Women’s cycling

Cycle ClothingWomen's Cycling

Victoria picks out another 5 awesome women’s cycling jerseys for summer

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Last week we picked out ten of the coolest men’s and women’s cycling jerseys of 2016. It’s always a bit more difficult for women who cycle, because there still isn’t the same breadth of choice for us – so, to save you some legwork, I’ve found another five awesome women’s cycling jerseys to keep you looking fresh this summer. Read on!

 

Queen of the Mountain

Luminary women’s cycling jersey, AUD $159

women's cycling jerseys

This gloriously summery kit is currently sold out, but you can sign up for an alert from Australian women’s cycling brand Queen of the Mountain to let you know when it’s back in stock. I love the super vibrant palette – this ain’t a kit for shrinking violets! It’s the very essence of joie de vivre from our friends Down Under. More here.

 

Forward

WaterColor women’s cycling jersey, US $130.00

Women's cycling jerseys

These dreamy hues of pastel pink and baby blue are toughened up with rough black edges like a scrawl of charcoal over a watercolour painting. Gorgeous. More here.

 

Void Cycling 

WS Ride women’s cycling jersey, €110

Women's cycling jerseys

The sleek race cut and cool spot print from this Scandinavian cycle wear brand is sharp and quirky enough to make sure you stand out from the peloton. More here.

 

Machines For Freedom

Horizons Print women’s cycling jersey, US $175

Women's cycling jerseys

Subtle tones reminiscent of the skies you see on those insanely early morning rides, the Horizons jersey from US women’s cycling brand Machines For Freedom has me drooling. More here.

 

This is Cambridge

Hors Categorie jersey in blue, £ coming soon

Women's cycling jerseys

It isn’t currently available, but I’ll be ready to pounce when it’s back in stock on This is Cambridge. The colours are bold, bright and perfect for summer – and I can’t resist a polka dot/stripe pairing. I love it. More here.

 

Have you seen any awesome women’s cycling jerseys? Feel free to share them in the comments, we’re always on the hunt for exciting new brands!

Cycle ClothingFeaturedReviewsWomen's Cycling

First impressions – Victoria reviews the women’s Rapha Canyon-SRAM team kit

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I have never been tempted to cycle in a team kit before. But then, I’d never seen one as beautiful as the Rapha Canyon//SRAM team kit, which is one of the best looking women’s cycle kits I’ve ever seen. Since the first images were released months ago, I’ve been on tenterhooks waiting for it to be released.

Finally, on Wednesday, it happened: the email arrived from Rapha and faster than you can shout ‘Strava!’ I was parting with an obscene amount of money. I’m aware that £300 for a cycling kit is pretty steep. But boy oh boy, I wanted it so badly.

But what you all want to know, I suppose, is how it performs. Well, the kit arrived on Saturday and the following day I wore it on an 85km ride to put it through its paces.

Rapha Canyon//SRAM women's kit

The Rapha Canyon//SRAM team kit is seriously good looking. Black, emblazoned with jewel tones and the subtlest of branding, it looks so slick. The aero cut of the team-issue jersey is divine: it’s far and away the most flattering cycling jersey I have worn. It’s close fitting in a way that skims rather than clings; the mesh sleeves are just the right length and fit; and, as I hate having anything fastened up to my neck, I’m happy to say it looks great unzipped a few inches. Sunday was an ideal day to ride out in the kit; the Coldblack technology used in the jersey to reflect the sun’s rays and wick away moisture was perfect in 28-degree heat.

Rapha Canyon//SRAM women's kit

The Rapha Canyon//SRAM team kit jersey is long: I can pull it right down over my bum. This is a very good thing: at 5’8” I’m fairly tall and, being somewhat top heavy, I’m delighted to have a jersey which doesn’t ride up. I didn’t have to tug it down at the front once. If you’re petite, there is a risk that it might be a little too long. I find Rapha sizing tends to be a little on the small side, so I ordered my usual size medium bib shorts and size large jersey to accommodate my broad shoulders and bust. It’s spot on for my frame.

Rapha Canyon//SRAM women's kit

The race fit Rapha Canyon//SRAM bib shorts look similarly great: they are really nicely cut and the styling is spot on. The bib straps are well positioned and soft – they didn’t cut in to my shoulders at all.

The leg length is generous, the leg grippers keep everything in place and the breathable fabric feels good. I did expect a slightly more robust pad; it doesn’t feel quite as supportive as the chamois in my Rapha winter padded tights.

Being a particularly sweaty cyclist, I’m obsessive about washing kit as soon as I’ve worn it. It’s already been through the washing machine and drip dried as per instructions, and all’s well.

Rapha Canyon//SRAM women's kit

 

The Rapha Canyon//SRAM team kit is far and away the best looking kit I’ve worn. Expensive, yes; but it’s one of the best looking women’s cycling kits of 2016, and I felt a million dollars wearing it. Well done Rapha and the Canyon//SRAM team for putting together such an iconic kit – I feel like this is a big step in moving the standard of women’s cycling kit forward. The designers have set the bar very high indeed.

The jersey is priced at £130 and the bib shorts at £170. You can view the whole range here.

Rapha.cc

 

Cycling TipsFeaturedWomen's Cycling

Women who cycle: we meet three inspiring women taking on the pedElle 2016 challenge

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Vamper.cc is delighted to be partnering with Aspire PR to bring you a series on the pedElle 2016 charity ride for women in the property industry, organised by Club Peloton, a fundraising charity which specialises in creating business networks.

PedElle 2016 is a three-day, 425km ride open to female professional from the property industry. This year’s event commences in Salzburg on Monday 23rd May and ends in Venice on Wednesday 25th, just in time for the start of the famous Architecture Biennale 2016. The route to Venice also takes in the medieval town on Lienz in Tyrol and the north Italian city of Udine. (In fact, we think the route sounds so good that we wonder if we should diversify into the property industry so we can ride it, too…)

The cyclists on pedElle will work as a peloton for efficiency and an atmosphere that fosters networking and camaraderie. The riders will also benefit from a full support crew consisting of lead car, mechanics, logistics, sports therapists and motorcycle outriders to keep body, mind and bike in full working order and to ensure that everyone crosses the finishing line together.

In addition to the entry fee, the riders commit to raising a minimum amount for a number of children’s charities including Coram. To date, Coram has received £500,000 from Club Peloton events, making it Coram’s largest corporate partner. The funds raised by pedElle 2016 will go towards Coram’s adoption services, helping vulnerable children find stable, loving families.

We’re very pleased to introduce you to three of this year’s riders who are sharing their cycling stories with us. We hope you find their journey as inspiring and interesting as we do…

 

 

Rider profile: Samantha McClary

pedElle 2016 McClary
Sam McClary has taken part in every Club Peloton event, a 1200 mile duathlon around the UK and a 1600 mile cycle from Vancouver to San Diego.

 

Samantha, what prompted you to sign up for pedElle 2016?

Three days riding through beautiful countryside in beautiful weather with a gaggle of inspiring and interesting women? Why wouldn’t I sign up! But in all honesty, I love taking part in these rides as they teach so much about humankind. Whether you are the strongest rider or the weakest, it really doesn’t matter on pedElle as we are all in it together. That’s the great thing about women’s cycling (when we’re not racing, obvs): it’s about what you can do for the person riding next to you to make sure they are having the best time. Whether that’s a wheel, a little hand, some banter, a sing-song or just the promise of a big glass of wine at the end, it is those moments that really make me want to do every single pedElle.

I’m the chick you’ll see with a spicy Spanish sausage sticking out her back pocket.

 

When did you take up cycling, and why?

I started cycling properly probably about eight years ago. I started commuter cycling because I’m cheap and didn’t want to pay for the train! I started cycling properly because of Club Peloton – the company behind pedElle. The property magazine I work for is the media partner to all of its property rides, including its flagship Cycle to MIPIM. I did that one year, and I was hooked. On one of the first training rides I met a cycling partner in crime. We became the closest of friends – she even got me into triathlon, which then got me into competing at age group level for GB – and cycling buddies. Since then I’ve done all sorts of cycling adventures: every Club Peloton event, a 1,200 mile duathlon of sorts around the UK, and a 1,600 mile cycle (with two other pedEllers) from Vancouver to San Diego. I have plenty more adventures planned.

 

How are you training for the event? Have you developed any training or nutrition plans to prepare yourself?

Training for me is part of every day life. I just ride my bike. I teach spin too, which helps of course. I’m the chick you’ll see with a spicy Spanish sausage sticking out her back pocket. Chorizo isn’t everyone’s bag of chips on a bike ride but for me it is the perfect package of fats, protein and salt.

 

What bike will you be riding? Tell us about it.

I will be riding my Wilier Zero 7. I love it. Like, properly and potentially inappropriately, love it. It is matt black with day-glo orange decals. It is ridiculously light and ludicrously expensive. I blame Club Peloton entirely for the health (or lack thereof) of my bank balance.

pedElle 2016 Bike
We asked Sam what bike she’ll be riding. “I will be riding my Wilier Zero 7. I love it. Like, properly and potentially inappropriately, love it.” We get that, Sam – we love it too!

 

At this point, what are you hoping to achieve from taking part in pedElle 2016?

PedElle for me is about women working together to achieve something special. Raising money for a charity like Coram is of course the most special thing we can do as it will provide new families for children so desperately in need. But that something special is also about helping develop confidence, pride and a fine set of quads for a group of very wonderful women.

 

Rider Profile: Sarah Jenkinson

pedElle 2016 Jenkinson
Sarah Jenkinson took up cycling in Chamonix. When asked how she planned to get her new bike home, she replied – I’ll ride it!

 

What prompted you to sign up for pedElle 2016, Sarah?

I work at Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design and one of the directors, Jennifer Ross, set up the first ride with a friend, Claire Treanor. When I started at the practice, as a keen cyclist, there was no doubt as to whether I would or wouldn’t take part; if you like cycling, are female and work at Tibbalds, you are in!

 

When did you take up cycling, and why?

I got into road cycling when I lived in Chamonix one summer a few years ago. Everyone out there is very fit and active, and the scenery is so captivating – it’s impossible not to be drawn to the activities you can do there. I actually bought an old secondhand bike initially, just to get around town. Then one evening in the pub, a friend asked how I’d get my new wheels home. In the Chamonix spirit I joked that obviously I’d cycle it home to the UK…   Just under 1000km later and road cycling was in my blood!

 

How are you training for the event? Have you developed any training or nutrition plans to prepare yourself?

I stay quite active, especially on the bike, throughout the year. So I don’t change too much but try to get a few longer weekend rides in, as well as sticking to some hills laps after work each week. What really helps me personally is to try and do a lot of hot yoga in the run-up to the event: I can get painful knees so I find that getting my body as supple as possible is just as important as working on cardio and strength.

 

And what bike will you be riding? Tell us about it.

I ride the Liv Envie Advanced Tri. I love it. So agile and light and the deep rim wheels are such a pleasure to ride (if there isn’t a cross wind!). It’s the first bike I’ve owned where I actually like how it looks too, although it’s pretty difficult to keep white paintwork looking good!

 

At this point, what are you hoping to achieve from taking part in pedElle 2016?

For me, it’s all about meeting new people in the industry. Three days is a great amount of time to get to know people and the riding acts as a leveller that brings everyone together. It’s a really inclusive and supportive event and I’m proud to be part of it. I’m also really looking forward to the route this year. A route through the mountains, unravelling to the coast will be spectacular!

 

 

Rider Profile: Yvonne Smith

pedElle 2016 Group
Yvonne (centre) has been training for pedElle with her family around the North Downs – training is always easier with some moral support.

Yvonne, tell us what prompted you to sign up for pedElle 2016?

I was inspired by Sam McClary of Estates Gazette as she cycled and ran from Edinburgh sponsored by Helix, the company I work for, a couple of years back. I was further inspired to buy a bike by my eldest daughter (also a surveyor) who cycles with her boyfriend (he did the Etape last year). We went along, got a nice tan and were overwhelmed with the effort put into both the training and the event itself. I then went and bought a bike in Sept 2016 for my 56th birthday.

I then came across pedElle. My mother is Austrian, so Salzburg felt like it was home for me – I also love the Sound of Music and expect we will all be wearing curtains made of Lycra and singing in unison as we weave in and out of each other up and down the Alps!

 

How are you training for the event? Have you developed any training or nutrition plans to prepare yourself?

My goddaughter (who is an osteopath) is doing the Prudential Ride 100 so we, along with her dad, my husband, and our daughters (who are all surveyors too) are out every weekend around the North Downs. I am following the plan Rhian from Club Peloton sent to me and so far so good: I’m getting stronger, but hills still defeat me. I have not changed my nutrition – I just eat more as I burn a few extra calories. Nothing scientific.

I expect we will all be wearing curtains made of Lycra and singing in unison as we weave in and out of each other up and down the Alps!

What bike will you be riding? Tell us about it.

It’s just lovely: a Ridley (extra small – I am 5 ft 1inch). I only had it ‘fitted’ by Thom at Evans in Guildford on Friday and what a difference. We’ve changed the handlebars to a narrow gauge, and he’s raised my seat and tipped it forward a little. He has all these technical gadgets that check all the angles – an excellent £45 spent for 2 hours of intensive fiddling. I had ‘rhino tyres’ fitted as I cycle on my own to work and back and can’t manage a puncture despite the workshop I took part in… I could blame the arthritis but I don’t have any confidence the wheel won’t fall off if I change the tyre.

 

At this point, what are you hoping to achieve from taking part in pedElle 2016?

I love being with professional women; I am constantly impressed and moved by their achievements and this will be a great opportunity for networking. And I just want to be able to finish and feel proud of myself – and the whole pedElle event.

 

We will be running a further two interviews with Samantha, Sarah and Yvonne to hear how their training is going closer to the event and later, to hear how the adventure went. Stay tuned!

If you are a woman working in the property industry and this has inspired you, it’s not too late to register for the event at pedElle. We would love to hear from you if you decide to take part, so drop us a line at victoria@vamper.cc.

Cycle ClothingWomen's Cycling

Urban cycle wear brand As Bold As launches debut women’s collection

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Regular readers will know that it’s not so long ago that I was a dedicated urban cyclist, riding the streets of London in whatever I wanted to wear that day. I may be something of a Lycra warrior these days – but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the need for clothing you can enjoy wearing both on and off the bike. Bib tights and cycling jerseys are fantastic when you’re riding but look less good behind a desk. And don’t even get me started on the trials of changing out of bibs and jersey in a very small toilet cubicle…

Urban cyclist to Road cyclist
Victoria the urban cyclist, and Victoria the Lycra warrior…

I’m increasingly tempted to look to a more hybrid style of cycle clothing that would cut down the amount of changing time and the amount of stuff I carry to work. I do rather miss the days of turning up to work on my bike in something I could wear all day, but that convenience needs to be balanced with the desire to be comfortable and safe in the saddle.

As Bold As

As Bold As makes contemporary cycling clothing to wear on the journey and at the destination. Founder Joyce Brereton has worked to incorporate the technical design elements of dedicated cycling wear with a dose of urban chic: waterproof, windproof, breathable fabrics with sealed seams and high-visibility detailing are combined with street styling to keep you looking the part when you’re not pedalling. 

I’m particularly taken with the As Bold As Drench Coat, pictured below. It’s been designed to keep you warm and dry on the bike, with a dropped back to keep your bum clean and underarm vents for breathability. It’s not so urban that you couldn’t wear it with bib tights and cleats; but it would look great off the bike with jeans and boots, too.

As Bold As Drench Coat

The first collection is female focussed, but plans are hatching to expand. We’re looking forward to seeing what else is in the pipeline for As Bold As. 

Launched in February, the range is available now through asboldas.com, VelovixenVelorution and Skulpt.

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Cycling TipsWomen's Cycling

Rediscovering your cycling mojo: how Victoria got her groove back

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I’ve been feeling tremendously weighed down lately. I lost my cycling mojo.

You know how it is: we’re in the depths of winter, and the days are woefully short. The only daylight hours are spent in an office, thinking about how nice it would be to spend some daylight hours outdoors instead… You arrive home from work later than you’d like every day, in the dark, and it’s time to start cooking dinner. While dinner’s cooking, you’re doing the washing; catching up with parents on the phone (who are in danger of thinking you’ve dropped off the face of the earth); dealing with all the paperwork that came through the letterbox that day; tidying up and cleaning the house. And before you know it, you’re eating dinner at nearly 9pm, and can’t wait to collapse on the sofa for an hour in front of the TV. And winter weekends? You spend the whole working week thinking, this weekend, we’ll get out for a good ride.

while you don’t want to call yourself a fair weather cyclist, you realise you’d rather be inside stripping walls and painting ceilings than battling the elements.

Saturday comes.

The weather is atrocious. The wind is howling, it’s pouring with rain… and while you don’t want to call yourself a fair weather cyclist, you look at all the work that needs doing in your new house, and realise you’d rather be inside stripping walls and painting ceilings than battling the elements.

Tomorrow, you think. Sunday will be better.

Sunday comes, and the weather’s still a bit crap. But you know you have to get on your bike. So, you bundle up, and you drag yourself out, to be buffeted by the wind. It’s grey, and a bit dreary, but you flog yourself on. Your nose runs. Your eyes run. Your ears start to ache. And finally you arrive home with a sigh of relief, knowing that you had to do it but thoroughly glad it’s over.

Then, suddenly, the days begin to lengthen. Not much, but enough that you wake up and it’s daylight. And if you can get away from the office at a reasonable time, it’s not quite dark… And your energy levels just start to rise. You wake up a bit earlier, and finally, you look out of the window in the morning and think – I can’t wait to get on my bike today. And you do it. And it’s fabulous. And your cycling mojo has returned.

You’ve got your groove back.

FeaturedWomen's Cycling

I’m tired, I’m stressed and my knee hurts… It’s time to get back on the bike

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It should be easy to find time for things that are important to us, but it’s amazing how life can get in the way of things.

I want to be cycling every day again, like I did for most of last year. I want to be cycling to work every day, and spending my weekends in the saddle.

So why am I not doing it?

That’s a good question.

I’m tired.

(And I know very well that you’ll be thinking to yourself, exercise will help with that! – You don’t need to tell me. I know that exercising more gives me more energy.)

My right knee is causing me problems.

(And I know that the only way around that is to start cycling regularly again – not pushing it hard, just getting it moving and building up strength. I know.)

My new office isn’t half so conducive to cycling.

There’s nowhere to keep my bikes, apart from by my desk. There’s nowhere to change, apart from in tiny toilet cubicles.

We’re madly busy settling into our new house. We’re still unpacking boxes, and we have renovations and decorating waiting for us.

(Of course, we could still fit in a couple of hours of cycling on Saturday morning before we get stuck into all of those house things…)

But, do you know what?

It mostly comes down to the fact that I’m tired. Tired of short days, high winds, long days in the office and too little time outdoors, tired of the to-do list on my desk at work and bewildered by the to-do list in my personal life.

I feel like I’ve lost my cycling mojo and I need to get it back. Not least because my first time trial event is edging ever nearer… (And I’ll be damned if I’m not going to give it my best).

There are always so many excuses that we make for not doing things – even things that we love, like cycling. But I know the answer to all of this. It’s to stop feeling tired and overwhelmed. And the only way I know how to deal with that?

It’s time to get back on the bike, and to get those addictive, energising endorphins pumping again.

 

My plans for this evening?

I’m going on my bike.

No. More. Excuses.

Cycle ClothingReviewsWomen's Cycling

Rivelo winter jackets prove a great fit: style and performance in perfect harmony

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We met the wonderfully talented and energetic Tara, who heads up the Rivelo team, back in November. Over a pint in one of Surbiton’s most welcoming hostelries we heard all about this new British brand’s origins, aims and design direction and cast our eyes over the new Rivelo winter cycling jackets.

Fast-forward one action-packed Christmas period spent travelling 1000 miles around the country, Northern floods, a house purchase and subsequent move… A couple of months later and we are finally ready to commit to paper our thoughts on the Rivelo kit.

We have put the Rivelo winter cycling jackets through their paces several times over the past two months: they have been dealt a fair array of weather (most of it wet). It has been with us on our final commutes from our old flat, and it’s now being worn on recces of our new cycling ‘hood’ in Ashford (Surrey, not Kent). The bib tights even managed an outing on the turbo trainer, though it’s safe to say indoor training does not require thermoroubaix protection for the legs.

So with all that in mind, it’s high time we shared our thoughts on Rivelo’s latest offering.

Matt: the Rivelo Garsdale Jacket

I’ve been riding in the Rivelo Garsdale Jacket for a good few weeks in a range of conditions and with a combination of bibs and jerseys from other manufacturers. It has quickly become a staple in my cycling wardrobe: when the temperature drops or if it threatens rain, it’s off the hanger and on my back.

Rivelo winter cycling jackets Garsdale

Performance

At its heart the Rivelo Garsdale cycling jacket is a warm yet breathable, waterproof and windproof winter jacket that should keep you in the saddle no matter what the British weather throws at you.

It is constructed from Schoeller C-Change softshell fabric that delivers a garment that helps keep your core at a comfortable temperature whatever the barometer says. It maintains a good level of air circulation without draughts.

It repels water magnificently, to 10,000mm (I do like to keep those of you waterproof fetishists happy); beading rain simply runs off the jacket – or flies off, depending on how quickly you are riding.

It is also oil and dirt repellent, features that have been thoroughly tested over the weeks we have been riding the Rivelo kit. There has been little that hasn’t just wiped off rather than submitting the Garsdale to another wash cycle.

Rivelo winter cycling jackets Garsdale

Appearance

What if cycling jackets could look good off the bike… but not in that “urban cycling” kind of way?

What if cycling wear had edgier design that didn’t compromise its performance?

Well, it can: the Rivelo Garsdale jacket delivers both of those things.

Think stealth…

Leaving performance out the equation for a second, on a purely aesthetic level the Garsdale is a thing of beauty. On the body the fit is exemplary. The detailing, especially in the arms, is superb. The asymmetric finish to the cuffs is an especially neat touch and one that I feel I wouldn’t want to be without on any future jacket – it allows a glove to fit perfectly underneath.

The race fit of the Garsdale jacket is just right for me: not too roomy, but not overly restrictive. I have been wearing a medium: at 6ft and 165lbs, I have a full range of movement across the chest and arms.

 

Rivelo winter cycling jackets Garsdale

There are two small changes I would make to the jacket: one, the front of the jacket could stand to be an inch longer. That would (for me) make it nigh on perfect and would increase its off-bike wearability, although when we are discussing performance cycling apparel, it’s something of a moot point. And two, I would prefer the neck to be a little higher; for a winter jacket, it doesn’t offer a great deal of protection around the neck and an extra half inch would be nice.

Design Features

The Garsdale features under arm venting, which maintains a good level of airflow around the jacket. The seams are fully taped increasing its water resistant capabilities. The arms feature a double cuff system, an elasticated inner cuff, to prevent drafts and water ingress and then a second asymmetric cuff that extends over the wrists.

Rivelo winter cycling jackets Garsdale

The back of the jacket houses three deep pockets, one of which has a zipped outer area. There is a beaded reflective vertical stripe to improve visibility from the rear. There is also a front chest zip pocket that provides easy-access storage for keys and cards etc.

All the zips are high quality and thus far have proved snag free. They hold up well in bad weather conditions, too.

Rivelo winter cycling jackets Garsdale

Would I buy it?

Without a doubt.

This is quality performance bike wear with an edge. Its points of difference may seem subtle to some, but when you wear this out on actual rides they become glaringly obvious.

Those minor niggles you might have about your other jackets have all been dealt with here. It is cycling apparel that just works and, more to the point, looks damn good doing it. It is well crafted, well designed and the Rivelo winter cycling jackets are really well priced right now – the Garsdale jacket is currently available for £99 at Sport Pursuit.

 

Victoria: Rivelo Larkstone Women’s Jacket

I’ve been testing the Rivelo Women’s Larkstone Jacket, a sleek wind and rain-resistant layer.

Rivelo winter cycling jackets Larkstone

Performance

Made from British Porelle Dry membrane fabric, this jacket is high performance. Its fully taped seams contribute to the garment’s 15,000mm waterproof rating – and as any British cyclist knows, this winter has made waterproofing oneself vital.

Despite its highly technical credentials, the Larkstone jacket folds down to a super compact state which could, at a push, be stored in a back pocket if the weather took a turn for the better.

Rivelo winter cycling jackets Larkstone

 

Appearance

I may be serious about cycling, but I’m also serious about wanting to look like myself: I don’t want to sacrifice style for performance.

And this jacket doesn’t force you to make that choice: it is such a flattering piece of kit. The cut of Rivelo cycle clothing is true to standard British High Street sizing, unlike continental brands such as Castelli which are notoriously small. Rivelo’s size Medium fits my 5’8”, size 12 build very well. It is clearly designed by someone who understands women’s bodies, and it’s a pleasure to zip this jacket up: it feels really surprisingly elegant for a piece of sportswear.

I love this lustrous shade of navy blue and the red accents are a lovely, classic match. It’s an understated jacket which, while feminine in cut, is not girly or twee in design.

Tara has really managed to combine aesthetics with high performance in the Rivelo Women’s Larkstone Jacket.

Rivelo winter cycling jackets Larkstone

 

Design features

There are some clever design features in the Rivelo Women’s Larkstone Jacket. There are no unwelcome breast pockets, which are just awkward on a women’s jacket. I don’t want to fumble about with my boobs to reach my credit card. Instead, there is a neat front pocket by the hipbone to hold a credit card, change, or keys.

My problem with a lot of rain jackets is that their hard shell construction means they are rather baggy to allow movement. This is a rain jacket, but the fabric stretches. Protection from the elements without sacrificing either silhouette or aerodynamics? Perfect.

Rivelo winter cycling jackets Larkstone

The sleeves are brilliant. They are long, well fitted without being restrictive, and have a lovely stretchy, soft inner cuff which stops draughts and moisture at the wrist.

I’ve mentioned the top notch fit: the sleek look is helped along by the impeccable flat, fully taped seams which serve the fairly integral function of waterproofing as well as contributing to a streamlined profile.

The jacket only has one back pocket. This puzzled me a bit at first: I’d normally expect at least two, and maybe three. However, it’s actually another nifty feature: the back vent, which is positioned directly above the pocket, allows easy access to your jersey pockets. So, if you take off your jacket, there’s no need to empty all your pockets. Clever! What’s more, the rear pocket has a reflective strip which is convenient positioning: it wasn’t obscured by my rucksack.

Rivelo winter cycling jackets Larkstone
The reflective panel on the rear pocket shines really brightly – and is still visible when I’m wearing my small commuter rucksack.

Any cons?

Now, this is a rain jacket, so of course, it will make you sweat when you’re working hard. There’s no escaping the fact that keeping water out will also keep some moisture in. For that reason, I wouldn’t wear it without a wicking, long sleeved layer underneath because otherwise there is a slightly clammy feeling. (Particularly as I’m an especially sweaty sort). It certainly doesn’t make me feel like a boil in the bag kipper, though, unlike some other lightweight waterproofs I’ve tried. And the areas that typically do come into contact with bare skin have been considered: the neck has been lined with soft fleece for comfort while the double layered cuffs are soft and warm, not cold and damp.

 

Would I buy it?

Yes, absolutely. It’s a smart, well cut jacket which performs brilliantly in wet, windy weather. It’s been particularly good this winter, which has been particularly wet and windy… What’s more, I love the colour. I’ll happily carry it around in my rucksack in case the weather takes a turn for the worse, too – I’m impressed by how lightweight it is.

I’d recommend snapping up one of the Rivelo winter cycling jackets while they’re on offer at £59.99 – I seriously don’t think you’ll find a better jacket for the price, and even at the full RRP of £130 I think it represents great value for money. The Larkstone women’s jacket has won me over.

 

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FeaturedSportivesWomen's Cycling

Vamper’s #NewYearRevolutions – our 2016 cycling resolutions

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Regular readers will no doubt have noticed our absence over the past few weeks.

We promise, it isn’t that we don’t care.

Unfortunately, as any amateur cyclist will understand, life has an unwelcome habit of obstructing one’s hobbies sometimes.

Left to our own devices, we would have gladly spent much of our Christmas break cycling – but our Christmas was spent driving around the country, from our home in Surrey up to the flooded land of Yorkshire, across to Cheshire, down to Devon and back up to The Cotswolds for a whirlwind of festive family activities. With a car already full of apparel to suit every eventuality, from dinner parties and country walks to husky driving in the rain (we kid you not), it dawned on us that trying to add bikes and kit to the mix for a possible ride out if the rain were ever to let up was probably not a worthwhile exercise. We’re happy to say that it was, actually, the right call: we struggled to drive along the flooded roads in Yorkshire and nothing would have made us risk our lives on bikes in those conditions.

Unfortunately, as any amateur cyclist will understand, life has an unwelcome habit of obstructing one’s hobbies sometimes.

The moment Christmas was over, we dove headfirst into completing the purchase of our first home – the new Vamper.cc HQ. Another fortnight of bike-free life, with evenings spent packing, and then unpacking, and finally, passing out with exhaustion.

A month after our last real bike ride, we’re happy to say that we’re all travelled out and settled in our new home. The bike room is up and running (bigger and better than ever!) and we’re now getting very excited about what the year holds for our two-wheeled adventures.

So, without further ado, here are our 2016 cycling resolutions… Share yours with us on Twitter with #NewYearRevolutions.

  1. Turbo charge our lives with Zwift: we have set up a dedicated bike room in our new home complete with turbo trainer and huge screen for indoor workouts. As I lack the attention span to ride indoors on my own, we’ll be adding a second turbo trainer so that we can train together. You’ll find us on Zwift as Matt – Vamper.cc and Victoria – Vamper.cc. Look out for us!
  2. Complete a Time Trial event: I signed up for The Tour of Cambridgeshire Chrono TT in June, which is going to require some serious practice and determination.
  3. Improve on last year’s Prudential 100 RideLondon times: ok, last year was our first try – not to mention my first sportive. We were proud to get round in one piece. But this year, we want to improve our times dramatically. We’re aiming for five hours.
  4. Incremental upgrades: Yes, we’d both love new bikes. Show us a cyclist who doesn’t hanker after a new ride and we’ll show you a pig fluttering through the sky. But we’ve just bought our first house, so we’re going to add incremental upgrades to the bikes we already own. Matt is planning a groupset upgrade to SRAM Red, and I’m planning a new wheelset purchase…
  5. Join the French Revolution: We will be undertaking the Granfondo Les Deux Alpes in the Ecrins National Park, which takes a superb route along unspoiled roads between Oisans and Valbonnais. We’ll take in climbs including Alpe d’Huez and Col de la Croix de Fer as well as exploring the area made famous by the Tour de France, Marmotte and Etape. Time to brush up our Français!

Is there anything you would like us to get involved with or come along to? Please feel free to contact us at matt@vamper.cc or victoria@vamper.cc.

The new bike room at Vamper.cc is coming together - we'll be adding a second turbo trainer shortly!
The new bike room at Vamper.cc is coming together – we’ll be adding a second turbo trainer shortly! No excuse to miss a ride because of the weather now…
Cycle ClothingReviewsWomen's Cycling

Svelte London bring British Heritage to cycling with the Long Sleeved Jersey

The Long Sleeved Heritage Jersey from Svelte London
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It’s no secret that Matt and I are not shy of bold colours and prints when it comes to cyclewear. We embrace floral emblems and jaw dropping hues – but that’s not to say we don’t also appreciate a subtle palette and classic styling.

A subtle palette and classic styling is precisely what cycling clothing brand Svelte London have delivered with their range of Heritage cycling jerseys. Svelte sent us the latest incarnation to road test, the Long Sleeved Heritage Jersey in a wonderfully seasonal shade of dark green.

Made in England, the Heritage range is a three-season jersey for Autumn, Winter and Spring cycling. It contains merino wool for warmth and moisture wicking and has three pockets, including a button down pocket for valuables. The jersey retails at £110.

The muted shade, dull brass button and natural fibres make for an elegant bit of kit that doesn’t scream “WE CYCLED HERE!”

Both Matt and I are wearing size Medium. I won’t lie: it’s a snug fit, and if you’re planning to overindulge at Christmas, you should definitely order a size up. It’s a very athletic fit with extremely narrow arms which looks fantastic – sleek and flattering – but won’t allow much in the way of extra layers underneath. Given the unseasonably warm weather we’ve been experiencing in the South East this winter, that hasn’t been a problem: we’ve both teamed the jersey with the Isadore Apparel sleeveless merino baselayer which has been providing just the right amount of warmth on 10-12 Celsius days. On chillier outings, a gilet over the top has been enough to keep us warm.

The Long Sleeved Heritage Jersey from Svelte London

 

We both love the look of the Heritage jersey. The muted shade, dull brass button and natural fibres make for an elegant bit of kit that doesn’t scream “WE CYCLED HERE!” when you meet friends for a drink in the pub. Worn with cycling jeans rather than tights, it’s a jersey which could even be worn in the office without raising an eyebrow making it a useful addition to the wardrobe.

Both jerseys have been machine washed with a gentle wool detergent at 30 degrees and air dried – they’re spot on post-laundering.

The Long Sleeved Heritage Jersey from Svelte London

 

Svelte London have produced an elegant and useful piece of cyclewear with the Long Sleeved Heritage cycling jersey. We wholeheartedly approve of the styling and functionality, but would recommend going up a size.

You can purchase the jersey from Svelte London for £110.00.

 

Cycle ClothingReviewsWomen's Cycling

Getting warmer: a review of the Rapha women’s winter collection

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The Rapha women’s winter collection features some very good looking pieces of kit; the long sleeved cycling jerseys and jackets are particularly smart. I’ve been testing the Rapha Women’s Souplesse Jacket and Women’s Padded Tights in recent weeks.

The Rapha Souplesse women’s jacket is soft and comfortable to wear. It’s lightweight, hugs the body in a very comforting way and doesn’t ride up.

This is my first winter of road cycling and, as a winter creature who longs for cosy knits and boots all year long, I’ve been looking forward to bundling up and putting cold weather kit to the test. But this year, it’s hard. We’re now well into December yet the mercury remains frustratingly high: the challenge isn’t keeping warm, it’s staying dry and upright when high winds are buffeting you from every direction. For those of you reading from cooler climes, it’s been so mild this week that I’ve been able to wear short fingered gloves for commuting… So, while I’m testing winter kit, it’s not being put through its paces in brutally cold conditions and I can’t comment on its effectiveness in subzero temperatures.

The Rapha women’s winter collection features some very good looking pieces of kit; the long sleeved cycling jerseys and jackets are particularly smart.

I’ve cycled in the Rapha Women’s Souplesse Jacket and Women’s Padded Tights four times now, in temperatures ranging from 6 to 12 degrees Celsius. They have also been worn in rain, drizzle and high winds. The jacket has been laundered twice and the tights four times.

Let’s start at the top and work our way down.

 

Rapha Women’s Souplesse Jacket

Style & Design Features

  • Water repellent
  • Form fitting
  • Reflective detailing for visibility at night
  • Zipped pockets on the sleeve and back for credit card and keys
  • Cosy brushed lining for warmth and softness

The Women’s Souplesse Jacket is available in black and pink, or the colour I’m wearing, which is described as blue. I can assure you it is not blue. It is most definitely purple – a lovely strong violet, with a contrasting back in a deep magenta hue.

Rapha Women's Souplesse Jacket

Comfort & Performance

The Rapha Souplesse jacket is beautifully soft and comfortable to wear: it’s lightweight and hugs the body in a very comforting way. The lining is fleecy and feels, for want of a better word, snuggly against bare skin on milder days.

The off-centre zip is sturdy and easy to adjust one-handed if you’re feeling warm as you pedal (as I invariably do).

Rapha Women's Souplesse Jacket

The jacket is fairly water resistant: not one to wear in a torrential downpour, but fine for drizzly outings. It’s breathable and the brushed lining means that it doesn’t feel damp and clammy making it a useful cycling jacket for the recent mild, damp weather.

Overall, the Rapha Souplesse Women’s Jacket is a cracking cut: feminine, flattering and not at all boxy.

It washed well at 30 degrees and dried overnight easily.

 

Fit & Sizing

The Rapha Women’s Souplesse Jacket errs a little on the small side: I’m wearing size Large which is comfortable but comparable in size to a Medium at Isadore Apparel or Rivelo. I’d definitely recommend ordering one size up from your usual.

I can comfortably fit a baselayer and jersey underneath the jacket which has plenty of stretch: it doesn’t feel restrictive with extra layers underneath.The sleeves are very nice: close fitting, plenty long enough and featuring a comfortable contrast cuff which feels and looks good.

Rapha Women's Souplesse Jacket

I would like the jacket to be a little longer in the front: the back is spot on but an extra inch on that front hem would be welcome. I’m not unusually tall at 5’7″ but it feels a little bit skimpy in body length.

Overall, the Rapha Women’s Souplesse Jacket is a cracking cut: feminine, flattering and not at all boxy.

 

To buy, or not to buy?

£190 isn’t cheap, but for a good winter outer layer, you can expect to pay upwards of £150. If we compare it to the well known Castelli Gabba and the lesser known Isadore Apparel Women’s Merino Membrane Softshell Jacket, I would say it is more versatile and comfortable than the former, and more flattering but less robust than the latter.

The Rapha Women’s Souplesse is a beautifully cut, comfortable women’s cycling jacket which is flattering for feminine curves with plenty of well thought out design features. I like it a lot – it makes me feel foxy when I’m out riding, which has to be a good sign. I would say it’s a Buy. (Or one to put on your Christmas list).

  

Rapha Women’s Padded Tights

Style & Design Features

  • High-rise waist with grippy waistband to keep them in place
  • ThermoRoubaix fleece-lined fabric for warmth
  • Back pocket
  • Reflective calf stripes for visibility

The Rapha Women’s Padded Tights come in one colour, black. They’re a really true, solid black and they’re not remotely see-through which is always good. (Nobody needs to see my cellulite rippling through flimsy Lycra.) I do think it’s a shame the tights don’t come in navy like the ¾ version; I’d happily switch it up from time to time.

Rapha women's winter collection

 

 

Comfort & Performance

One of the nicest things about these tights is the absence of any uncomfortable zips around the ankles. Zips to the side hurt my ankle bones and zips at the back hurt my Achilles tendon, so I’m very happy to wear a pair of women’s cycling tights that have a stretchy enough opening that no zips are required.

Rapha Women's Winter Tights

The waistband stays put nice and high thanks to the cut and the silicone grippers, so there’s no danger of a gap appearing between top and bottoms. (Nobody likes a gap between their top and bottom when they’re pedaling).

That said, for those of us with – let’s say – less-than-perfect abs, there is no escaping the fact that waist tights result in muffin top in a way that bib tights never do. I think I will be probably stick to bib tights in the future for a smoother silhouette (at least until the, erm, 100 stomach crunches I’m doing each day take effect….)

(Oh, who am I kidding? My squidgy abdomen is here to stay…)

The chamois pad is very comfortable indeed, and the tights have washed well (four times now, at 30 degrees and air-dried overnight).

The waistband stays put thanks to the high cut and silicone grippers, so there’s no danger of a gap between top and bottoms. (Nobody likes a gap between their top and bottom when they’re pedalling in the cold).

 

To buy, or not to buy?

The fabric is superb. The pad is very comfortable. They sit nicely on the waist, and they don’t have any irritating zips around the ankles. They get a wholehearted thumbs up for quality and comfort.

If you’re a dedicated winter warrior in need of comfort and warmth year round, the Rapha Women’s Winter Tights are a sound purchase – despite the slightly wince-inducing £150 price tag.

You can buy both items from the Rapha.cc website.

 

Cycling TipsWomen's Cycling

Five things I wish I’d known when I started road cycling

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  1. Being saddle sore is not something to just accept. It is not a given. A lot of women labour under the misapprehension that cycling is inherently painful but it needn’t be this way – a saddle mapping session can put an end to that particular pain in the backside. Being saddle sore is markedly different for women than for men. Yes, your actual bum might ache – but it’s the chafing and tears on that exposed soft tissue which does the damage. A saddle mapping session can ensure that your weight is on your sit bones, not that delicate tissue.

  2. I needn’t have worried so much about not being quick enough. When I started road cycling, I was concerned that I would be too slow for Matt to want to ride with me. I thought it would make his rides boring and that he would be frustrated. But I was wrong. Sure, to begin with I wasn’t the fastest cyclist on the block; but riding with my Matt consistently spurred me on to build my speed and stamina. I trust him implicitly when we’re riding and after a few months we began practicing draughting. That means he takes the brunt of the wind while I tag on to his rear wheel, spinning quickly without it killing me and allowing me to keep pace. And now, we ride together so much and push each other so hard that he sometimes ends up draughting me, because I’m really quite fast now….

  3. Clipless pedals and cleats are not something to be afraid of. It does seem counterintuitive, to attach your feet to your bicycle. I’ll admit that the prospect filled me with horror. But the benefits far, far outweigh the disadvantages. Early doors, I’m not saying that you won’t forget to unclip, and then fall off, probably in an embarrassing fashion. And probably in front of people. It happens to the best of us. But in a very, very short space of time, unclipping becomes second nature. Matt taught me to unclip the moment I see something that may cause me to stop: a queue of traffic, a roundabout looming, a pedestrian crossing. If you don’t need to stop, you can just push down and carry on. But if you do need to stop, you’re prepared. Don’t be scared – clipless pedals are a wonderful invention.

  4. It doesn’t matter how slowly you go up hills: the point is that you go up them, full stop. I managed to work myself into a panic early doors about hills. It didn’t help that I hadn’t really got to grips with my gears and had a miserable experience trying to get to the top of a grade 4 climb in the big cog. I’ve sorted that problem now, but  I still worry about gradients sometimes. On group rides in particular, I have a tendency to worry that I’ll be too slow and might hold other riders up. Well, so be it. If the rest of the group have to wait for me at the top, chances are they’ll be glad of a sip of water and a bite of flapjack. It’s not about getting up there quickly, and if you try, you’re more likely to get into difficulties. Just take it steady. Use the easiest gear. Keep to the left so that people can overtake you. Don’t keep looking for the top of the hill; I find it easier to just keep my head down rather than looking at the gradient. Remember to breathe. Let the weight of your legs do the work. And, it takes some practice, but get out of the saddle if you possibly can – it really does make climbing easier.

  5. It never gets easier, you just go faster. How right Greg LeMond is. After completing a hilly sportive in Yorkshire and the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100, I really thought a 63 mile sportive in Cambridgeshire would be a doddle. Well, I was wrong. I sweated, my legs were sore, I ached, and I was fed up. But my average speed was 16.3mph, compared to 15.5mph for the 100 and 13.8mph in Yorkshire. It wasn’t easier; but I was faster. And it was worth all of the pain for a Gold place!
Vamper's Victoria took up road cycling in April 2015 after agreeing to take part in the Prudential. It swiftly took over her life and now she is a regular sportive rider and spends more time thinking about bikes than anything else.
Vamper’s Victoria took up road cycling in April 2015 after agreeing to take part in the Prudential. It swiftly took over her life and now she is a regular sportive rider and spends more time thinking about bikes than anything else.
Cycle ClothingReviewsWomen's Cycling

Isadore Apparel strikes gold with Merino Membrane Softshell Women’s Jacket

Womens merino membrane softshell jacketThe Isadore Apparel Merino Membrane cycling jacket is waterproof, cosy and really, really chic
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I spend half of my life being much too warm and sweaty – and the other half being much too cold. My body’s temperature regulation seems, frankly, poor. In the absence of a thermostat engineer for the human body, I make as much use of natural, wicking fibres in my clothing as possible – particularly merino wool which dries quickly, doesn’t retain odours and insulates well.

The Women’s Merino Membrane Softshell Jacket from Isadore Apparel is a very smart piece of women’s cyclewear. Harnessing the breathability and warmth of merino is common for baselayers but unusual when it comes to outer layers. It’s a good move by the Isadore Apparel design team: it’s all very well wearing wicking base layers, but if your outer garments trap moisture, no amount of merino technology in your undergarments will keep you fresh and dry. As a particularly sweaty human being, breathability in all layers is important to me. It’s not that I mind sweating: it releases toxins and keeps my skin healthy. But on cool days, my temperature drops quickly once I stop pedalling and within five minutes I’m shivering in damp, sweaty garments.

The designers at Isadore Apparel have worked hard to develop a jacket that regulates temperature.

Isadore Apparel Merino Membrane Softshell Jacket
Victoria sporting the Merino Membrane Softshell Jacket. We particularly like the soft grey suedette and neon reflective detailing.

 

Style, Comfort & Performance

The waterproof and windproof Merino Membrane Softshell Jacket is beautiful. The fabrics are lovely: the merino mix lining is soft and smooth and glides over a long sleeved jersey without friction. The soft grey suedette detailing on the shoulders and zip placket adds interest to a simple style and the brushed lining inside the collar is soft and cosy for rides on cool days.

With style credentials to boot, this is one garment for which it’s worth raiding those rainy day savings.

The design features are really well thought out: reflective logos and a neon zip add visibility for night riding and a waterproof, chunky zip which is easy to manipulate with cold fingers or in wet conditions. I particularly like the nifty lower back extension which tucks away neatly when it’s not needed, but in wet conditions adds another layer of protection to keep your bum dry. And alongside the merino fibres which aid breathability, there are zippered ventilation pockets to increase airflow as required.

On its first outing, the weather was unseasonably mild but damp and blustery. I regretted wearing both a baselayer and a jersey beneath the jacket, but with the vents unzipped and the jacket partially open, I was only marginally too warm. Its second outing was at zero degrees Celsius, and I was a very comfortable temperature with a baselayer, jersey and jacket vents zipped shut.

The pockets are generous and secure with a zipped compartment for valuables and reflective details for visibility in headlights.

Isadore Apparel Merino Membrane Softshell Jacket
The jacket features a merino mix lining which is both warm and moisture wicking. The pockets are generous and secure with a zip fastening for valuables.

 

Fit & Sizing

The jacket is generously cut: the sleeves and body are plenty long enough and the elasticity of the fabric provides ease of movement.

Isadore sizing is surprisingly generous compared to other high end cycling brands. I’m wearing a size medium jacket and it is perfect for my 5’8”, UK 12 frame – even on the chest, where tops are usually a little too snug for me. The elasticity of the jacket means that you needn’t order a size up to be able to fit an extra layer underneath on cold days.

Isadore Apparel Merino Membrane Softshell Jacket
The fabric has high elasticity making it comfortable on the bike. The added stretch also allows extra layers to be added on cold days.

 

Value for money

The Merino Membrane Softshell Jacket doesn’t come cheap. At €255 (around £180) it is an investment piece on a par with the Castelli Gabba and Rapha Souplesse jackets, for cyclists who are determined to ride throughout the winter.

The Vamper team think Isadore’s cycle wear warrants the high price tags: the quality is second to none and the styling stands out for riders who want something a little bit different. This is a very well cut, robust jacket which will keep you warm and dry in winter conditions.

In terms of both practicality and style, this jacket deserves top marks. I hope the Isadore Apparel team launch another colour option: the softshell gilet in Marsala from the men’s range is a gloriously Autumnal shade that I’d love to see in the women’s collection.

Isadore Apparel Merino Membrane Softshell Jacket
The jacket is comfortable on milder days worn with only a jersey. When the mercury drops, it is roomy enough to easily accommodate extra layers for warmth. We can’t fault the Women’s Merino Membrane Softshell Jacket.
Cycle ClothingReviewsWomen's Cycling

Vamper warms up with Primal’s winter cycling kit

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Victoria

Tested: Primal’s Covi Women’s Black Tights, £65.00 and Lucerne 2nd Layer Jacket, £90.00.

Until now I’ve only cycled in bib shorts and tights, liking the smooth line they create underneath a jersey with a midriff prone to a spot of muffin top. However, every day that I dress in my cycling kit, I invariably have to dash to the loo before leaving the house, and have to strip off my jersey to get my bibs down, then carefully tuck my baselayer in again and pull my jersey back on before I can get on my way. It’s a bit of a rigmarole when you’re trying to get out of the house for work and I’ve toyed with adding waist tights to my commuter cycling wardrobe for versatility.

The tights sit high enough that there’s no danger of a gap between my jersey and waistband – and there’s barely a hint of muffin top.

This month I’ve been testing Primal’s Covi Women’s Black Tights, which retail at £60.00. The tights are a true black with reflective zip detailing at the ankles for added visibility pedalling at night. The brushed back thermal lining is soft and cosy, and while the pad doesn’t appear particularly robust, it’s actually very comfortable for commuting. After four washes it hasn’t moved and has retained its shape and firmness. The tights sit high enough on the waist that there’s no danger of a gap appearing between my jersey and waistband, and it’s also high enough to prevent much midriff overhang. My only criticism of the tights are the zips down the back of the legs which have a tendency to dig in to the Achilles tendon.

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I wore the tights with Primal’s Lucerne 2nd Layer Jacket. The Lucerne sits somewhere between a long sleeved jersey and a jacket. It’s warm, making it comfortable on cool autumn days, but not water resistant. It’s comfortable for the mild November we’ve had this year with just a baselayer underneath.

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Primal sizing is generous. I’m wearing size Medium in both garments and there is plenty of room; the cut is looser than Castelli and Dhb. I’m 5 ft 8″ and generally wear UK size 12.

 

Matt

Tested: Onyx Bib Knickers, £75.00 and Lexicon 2nd Layer Jacket.

It’s been an unusually mild start to the autumn. It may be mid-November, but several days have been too mild enough for full tights and jackets. In this weather, three-quarter bib knickers fit the bill nicely and I’ve been testing Primal’s Onyx bib knickers.

In the mild weather we’ve been experiencing this autumn, three-quarter bib knickers fit the bill nicely.

They’re really comfortable to wear: the fabric is thermal and very soft, and a true jet black which looks sharp. I particularly like the white inverted V detailing on the back of the leg – it’s a nice design feature which would be even better with a reflective finish for added visibility at night. Hopefully Primal will incorporate this in the future.

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The bibs are nicely designed with broad straps across the shoulders; they sit well. And, crucially, the chamois pad is comfortable. It hasn’t been tested on any long rides, but for commuting it definitely fits the bill. At £75 these bib knickers represent good value for money for a comfortable and nicely designed product.

I’ve been wearing the Onyx bib knickers with the Lexicon 2nd Layer Jacket. As Victoria found with the Lucerne, it falls somewhere between a jersey and a jacket. For damp British climes, it isn’t versatile enough for everyday wear; it’s warm, but wouldn’t replace a Gabba-style outerlayer because it isn’t waterproof or windproof. The sizing is extremely generous: I’m wearing size Medium which in other brands is a snug fit. (I’m 6ft tall and usually wear a 38″ chest/32″ waist). It would probably be worth ordering a size smaller than your usual.

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FeaturedNewsWomen's Cycling

UnitedHealthcare Pro Team announces 2016 women’s lineup

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Following a successful second season, the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team has announced the roster for its 2016 women’s racing team.

A number of riders from the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team’s debut season will return for 2016, including team captain Lauren Tamayo and track and road racer Cari Higgins.

Coryn Rivera returns to the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Blue Train on the back of several sprint victories in 2015, including a stage three win and the sprinter’s green jersey at the USA Pro Challenge where she earned a place on the 2015 World Championship road race roster.

Katie Hall will return following her breakthrough season with the team in which she took 2nd overall at the Tour of the Gila. That success was followed by a high-profile win in the opening stage of the Women’s Amgen Tour of California.

Rushlee Buchanan, Abby Mickey, Laura Brown, and Linda Villumsen will also return for the 2016 season. Villumsen will sport the coveted Word Champion’s rainbow jersey throughout 2016 in time trial events with the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team.

Speaking about the 2015 season, General Manager Mike Tamayo said: “When I look back at the season, I see wins from many different riders, in many different types of a races. As a director and general manager, a record like that shows depth, adaptability, and most of all, effective teamwork. That makes us at the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team immensely proud of these riders and this program.”

The team is also set to welcome five new riders in 2016.

Reigning British national time trial champion Hayley Simmonds (pictured below with Vamper’s Victoria at a recent VoxWomen event) boosts the team’s time trial lineup for 2016. Simmonds commented: “I am incredibly excited about starting my professional cycling career with UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team. The team has a very strong roster and an extremely professional set-up which I think will provide me with the perfect environment in which to develop further as I make the move to full-time rider.”

Hayley Simmonds (right) pictured with Vamper's Victoria and fellow pro cyclist, Sweden's Sara Olsson.
Hayley Simmonds (right) pictured with Vamper’s Victoria and fellow pro cyclist, Sweden’s Sara Olsson.

All-rounder and former two-time junior Canadian National champion Annie Ewart joins the team from Optum Pro Cycling following her breakaway victory on stage two at the Tour of the Gila and her win at the Dominguez Hills Criterium in 2015.

Former Dutch national champion and veteran racer Iris Slappendel will bring years of high-level racing experience to the team. Slappendel has wins at Thuringen Rundfahrt (2010) and Route de France (2014) under her belt.

Colombian rider Diana Carolina Peñuela, who was victorious at the 2015 Criterium Manizales Fair, will bolster the team.

Finally, American cyclist Shawn Morelli, 2014 UCI Para-Cycling Road Race World Champion and 2015 World Championship Para-cycling Track Pursuit Bronze Medalist, will complete the 2016 lineup.

 2016 UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team Roster, Women

  • Abby Mickey
  • Annie Ewart
  • Cari Higgins
  • Coryn Rivera
  • Diana Carolina Peñuela
  • Hayley Simmonds
  • Iris Slappendel
  • Katie Hall
  • Laura Brown
  • Lauren Tamayo
  • Linda Villumsen
  • Rushlee Buchanan
  • Shawn Morelli