It must be amazing to live in a place with a good climate, where you can confidently cycle in shorts year round, and where you aren’t compelled to spend half of the year in waterproofs and thermals.
Sadly, for those of us cycling in these Great British Isles (and a great many other countries too, of course) the need for good waterproofs and warm layers is simply a fact of life.
Whatever happens, birds will sing, tides will turn, the sun will continue to rise, and it will continue to rain on far too many rides.
I’m not going to lie: I really am quite a fair weather cyclist. That’s not to say that I never ride in poor weather – but I take little pleasure in it, and if I can reschedule? Well, I probably will. Regardless of the weatherproof gear available, relentless rain still makes for a difficult ride, with slippery roads, debris washed down from hills making descents treacherous, and raindrops sneaking their way into any available orifice.
I think we can all agree, though, that if we pledged to only ride in good weather, we would only ride twice a year. So we just have to get into the right mindset – and the right kit – to make it as enjoyable and safe as possible.
It was cold, it was windy, and it was rainy. Biblically rainy. End-of-days rainy.
Gore Bike Wear have launched what I can only describe as a piece of alchemy in their One Power Lady Gore-Tex Shakedry Bike Jacket. Honestly, it’s like – like MAGIC. Ludicrously lightweight, ludicrously soft and silky to the touch, ludicrously breathable – and ludicrously waterproof. Oh, and they look really, really cool, too.
The price tag might put a lot of cyclists off. Indeed, it would have put me off before I rode out in it in practically apocalyptic conditions. But now that I’ve experienced the effect of the Shakedry, there’s just no going back.
Gore Shakedry: The Testing Conditions
On a weekend of cycling in September we were, of course, hoping for a glorious weekend – one of those perfect, golden-hued, Indian summer days. We were spectacularly disappointed. It was cold, it was windy, and it was rainy. Biblically rainy. End-of-days rainy. So rainy that 10 miles in, when I clenched my fist water ran out of my gloves in rivulets. So rainy that the chamois pad in my bib shorts was sodden. Just SO RAINY. I promise you, the only way I could have got the Shakedry wetter would have been by going swimming in it.
you can imagine my feeling of happiness, to be dry and comfortable from the hips up and the neck down
So, you can imagine my feeling of happiness and, frankly, smugness, to at least be dry and comfortable from the hips up and the neck down while the rest of the group found themselves sodden from head to toe. (Oh, incidentally, another source of smugness came from my Velotoze. An absolute bitch to get on and off, and I only managed to wear them twice before they ripped, so they worked out very expensive – but boy. On a day like that, they were worth the expense…)
The Gore Shakedry cycling jacket is a something of an anomaly in the world of Gore products. Don’t get me wrong – I am full of admiration for the brand’s technology and practicality. It’s cycling gear for serious cyclists and it’s effective. But… I can’t pretend that I find it good looking. It’s definitely utilitarian, and the women’s jerseys in particular are decidedly lacking in style and tailoring. But the Shakedry jacket is both brilliantly effective AND good looking. I have actually been wearing it off-bike with my regular clothes. It’s super cool, and styled like a biker jacket. Think… Barbour International. It’s really slick, really well fitted, and nothing about it screams cyclist. But it also performs fantastically well on-bike, and folds to roughly the size of a postage stamp if the weather improves. (You never know.)
it performs fantastically well on-bike, and folds to roughly the size of a postage stamp when the weather improves
The new Gore Shakedry range features an outer surface that permanently repels water. They are the lightest and most breathable Gore-Tex products available and feature a technology which eliminates the face fabric, preventing absorption of water. That means that you won’t experience the chilling effect that can result from wet face fabric, and it also means that the jacket weight doesn’t grow heavy with rain. A few quick shakes of the jacket simply render the surface dry, as if by magic.
This revolutionary women’s cycling jacket is made of ultralight, breathable Gore-Tex Active laminate. The innovative Shakedry product technology has been paired with a flattering, fitted cut to offer cyclists supremely reliable and stylish protection from the rain, no matter how heavy the downpour. It features reflective transfers for higher visibility and safety, and in size medium, it weights in at a mere 95 grams. It is machine washable at 40°C with liquid detergent.
When I read the size guide I was pretty taken aback: for my measurements, it indicated that the size XL was the one to go for. I was actually worried that even the XL might not be big enough – and I usually wear size 12/M! They do come very up small. It’s daft, really – no woman wants to buy one size larger than usual, never mind two sizes larger.
Wildly effective – I don’t believe you’ll find a more water resistant cycling jacket and certainly not one as lightweight and breathable as this. It’s also wildly good looking and you can enjoy wearing it off-bike with jeans, which possibly makes the cost (£280) a bit easier to swallow…?
It is expensive – £280 is a lot of money to spend. Unless you’re prepared to cycle in pretty unpleasant weather, you might struggle to justify the purchase. (Though, by making the purchase, you will be prepared – in terms of kit, at any rate…)
If you cycle in all conditions to justify the expense, I wholeheartedly recommend it. It is, without doubt, the best waterproof I have ever worn. I can’t believe how breathable and pleasant it is to, while keeping all the rain out. It’s just brilliant, and it looks so cool, too.