All hail the mighty Merino

All hail the mighty Merino
15 March 2016 Janine

Ok, no one wants to talk about winter anymore, the sun is shining in England. Winter is so last season. But I’ve learned the secret to a winter of uninterrupted cycling – I feel compelled to impart it.

In the winter of 2015/16 I adopted Rule 9 and became a badass. Period. Every week I went out on my bike come rain or, you know, more rain.


Merino - raising the Baa in winter warmth. (oh come on that's funny)

Merino – raising the Baa in winter warmth. (oh come on that’s funny)


Before we leap fully into spring, losing an hour of time and gaining six pounds of fat due to chocolate consumption, I shall impart what I have learned this winter about kit, before I forget it all and give my washing machine a break from the layers and layers and layers.It’s March so we’re not out of the woods just yet, but last weekend I spent nine hours on Contessa in short sleeved jersey. An oldish dude interrupted my cake eating endeavours on Sunday’s ride; ‘excuse me,’ he said. ‘Yes?’ I replied, thinking he was going to say something friendly. But oh no, he was just looking for a dig at my kit – apparently it was too early in the year for skin.

After last winter I recommended the following setup from the inside out:

// Skins top
// Helly Hanson Thermal
// Bra (optional depending upon gender and week/chocolate consumption)
// Summer jersey x 2
// Bib tights
// Breathable waterproof
// Windstopper

Ok, so either I was actually cycling in Siberia last winter or I just hadn’t quite acclimatised to winter cycling yet. And I also hadn’t discovered the secret to swiping off half of the items on that list. All hail the mighty Merino.

How did I not get told about Merinos before this year? Perhaps all the cyclists were keeping it as secrets to their bad ass-ness. It was on a cafe stop during the Christmas holiday that I learned this little secret from a fellow Penzance Wheeler. We were sat in St Agnes, probably eating cake, and I was shivering due to my lack of Merino.

Without further ado, this is 2016’s winter kit recommendation from the inside out:

// Merino
// Bra (optional depending upon gender and week/chocolate consumption)
// Bib tights
// Jersey
// Windproof that balls up really tiny for on (descents) off (hills)


Finisterre only does ethical layers

Finisterre only does ethical layers


And there you have it. Winter kit in four easy layers. I thank you Penzance Wheelers.

This is the one I used all winter from Mountain Warehouse. It was twenty quid and washed up well and kept me warm and dry. I do think that’s it’s worth investing in an ethical version though – Finisterre’s version is made with love and scrupulous ethics.

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