Being an online store, it's not always that easy to give out advice to customers. We are available to speak to on the phone, we're on Twitter / Facebook and email, but it's not quite the same as a face-to-face chat.
Over the years, our customer base has changed dramatically - with many new riders now enjoying riding a bike - something that we've been happily doing for years.
With all these new riders out there, advice that we used to get passed down on the club run, at races or at the local bike shop is not often out there. So when a customer recently asked "Why do I need a gilet?" I thought I'd put a blog article together.
In simple terms, a gilet is a sleeveless, lightweight jacket, usually made from a windproof fabric. If changeable conditions look like they will effect your ride, a gilet (and arm and knee warmers) can offer some great protection from the elements, and if it happens to warm up, can be easily stored in a rear jersey pocket.
Craft Active Safety Reflective Vest/GiletA gilet (along with a suitable baselayer) can also allow you to carry on riding in long sleeve jerseys for longer before Winter sets in for good when a more bulky, warm Winter jacket is required.
Visibility is also an issue that can be addressed with a gilet. If you commute to work in the dark and ride home in the daylight, or vice versa, adding a fluro/reflective gilet can enhance your presence on the road too.
Although we are not a headline sponsor to any teams this year, we've supplied clothing to Wilier-BigMaggys.com, Horizon Fitness and Matrix Fitness and a breathable, lightweight, windproof and packable gilet is an essential item in any cyclist's drawer - in fact the featured Santini windstopper gilets are all from Andy's cycling drawer!
The combination of GORE's windstopper fabric on the front and a mesh panel on the back provides good compromise offering a windproof layer to protect your chest and increased breathability too. The mesh panel also reduces the volume of the garment allowing the gilet (or vest) to be packed/rolled into a rear jersey pocket.
Why not just wear a rain jacket I hear you say?I personally tend to favour a gilet rather than a jacket. No matter what the latest wonder fabric is, and there's plenty of them out there, a gilet will always breathe better. If you are working hard, adding a hard shell jacket is always the last thing you want to do, if you are out in light rain for 30-60 mins, a hard shell will often mean you get as wet from sweat as you would have done from the rain! Of course if it's heavy rain, and the temparture is cold a hard shell is a good solution like this RAIN jacket from Santini.
New for June 2015: After the incredible success of the Rocket Espresso Milano collection, we have added a gilet to the items available that will also benefit the Dave Rayner Fund. For every gilet sold, the fund will benefit from a £10 donation!