there's a transitional stage in every bike ride where you go from cold to just getting a bit hotter than you'd like. or, if you've put on way too much clobber in the first place, you simply melt in a pool of sportwool and carbon on the corner just before the council's grit heap. i'm not totally averse to being cool when riding a bicycle, particularly if i know i have the means to remedy that, scrunched in one of my rear pockets. however, i generally attempt to err on the side of the old cyclist's wife's tale: if you're warm and comfortable in the first couple of miles, you're overdressed. there is thus a blending of cold with hot at some stage of the proceedings.
when winter truly hits, and i think we'll all know when that happens, the council's grit dump can be passed with a laissez faire glance of cognition, knowing full well that i'll be well on my way to bluehouses before a smidgeon of heat begins to invade my person; because it's inherently colder in winter. and though the sensation of heating up soon passes, it ranks amongst one of the more uncomfortable aspects of the cycling day. or should i say, one of the more unjustifiably uncomfortable aspects; traipsing into debbie's after a long leadout for the bruichladdich sprint may result in a more dishevelled look, but there's a degree of satisfaction in substantial effort that is missing from those early kilometres.
so, for the time being, the day's strategy is to minimise this period of discomfort by attempting to outwit the ambient temperature simply by gazing out the kitchen window. yes, i could pop out in jersey and slippers to remove the cycle from the bikeshed on the pretence of tyre inflation, should the neighbours be watching. but that would hardly constitute battle dress, and undoubtedly lead to inaccurate suppositions. the only way is to dress in component fashion, advised by a scan of the horizon prior to setting foot out of doors. and this is sort of where, certainly at this time of year, the unsung hero of the hour finds itself victorious.
in this particular case, a very specific pair of armwarmers, loving created by velobici in one seamless tube from merino wool, a ribbed section at each end, the topmost of which is designed to keep them in place just where you'd rather. i make no claims to the uniquemess of merino wool as a substrate for armwarmers, but i have not before seen a pair that provide thumb holes at the cuffs to aid stability and chill proofing. coloured to match my velobici lombardy cardigan and fingerless gloves, their function in this case eschewed the wearing of either, for the weather prognostication advised protection of a more serious degree.
cutely, rather than embroidering the velobici name on both, the word had been knitted into the surface of each, in much the same way as the current crop of 3d printers seem to work.
subtle but chic.
i have no real qualms over the warming of that honed physique it's simply that the latter endows a temporarily less than comfortable feeling, allied to the fact that my muscles think they're still in bed. in the case of last sunday, hurricane katia notwithstanding, i figure i pretty much got the mix just right. a merino wabi woolens short sleeve jersey, bib threequarters and those impeccable armwarmers.
there's definitely something about merino wool that aids the exertions inherent in pedalling a bicycle, even in the face of winds that have little concern for the human body. circumspection would have dictated that i adhere to my loosely considered plan as to a suitable distance in the light of the weather forecast, but those are so notoriously wrong for this region that one often moves too far to the wrong side of blase. i wasn't too hot, and i wasn't too cold, so a circumnavigation of loch gorm on islay's atlantic coast did not seem a road too far. this notion was strengthened by the wind, meaning i had no need to pedal at all for a substantial distance.
if thumb holes are provided, then they are there for a reason; i'd popped both thumbs into the spaces provided, and put my leather mitts over the top. granted, if armwarmers intend moving anywhere it's more likely to be down rather than up, but i am gratified to state that the velobici merinos opted for neither. and even a soft flurry of wind-assisted rain seemed like water off a sheep's back. however, when push came to downpour, a more substantial protection was required, and my upper half competed the trip to and from a cappuccino, clad in polyester.
armwarmers inhabit perhaps too much of a utilitarian function to be given much column room. it's very unlikely that there are examples roaming free in the world that do less than expected, but that is not to say that there aren't many that carry out their vocation in life with style and aplomb. these are most definitely in the latter category.
the favour is there for the taking.
available in small/medium and large/xlarge velobici's merino armwarmers can be had in either grey or black for the nice round figure of £38 ($59.91), and can be ordered from velobici.cc
posted monday 12 september 2011..........................................................................................................................................................................................................