An Amusement & Diversion for The Genteel Cyclist. Daily.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Jerry Riggs Blurb-O-Mat #3: Pull your head out, winter cyclists!


The wind is cold, the rain is driving into your ears, the mud is ankle deep -- what makes for a miserable commute is ideal cyclocross weather. (Indeed, I skipped yesterday's local CX because the weather was too dang nice -- 85 degrees and sunny, and too much soggy dog crap to be extracted from the backyard lawn.)

Anybody who knows anything will tell you that the perfect fabric for weather like this has always been and will always be wool. And given that most cyclists suffer from overly sensitive skin and an aversion to underpants, there is no better wool than Merino wool. As a single layer, it has greater temperature versatility than any other fabric -- natural or manmade -- anywhere on the planet. Why do you think all those dipshit pioneers in the American West wore black wool suits all summer long?

As soon as the barriers go up and the track gets watered, I insert my head in a Swobo beanie, and it doesn't come out again until the Easter bunny comes around laying eggs. The Swobo is just about the perfect weight of Merino (I forget the exact micron-rating of the wool fibers, but essentially it comes down to this: the smaller the fiber, the smoother the fabric and the thinner the garment.) It's got fabulous ear flaps and a cloth visor -- but both of these can be awkward under a helmet. Flaps up, the helmet cinches have to be eased a bit (enough of a pain in the ass that I am considering stealing a helmet off a large-headed neighborhood kid, and converting it to a permanent winter helmet) and the visor acts like a dishrag when wet, converting into a blindfold. Great for Pin the Tail on the Donkey, but not great for Keep the Cyclist Upright.

So imagine my delight and surprise when I discovered a new British company called Lab-Gear. They've got a beanie that may be the most awesome wool cycling beanie ever to shoot out the business end of a stitcher -- the awesomest for under-the-lid use, anyway.

If they spun wool any thinner and smoother than this, Rumplestiltskin would roll in his grave and Victoria wouldn't have any more Secrets. Imagine putting your head in a woman's silk stockings -- yes, I knew you'd enjoy this as much as me -- just for the purpose of robbing Jack Frost of his needling ways.

True, with the brainbucket off, it looks a bit like a swimming cap from the 1976 Soviet Olympic swimteam. But those of us who live in cold and wet cycling locations learned a long time ago that being a victim of fashion is far preferable to being a victim of the weather.

As a bonus, we negotiated a special dealio for Pinch Flat readers. If you want to try one out for yourself, they're charging no postage for purchases of their GT beenie, sent straight from the looms of Manchester (or, uh, someplace like that.) Just use the discount code PINCHPOST at their handy online store, and they'll set you up. The savings won't entirely take the sting off the deeply devalued dollar, but it'll surely feel like you saved the price of a pint o' domestic lager.

Full disclosure: Lab-Gear sent the Boss a free trial GT beanie. The Boss threw it my way knowing my critical faculties have never been sharper; the cold wet weather sharpens them to a razor's edge! Lab-Gear wanted to extend the offer to you, even if I'd savaged their beenie with a wooden shoe and pinking sheers. If YOU have products or services that you'd like to put before the fearsome critical faculties of the hyperborean Jerry Riggs, just click the contact link at the top left of the page. The Boss will get back to you.

3 comments:

rigtenzin said...

The discount code didn't work:

"The discount coupon cannot be used
The discount coupon has already been used by someone else or cannot be applied due to the condition it requires is not met. It has been removed from your cart."

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