark a tad sooner than was more recently the case, conjoined with a cooling of the ambient temperature.
it may seem a tad convoluted to query whether there is such a situation as a double jeopardy as regards the prospect of rain, wind and lower temperatures when being sent an item of autumn/winter apparel for review. more often than not, point any piece of waterproof cycle clothing in my direction and almost immediately, clouds will part, rain will dry and blue skies will fill the horizon from one side of the photograph to the other. and conditions will remain that way long enough that i find it necessary to e-mail the sender to apologise for having yet no review to show for their largesse.
this time, however, those lovely people at showers pass in south-east portland sent a sample of their very latest skyline softshell all the way over to their counterpart in precipitation. lo and behold, appropriate weather was ready and waiting the very next day. certainly not what one has come to expect. i cannot deny that my traversing of the interior of bridgend woods was particularly inclement; yes it was slightly damp, yes, the wind approached gale-force, but no, it wasn't insufferably cold. this latter aspect of my bike rides over several days was as opportune in the testing regime as was occasional heavy rain, for the skyline softshell is remarkably well equipped to cope with mounting internal temperatures. there are two zipped vents under each arm, while the cuffs feature another couple of zips that can effectively close or allow airflow at the wrists.
an additional cooling slot and one i haven't seen on any previous jacket, is a zipped slot at the top of the jacket's back, just below the showers pass emblazoned collar. i was pre-disposed to consider this as something of a gimmick, for though operationally explained by showers pass, i couldn't see how the heck it could make any practical difference. discomfitingly, my assumptions turned out to be erroneous. though thinking i had managed to prove my original conjecture correct, it took only a closing of this zip to realise the difference it was making.
aside from cooling airflow, the skyline has other pragmatic aspects to its construct that ensure it will befriend any cyclist fortunate enough to own and wear one. there's a vertically zipped front chest pocket on the left, featuring a grommetted opening for ipod headphones. all the zips, including the main front closer are appended with short tags that considerably ease the procedure of opening and closing. it would not have been the first time that attempting to open vents and zip when riding had come to naught, but in this case, as the meerkat says, 'it is simples'.
in addition to the front pocket, there are two substantially sized rear pockets augmented by another zipped version sited above the lowered rear hem. this latter part of the garment can be tightened by means of an adjustable drawcord.
though showers pass pointed out that the skyline jacket does not feature any taped seams, the softshell fabric itself is waterproof, offering up a pattern of little bobbles of rain on the surface even when considerably wet. surprisingly enough, despite living on an exposed rock on the edge of the atlantic, serious rain has yet to affect my bike rides, so i have no real knowledge of how sustained heavy rain would affect the skyline. i'll let you know if and when it happens.
generally speaking i am very much not in favour of decorating any jacket with random, oddly shaped patterns, the sort of thing that either looks like an accident or proffers an affinity with robocop. i figure you know of which i speak. happily the skyline is almost entirely bereft of such markings apart from slightly inexplicable imprints along the length of both arms. however, as these are highly reflective and intended as a safety feature, i think it only right and proper to allow an appropriate level of slack. no doubt there are subtler ways to achieve the same, but in the grand scheme of things these detract only a smidgeon more than one whit from the simplicity of an unfettered softshell.
despite the fact that the temperature has yet to lower sufficiently to confirm wearing of this showers pass softshell, i find myself drawn to its comfort and commendable fit. though i'd hardly describe it as roomy, something i don't believe ought to be in a cycling jacket's curriculum vitae, i did comfortably manage a baselayer, short sleeve jersey and long-sleeve without looking or feeling like that white chap that works for michelin. it is also a jacket that knows not the meaning of the word flappy. as autumn and winter progress as they undoubtedly will, this latest showers pass offering seems the ideal accompaniment to my forays into the highways, byeways and undergrowth of islay in the process of surveying the estates.
(a brief update:the day after writing this review i had the good fortune/appalling misfortune to be caught in very heavy rain for about an half-hour pretty much in the middle of nowhere. it gives great pleasure to report that, though there was the odd damp patch - partly because i failed to close one of the side-vent zips properly - in general, the waterproofing offered by the skyline softshell was extremely favourable. i'd be happy to wear this throughout the winter whatever the conditions.)
the showers pass skyline softshell (named after skyline boulevard that overlooks the city of portland) is available in either chilli pepper red (reviewed) or black, in sizes ranging from small to xl. the red should be available from 18th september and the black from 1st november, both costing $180. i think it worth pointing out that portland's showers pass make little other than waterproof and weatherproof clothing.
saturday 15th september 2012..........................................................................................................................................................................................................