Sadly, if you do a lot of riding in the UK or countries with a similar climate you are rarely going to experience the warming glare of the sun. What is more likely to meet you as you leave your front door is mild weather, wind or rain, or all three together.
A tad depressing I know but with conditions like these, protecting yourself from the elements becomes your top priority and this has seen versatile short sleeve garments being brought to market by all the major cycling clothing brands.
The original name in top-level outdoor clothing, Gore Bike Wear have their own answer to the questionable British weather and that is the Power Windstopper Soft Shell Short Sleeve Jersey. This garment is designed to be the ideal riding partner for spring, autumn and quite possibly summer riding when the weather is not at its postcard-picturesque best.
Firstly, let's start with the jersey's construction. Gore's Windstopper fabric has become one of the most sought-after materials for cyclists so the fact that the entire jersey is lined with this fabric is a definite plus. Rather than just being your standard shield against the wind, Windstopper keeps the chill out while also allowing you to breathe underneath.
Bin bags are windproof but they offer no breathability whatsoever and for many cyclists that wearing a bin bag feeling is what they get with sub-par windproof clothing. Not the Power Soft Shell Jersey. I've set off in temperatures around 5˚C and been perfectly content with the Power Jersey. Similarly, when I've been out on the road in temperatures around 15˚C the Power is just as comfortable, this is all down to its breathability.
The jersey's ability to transport perspiration away from your skin keeps you cool and dry without that horrible feeling of cold and damp sweat on your skin. While the Power Soft Shell is great at transporting water away, it is also effective at preventing any outside moisture from getting to your skin. While not an advertised feature, the Power Soft Shell Jersey is quite water resistant and more than capable of withstanding a light shower.
What also ties into the jersey's fantastic protection from the elements is its supreme fit. This is one of the best fitting jersey's I have worn with a comfortable arm and shoulder cut and a waist that does not rise up as you ride. I am 6'1 and 82 kilograms and wore a medium, which fitted perfectly over a base layer or just on its own. The superb fit pairs with the elasticated hem to keep the jersey sitting nicely in just about any riding position you can contort yourself into.
Continuing with the theme of a great fit is the high collar and dropped tail. The collar is certainly welcomed on especially brisk rides as it acts like a light scarf to keep you warm and protected. Similarly, the dropped tail prevents road spray from dampening your posterior.
The three rear pockets are made of an especially elasticated material, this allows you to carry all your essentials on longer rides. Thankfully, due to the way that the seams are tapered and the pockets are supported, they do not sag even when fully laden with nutrition, clothing and tools.
Overcast conditions normally bring poor visibility for others on the road so Gore's integration of high-visibility elements like reflective hems and logos is a welcome addition.
An often overlooked feature of any cycling jersey, the larger zipper definitely comes in handy. Often riding in less-than-ideal conditions means wearing unwieldy gloves. Fiddling around with what feels like tiny doll's zip when you have large cumbersome gloves on is irritating, to say the least so the large puller is definitely appreciated.
Riding in temperate climates such as ours here on the British Isles normally means riding at temperatures between 5 and 20˚C (if we're lucky) and this is exactly where the Gore Bike Wear Power Windstopper Soft Shell Short Sleeve Jersey excels. The combination of the industry-leading fabrics and superior fit makes the Power Soft Shell a fantastic alternative to your traditional short sleeve jersey.
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