in my first year of college, in the graphics class, we were all asked to do the following: take an a3 sheet of paper and divide it into squares. i can't remember how many squares, it was a long time ago. on every second square, paint a black circle, and in the squares that were left, paint three (or was it four?) vertical lines. i know not whether the fastidiousness of art school lecturers has improved in any way over the years, but while we were carrying out these seemingly bizarre instructions, the lecturer went out for a tea or a coffee presumably. upon his return, when everyone had finished and we were looking for the cameras that likely had them rolling on the floor in the staffroom, it just got worse.
having painted our circles and lines with consummate skill, we were instructed to tear the sheet of paper into smaller pieces of paper, then place them in an envelope. at this point, a photograph of the assembled faces would have been worth keeping for posterity; and the search for cameras linked to the staffroom continued in earnest. happily (or sadly, depending on how you hoped this would all turn out), there was a logical outcome, an outcome not told to us until the following week. and you thought art college was easy.
ranking up there with the foregoing strangeness, is this: cut down lengthy shoots of bamboo, leave them somewhere nice to dry, then carbonise them (a word that possibly has more favour here than elsewhere) and grind into fine bamboo charcoal particles. not stopping there, you should now blend it with polyester.
so where are the cameras this time? fortunately, this second ministry of silly walks also has a logical outcome, which i wore today under my long-sleeve jersey and softshell. the crewroom's vapour x shirt is, you will have now learned, constructed from bamboo charcoal and polyester, promising a wicking fabric that is breathable and able to regulate body temperature. marketing is a wonderful thing, and vying with santini's promise that the carbon in their shorts can reduce lactic acid build-up, the hang ticket that arrived on the short sleeved shirt states that the charcoal can absorb infra-red from the environment and emit it 'to help cell activation and promote blood circulation.. i can't say i noticed.
what i did notice, on a day that had me struggling on a fixed gear into 50kph winds and minus three windchill, was that i stayed warm despite frequent stops along the way (testing something else that i'll tell you about soon). despite misgivings about wearing a short sleeve thermal on the last day of january (i've been encased in long sleeve winter merino since before chrimbo) the vapour x was cosy, the fit was nigh on excellent and the wicking, when i did warm up, quite superb. if the shirt did get damp during the two hour scurry in the wilderness, i didn't notice. a very good thing.
the crewroom are purveying this as a running shirt, despite its being found under the cycling tab on their website. to this end, it has reflective spots on the back, and the logo on the front is also of the reflective variety. i don't think it's really intended to be a baselayer in the accepted sense, but today's test proved that, if anything, it is perhaps a more versatile garment than we have been led to believe. i'm certainly happy wearing it under a jersey.
sizing of the shirts is on the loose side; i would always order a medium size of any baselayer, but the crewroom sent size small that was right on the money. i've not an earthly whether the bamboo charcoal has any benevolent effect on the feel of the fabric, or whether this is just a subtly fine blend of the polyester fibres, but it's really soft and comfy. maybe the bamboo is a marketing ploy, maybe it isn't, but who really cares with performance of this calibre? the crewroom vapour x shirt is available in black or white, in men's and women's, from xs to xxl and retails for a measly £25 ($36). no need to wait until the summer to acquire one of these (unless you plan on not wearing a long sleeve jersey and a softshell).
mind you, avoiding marauding hordes of pandas can be a chore.
posted on saturday 31 january 2009..........................................................................................................................................................................................................