Wool

Saturday was the long-awaited Wheeler’s Brunch. It was great to put so many faces to so many familiar blogs. It was also a good chance to bring up the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain (whose inaugural meeting was running at the same time) with a group of like-minded people.

One topic I remember being discussed was what to wear when cycling in the cold. The nature of the meeting meant that there was a general preference for “normal” clothing over specialised cycling gear. The material which many people are re-discovering at the moment is wool. This seems particularly poetic seeing as wool is a fabric which we, as a species, have had for a long time, it works well but for a while we forgot about it. Instead we started to use newer fabrics which it turned out came with certain drawbacks.

I am currently re-discovering wool (and I am not alone). During the big freeze around Xmas, I started to wear wool socks to stop my toes icing over. They were notably better than the synthetic fibre socks I had been using prior to that point; great insulating properties, resistant to absorbing odours and able to absorb a reasonable amount of moisture without feeling particularly damp. They also have a certain pleasing “Cozy” quality which is difficult to articulate. Rather than buying wool socks from a bike shop, I decided to go to Marks and Spencer, where the price of such socks is lower (reflecting the fact that they are not regarded as “gear” in M&S).

I have since (after a bit of a struggle) managed to find some high percentage wool gloves:

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I intend to pair these gloves with some unlined leather gloves, for use during particularly windy or rainy conditions. Even on their own they are noticeably better than the Altura gloves I used to use.

Of course, the whole point of cycling in normal clothes is that you can just hop on the bike without having to give it much thought, whilst cycling was a consideration whilst buying these items, my main aim was just staying warm. Thankfully the socks and gloves are just as good off the bike as they are on it.

My rediscovery of wool is not limited to being outdoors, as I write this I am sat in my flat, the temperature is about 14°C but I am comfortably warm thanks to my tartan wool blanket.

Muted Blue Stewart

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One thought on “Wool

  1. Ah, wool! I've drank the wool kool-aid myself.One thing that's great about thinner, modern, "technical" wool is that it also works great in summer. I wore wool t-shirts on my Olympic Peninsula tour last summer, and they worked beautifully. And they don't tend to stink as bad as poly or cotton, which is crucial on a bike tour when you might wear clothing day after day.As for wool gloves, I got a pair of Ibex ones which work good but are already starting to fall apart after a season. I've managed to score some cheap rag wool gloves at military surplus stores here in the US (don't know if there's an equivalent there in the UK.)

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