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10 Must-Have features of Windproof Bike Jackets for Cyclists

Last night’s ride has shown that although technically warmer weather has arrived, it being May and all, ‘ne’er cast a clout till May is out’ still holds true. (that is, don’t take off your thermals till June!) And I wish that I had worn my new bike jacket! This post looks at the features any cyclist would want from their bicycle jackets, and why.

Last night on my mountain bike I froze.

I am in the habit of still wearing road bike cycling tights under my lycra bike shorts at this time of year, because I quickly adopted the whole idea of cold enough for sleeves, it’s cold enough for knees.  And I have been grateful.  Buy despite my t-shirt being made to wick away the sweat and jumper being a thinner thermal number made more for hill walking than cycling, I got very cold.

I hadn’t accounted for the wind chill factor when I stuck my nose out of the door to see what I should wear on the ride.  Careering down hill at around 30mph on some stretches really tells when you have peddled hard to get up it in the first place, and the sweat has soaked your top half through.

Odd that really, because even though the sweat was greater a couple of nights ago when wearing my Altura waterproof for a whole ride against the never forthcoming rain, I have never been warmer.  The wind cut factor of the material with mild breathability factor – I have yet to come across a system that can cope with my sweat producing pores- was fantastic and I stayed toasty throughout the ride, if a little sweaty.

I should have worn my windproof jacket last night.

I did wonder though about what I should be looking for in cycling jackets, and these were my top thoughts.

  • High on breathability
  • High on wind cut
  • Close cut to avoid the sail affect if slowing me going up hill or down hill, or where the wind is trying to rip my skin off.
  • Some waterproofing, though if it was my only layer at least strong sharp shower.
  • A covered zip to avoid uncomfortable through drafts on my chest.
  • Can I unzip with one hand whilst sill riding?
  • Enough shoulder stretch- I have broad shoulders from weight training
  • Adjustable wrist closures to seal against the elements.
  • Packability.  My Altura goes into it’s back pocket but the package is too big to fit into my jersey!  I spent 10 minutes on Friday taking it off, stuffing it into itself, then un-stuffing it because there was no storage.
  • Lightweight

Checking online, whilst nothing is perfect, the wiggle DHB clear race cycle jacket at under £30 is a heck of a lot of jacket that seems to fit the bill, and may be something which I pick up very soon.

Until then, I cast no clouts!