Earth, Wind and Rider Wool Jersey
- Classic Styling
- High Quality Wool
- Durable Knit
- 1% For the Planet
Reviewed by SPDrecrd
Overall rating out of 10: 10
Test Ride Background:
I had ridden in the Earth, Wind and Rider wool jersey a few times but, the real test came when I did the Five Boro Bike Tour in NYC. This Spring on the East Coast has been a cool one to say the least. The Five Boro ride was in early May, my compatriots and I were going to have to be on a 5:11am train to get into Manhattan in time to get into start position for the ride. At 5:11am it was a brisk 45 degrees (Fahrenheit). The temperature was supposed to go up to 66 by noon. So, I would be riding on a day where the temperature range would be about 20 degrees. Ranging from cold to comfortable....
4am: The alarm sounds... It's pitch black. My bed is super comfy and I really don't want to leave it. I drag my butt out, still groggy... head toward the shower.
4:30am: Gear up in Bib shorts, Pedal Pushers Jersey and Earth, Wind and Rider wool jersey.
4:45am Phil shows up, we get on our bikes and ride to pick up Gary.
5am: Gary, Phil and I are at the train station. Gary and Phil are both grousing about how cold it is. I am cozy and warm. I comment "Wow, this jersey makes my feel like I never got out of my bed this morning. You know that warm cozy feeling your bed has when you first wake up? The one where the comforter is nice and toasty, the bed is perfect, perhaps you are snuggled up next to someone, you are super happy and never want to leave it? I have that right now!"
5:01am: Phil and Gary are angry and envious. Expletives are exchanged.
Wool? Wool is for winter hats and sweaters isn't it? If you are a long time cyclist, you might have worn a wool jersey when you started riding years ago. Since then you might have switched over to synthetic technical fabrics. I started cycling using the later and never really even thought about using a wool jersey, most of the people I ride with actually raised an eyebrow when I told then that I'd be reviewing one. It seems wool has fallen out of view from the masses in terms of athletic apparel. But when you think about it, wool is one of the most efficient, all-natural, "technical" materials out there. I mean it keeps sheep warm and dry doesn't it? Can you picture a sheep wearing a polyester jersey?
Well anyway, Earth, Wind and Rider is a new company that is bringing back a product/material that hails from old school racing. If you look at the old tattered sepia tone photos of the Tour de France, the ones from the very beginning, the only kind of jerseys you'll see are wool. Why is that? Because it works. It's pretty simple really. The nature of the fibers of wool naturally draws moisture away from your skin to keep you dry.
The jersey I tested for Earth, Wind and Rider is a long sleeve, heavier weight jersey, intended for cool weather. The wool is a bit thicker to trap more air in and thus hold more heat. If you know anything about technical materials (expecially those that are used for colder weather) the key to keeping you warm is trapping air. If a garment can trap a lot of air and block out wind, your body will produce enough heat to keep you comfortable. The really terrific thing about this jersey (among many terrific things) is that it kept my temperature moderated and my skin dry all day long. It's such a beautifully simple thing I can't believe I never thought of wool before. The material is made of such a porous set of fibers that it readily pulls perspiration away from your skin and the fact that you are moving (on a bike) instantly dries the surface of the garment to keep it wicking. The porous nature of the material also lets enough air through to keep you from overheating. Even when the jersey was a bit wet, it still keeps you warm because the fibers can still hold air pockets to insulate.
Now, the first question people have been asking me is, "Is it itchy?". My answer is, at first when you put it on you feel it there. It is not itchy but you know it's there. However, I have to follow that up by saying that as your wear it, it becomes more and more comfortable. Once you have a good sweat going, the jersey feels fantastic. And I might remind you that this jersey is a cooler weather version, so it's made from a thicker knit of the fibers, in order to insulate more.
Fit and Finish:
The Earth, Wind and Rider jersey is nicely constructed and classically styled. From the high quality stitching and front zipper, to the deep rear tri-pocket, the jersey is made for the cyclist. One thing I would watch is how much stuff I'd throw into the rear pockets. The soft stretchy nature of wool may allow the pockets to stretch out under a lot of weight. I had my digital camera back there and the pocket definitely sagged a bit. After a while that might end up blowing the pocket out if you aren't careful.
Great jersey, comfy, does the job, wicks, stylish, feels good, cool idea. A++
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