After reading Aurelio Magalhaes book “Noruega by Bike” (Norway by bike) I decided I wanted to buy a Gore-Tex jacket. In the high latitudes, above the arctic circle, weather is apparently quite unstable and even in Summer it can get quite cold, quite quickly. Doesn’t sound like from different from in the UK.
As per Wikipedia’s description, “Gore-Tex is able to repel liquid water while allowing water vapor to pass through, and is designed to be a lightweight, waterproof fabric for all-weather use”.
The fact that the fabric was able to prevent rain and wind to get in, but allow sweat to get out, intrigued me. I started to search for options and quickly realized they came with a price tag I was not accustomed to pay for my cycling clothing.
Nevertheless as soon as price came down a little I decided to go for a Gore Phantom 2.0 softshell jacket. I added a few other options to my Amazon wish list, but one aspect of this jacket I liked was the fact that it had removable “Zip off” sleeves, so if the day starts cold, but turns out warm, you can quickly and easily take the sleeves off.
I really like this Jacket, but in my recent 3 days ride to and around the Isle of Wight I realized that this jacket alone was not enough to keep me warm. Yes, the jacket is water and wind proof, but there is no thermal insulation inside to prevent you from losing warmth (probably the reason why is called a “softshell”).
As I was riding I remembered what Antonio Olinto had written in his books (in Portuguese only) about what he called “the 3 layers technique” to keep warm on a bicycle. He prefers this technique over wearing a single piece of clothing, like a thick winter jacket, because of the versatility it offers in taking any of the layers off quickly and therefore having more control over your body’s temperature while riding a bicycle. The base layer could be something like a breathable long sleeve t-shirt, while the middle layer could be something like a wool sweater with the top exterior layer would have to be made of a material the prevents wind from taking away body warmth.
Despite the price tag the Gore Jacket works, but that alone is not an effective method to keep warm on a cold, windy and wet day bike ride