Cycling’s not all lycra and special shoes
For a lot of people, cycling certainly isn’t all about dressing up lycra and special shoes. Instead, what they want are clothes that are functional on the bike, yet still look good when you arrive at your destination. Being able to get straight off of your bike and head to your desk or a social engagement is a truly empowering feeling.
Thankfully there are a number of companies making stylish, multi-purpose clothing tailored exactly to this requirement. Clothing that is as at home on the bike as it is in the pub.
One such company is Vulpine. Started in 2012 by Nick Hussey, Vulpine aim to produce stylish technical cycling apparel that you’ll actually want to wear for your ride and at your destination. They have an ever increasing range available, from the Polo reviewed here to trousers, shorts and a lovely looking softshell jacket.
The Short Sleeve Merino Polo
Available in black or cobalt blue, the Short Sleeve Merino Polo is perhaps the foundation of the Vulpine range. A garment that is designed with the cyclist in mind, but that – to the untrained eye – looks like a regular, classically tailored British Polo shirt.
Made from 100% New Zealand Merino wool the shirt is incredibly soft to the touch and surprisingly lightweight. The wool is extremely comfortable against the skin – I had expected that “school jumper” itchy feeling, but thankfully was proved wrong.
No one wants a cold back while riding, so the polo is cut a little longer to keep you covered up, and is generally a tailored fit to prevent it from flapping around in the wind as you fly through the city streets.
The shirt also has a couple of additional practical features for the cyclist, such as a single buttoned rear pocket and single chest pocket. Both pockets are adorned with the subtle Vulpine ‘V’ logo which also extends to the stitching on the buttons – a very subtle, but appreciated touch. The rear pocket also has a reflective trim which can help you stay seen in low light and at night.
As befits a garment designed for physical activity, all of the seams are flat-stitched to avoid any annoying chaffing and the style credentials are upheld by them being sewn in attractive contrasting colours.
Merino wool is it naturally anti-bacterial and odour-resistant and provides wonderful temperature regulation – keeping you cool when it’s warm and warm when it’s cool. Both of these features are particularly handy in a garment that is very much intended to be multi-purpose.
So what we have is a comfortable, well designed and manufactured jersey that is practical on the bike, and stylish off of it.
I’ve been wearing my Vulpine Short Sleeve Merino Polo almost continually (granted under several other layers!) for the last month and it still looks as fresh as the day that I unpacked it from it’s musette like packaging.
My only real criticism of the jersey is the usability of the pockets. The front pocket is a little ‘shallow’ for most uses, and being a relatively slim fit putting anything remotely bulky in it feels uncomfortable, and items in the rear pocket tend to drag the jersey down due to it’s lightweight materials.
The Polo comes in at a seemingly pricey £70, but that compares well to other companies producing similar offerings – for example the Rapha equivalent is £125!
All in all, the Vulpine Short Sleeve merino polo is a wonderful addition to any cyclists spring/summer wardrobe.
Overall Score 4.5/5 – Stylish and practical, only let down by the usability of the pockets
Available from Vulpine.cc for £70.
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.