Guest post by Stephan Caspar
Stephan saw our tweet giving a shout out to Howies for their lovely new Slipstream cycling jersey – so impressed Stephan went into the Cardigan Bay Emporium that is Howies Shop and picked one up and he very kindly has reviewed it for us below.
So I married a Welsh girl and I’ve been visiting Cardigan Bay for a while now. It is a beautiful place, with the finest beaches, the friendliest people and the hardest hills.
It’s only recently I’ve been bringing my bicycle with me and I’m wishing I had younger legs. Today I ride past Cardigan Castle, across the Teifi up through St Dogmaels and along the estuary to Poppit Sands, the sun is beaming and it feels like Spring’s been hiding here all the time, whilst the rest of us are still coping with winter.
I think the sunshine might be fooling me through, there’s definitely a chill in the air and the shade is colder.
I’m wearing Howies new Slipstream Shortsleeve Jersey, I think I might be one of the first civilians to try it out, ordered last night and picked up from the warehouse in person. They’re a friendly bunch and if you don’t know the Howies story by now, you should pop along to their website or pick up a catalogue. I think it’s the only clothing catalogue I’ve read back to back and then recommended to a friend. They make clothes for doing things outdoors, simple as that, and they want to be proud of what they do. They might have swerved slightly off track when they were bought out, only that they seemed less inclined to do fun things or try out new ideas; but now they’re back in charge and this Jersey marks an important and exciting new episode in the company’s life. I sense great things ahead.
So, first thing is that the website doesn’t do justice to this jersey, because this is all about how it feels. Honestly, I thought I’d got the wrong size, because there didn’t seem to be much of it, but my word it’s stretchy – not tight, but fits snugly and feels right. The material is poly and elasti something or other, but happily it’s not like lycra, but much softer. I’m wearing my arm warmers out too and the material really isn’t the same, I could be accused of ruining the look. At the moment it’s colour by Henry Ford, and I’m wondering whether this will change in the future, but I hope it doesn’t, because it’s smart and classic. There are no seams, the body is spun as a tube, breathable side panels and a breathable chevron section running up the back. There are reflective strips sewn into the arms, just like the back pocket which has a zip and two more on either side.
I had the usual minipump, innertube, multitool and phone, I’m not sure whether I could pack a raincoat in there, but I’m sure I could put a bottle in one of the two side pockets. There’s a retro feel with the collar, zip to the chest and a discreet logo on the bottom band which brings it all together so that it fits neatly. It does show off my lumps and bumps and now I’m cutting back on bread and diary.
As I head up from Poppit I’m climbing the back roads to Eglwyswrw, the view back across the Bay is spectacular, my lungs are heaving and legs looking forward to the descent. This jersey performs well, I mean that’s what it’s about, breathable, light, warm, it’s got the lot. I think it might even make riding a bike more pleasurable. When I get ready to go out my kid says I’m wearing my cycling costume, and sometimes I do wish I had superhuman strength and endurance, but now he says I look smart, which is a real compliment. It’s about time Howies made this jersey, they always had it in them. I hope it’s the start of more, but I know they’ll take their time and only make something to be proud of, and I sense they’re really chuffed about these jerseys and this new range.
The quality is superb, the fit great and the look precise. If you only buy one jersey, honestly you could do no better.