Our Trek and Run team has just completed a 650km human powered Coast to Coast crossing of Sri Lanka, with 622kms of that being on mountain bikes. The longest day’s ride was 97km and the highest temperature recorded was 42 degrees centigrade. We wore Gore Bikewear all the time and was very happy that we did as it protected us against heat and sun, as well as the rigors of riding all that way, superbly. This is a run down of the kit I wore and what I think of it.
OXYGEN REFLEX FZ JERSEY -Â For the long-distance racing cyclist. Reflective panels on the jersey improve visibility at dusk or in a tunnel.
Both of the men in our team wore this shirt. Personally, I preferred the longer sleeved FZ Jersey, which I’ll talk about next, simply because it covered my lower arms and protected me from sunburn (our Sri Lankan team member liked this one though as he had dark skin already so didn’t have to worry about sunburn). You can see the effectiveness of the reflective panels in the photo below, it was taken with the camera flash on, so the panels are illuminated as they would be in a car’s headlights.
I never felt overheated, even on the hottest days (it never got below 25, even in the highlands, and lower down it was generally around 35). As for garment care, I’d wash it out each night that I did wear it and it was always dry by morning, uncreased.
The back pockets are trustworthy. I was filming our tour so I had a Go Pro and a Garmin Virb action cameras on me all all times and these had to be stored when not in use. I was hesitant about trusting the Garmin to the pockets at first as it’s a pricey camera but I soon learnt that the pockets were deep and stable, and that the cameras weren’t going to fall out.
It’s a great shirt and I’ll use it far more when I cycle in the UK when the sun isn’t so fierce and bright and where the short sleeves and reflective panels will suit the climate well.
OXYGEN FZ JERSEY -Â Open for business: Venting mesh panels in under arm area. Full-length zipper allows quick cooling adjustment.
This was my favourite shirt, for sure, because of the sun protection it offered. I wore it for the majority of the 3 week tour and it ensured I never got sunburn on my arms, even though I was out riding for at least 5 hours each day and never wore sunblock on anything other than my face.
It looks pretty good too.
After each day I’d wear it straight into the shower, soap it up and wash it through. Far easier to do it this way than try to wash it whilst in the basin or bucket.
The jersey didn’t suffer from this frequent hand washing, the stains of the day came out easily with regular soap and it was quick to dry. I never had to worry that it wouldn’t be dry for morning (the temperature at night was around 22 degrees, so maybe in a colder climate it might not dry so quick).
TheÂ underarm mesh was extremely effective in allowing the wind in as we rode to cool me. I don’t recall ever having to unzip lower than mid chest in order to cool down (even in 40 degrees plus). All in all this is a terrific jersey that I imagine would keep any cyclist cool and protected, no matter where they’re riding.
COUNTDOWN TOUR SHORTS -Â Master of combination: Versatile and sportive shorts for the MTB tour. High value, detachable inner tights. Elastic seat insert.
Only on the last 2 days of the 21 day tour did I start to ride standing up for short periods to ease an aching bottom as before then the shorts protected me well (we were in the saddle for at least 5 hours each day). We were riding mostly on very good roads but we used mountain bikes as on occasion, nearer the mountains, the roads broke up, or we decided to take short cuts through forests, so they had to cope with a variety of surfaces, and they did so very well.
As well as keeping me comfy in the saddle, the padding also helped when I rode elephants, as their skin is very bristly!
The inner pad detaches so that could be washed every day separately from the outer.Â This detach-ability also meant I could wear them as regular shorts on days when I wasn’t cycling (with the padded insert they’re not as comfy walking shorts as they are when you take the inner out and wear the outer with regular underwear).
They look really good and they’re long enough not to offend anybody in religious areas, so I’d really recommend these shorts for those who are combining cycling with general tourism and want to cut down on the amount of luggage they’re taking.
OXYGEN GT AS JACKET -Â Tight fitting, aerodynamic and super-lightweight. Ideal jacket for the all-weather road biker. Extremely breathable thanks to GORE-TEXÂ® Active Shell. Stretchy thanks to GORE-TEXÂ® Stretch. Fantastic next to the skin comfort.
For the first 10 days of the Sri Lanka expedition we were riding through the monsoon zone so we got rained on a fair bit and this jacket got a good airing. Usually the clouds dumped on us for 2 hours per day.
This jacket does what you expect of it. It kept the heavy rain off me, protected my lower back from spray when I was hunched over, gave me space to move in my shoulders and also allowed moisture/sweat to evaporate quickly, therefore ensuring I stayed totally comfortable as I rode.
I also used it as a trekking jacket when we had a 3 day climb up and down Adam’s Peak, which was flanked with humid rain forest and rose to over 2,000 metres. The first day we climbed over 1,000 metres through the forest and again it proved itself to be very waterproof and breathable. So, I reckon as far as this jacket is concerned, you can believe the Gore marketing; it’sÂ super-lightweight, completely waterproof, extremely breathable and very comfortable.
XENON 2.0 GLOVES -Â Lightweight performance: Perfect for long, strenuous rides with hightech fabric, gel pads for schock absorbtion and mesh inserts for cooling.
I had no callouses after 3 weeks on the road, that’s something to shout about! These are, like the other Gore Bikewear kit I’ve spoken about, brilliant. They help your hands stay cool and dry (I never lost my grip even on fast off-road downhills) the backs of the hands (the bits that show when you’re riding) are very reflective and they dry out overnight so I could wash them frequently. They didn’t deteriorate after 3 weeks of continuous use and washing either so if you’re looking for a pair of very sturdy and effective gloves consider these.
COUNTDOWN SOCKS PACK OF 3 -Â All-around mountain bike socks. Robust, a standard piece for any mountain biker.
As well as for biking I wore these as everyday socks and also for hiking and running. We had to carry everything we needed for the month long journey in individual backpacks and I had limited space so everything I took had to double up if possible, therefore my socks had to be good enough for all purposes. I never got blisters, or problems associated with the tropical heat, and their muted colour meant I could wear them out in the evening. They washed up well, dried overnight and were comfy.
This Gore Bikewear served me well over our 3 week cycling trip through very testing, hot, sunny and wet conditions.Â It’s the best biking gear I’ve ever worn and I totally recommend it all.
To see more about these clothes please visitÂ http://www.goreapparel.co.uk