Summer kit is great. We all like a racy jersey and a pair of razor-sharp bib shorts. Riding light, clocking up mileage in the sun…this is what we live for.
Bad weather kit is something different. Sure, it can look good – stylish in a gritty, weatherproof kind of way – but there’s more to it. A really decent piece of cold-weather kit inspires something deeper.
When a jacket has kept out the weather on a proper grim northern day, and you know that without it you’d have been desperate with cold, you start to trust in it. And rely on it. Even form a kind of attachment to it.
Like a loyal dog, perhaps, or an old friend, refusing to leave your side when you need it most.
The Insulated ‘Test Your Mettle’ Jacket from Pearson is that loyal canine presence.
It’s a lightly padded weather-proof soft-shell, and it’s ability to capture and trap a layer of body heat is superb. This means that when you’re working hard you can ride reasonably light in cold conditions. A good long sleeve base layer underneath and I’ve found it good down to about 3 or 4 degrees C.
With a gilet stuffed in the pocket for insurance you’re good to go.
The outer shell will repel a decent shower of rain – the satisfying sight of water beading up and running off testifies to that – and what it lacks in full waterproofing it makes up in breathability. I’ve found it to be bone dry inside, allowing moisture to escape even when I can feel the sweat soaking into the buff around my neck.
The wind-proofing also seems to balance with that breathability to offer something close to the best of all worlds; in a wide range of conditions it keeps you warm and dry.
The fit is nice and racy – cut high at the front with a dropped hem at the back – and the jacket is beautifully light in weight. Personally, I hate that feeling of winter riding all layered up like the Michelin Man; I feel nothing like a cyclist.
With this jacket the weather protection, in relation to it’s comfort and weight, is really rather lovely. Were I not writing about tough-guy/gal cycling in epic weather I would say it is all cuddly and snuggly.
But I am.
So I won’t.
And if all that weren’t enough, a great deal of the material used here is recycled; sustainability being a Pearson priority.
As a brand, Pearson have a history stretching back over 150 years; they’re recognised as the world’s oldest bike business, no less. Clothing, however, is a new development for them, for which they’ve joined forces with Simon Huntsman, former head of R&D for Rapha, and Chris Vandrill, an expert in modern sustainable outerwear.
The chaps at Pearson tell me that this first range “promises to be 85% sustainable, with plans to become fully sustainable within four years.” In the context of what the science tells us about the climate of our planet; timely.
All in all, the ‘Test Your Mettle’ Jacket is a phenomenal piece of kit. Good enough to tempt me out on the bike in the winter months. Convincing me that it’s got my back. Loyal and unwavering in the face of a northern winter.
Pearson, potentially, are a clothing brand to watch.