Some of the Cycling Shorts. boys and girls have got their hands on the pre release howies Men’s Brenin Cycling Jacket to put it through it’s paces.
If you’re not familiar with howies they’re an independent active clothing company based in the beautiful Cardigan Bay in Wales, UK. The company has a passion for cycling and the outdoors. They produce high quality and environmentally friendly thoughtfully designed products. howies have recently taken to sponsoring track cycling, now they are turning their attention to the road. This is the first time howies have ventured into road cycling specific clothing. Having such a good reputation we would be expecting nothing less than great… is it a tall order?!
Brenin Windstopper Jacket
The lightweight shell pack-away jacket is made from 100 percent recycled polyester. It features stretch and wicking fabric in the arms and side panels for unrestricted movement when cycling. It is being sold predominantly as a Men’s jacket but we’ve found it really works for the girls too with it’s stretch fit.
Design details include a zipped chest pocket with earphone cable slot on the inside and an internal clip to attach your keys. Reflective bars on the cuffs and hips, a reflective logo on the chest pocket, adjustable hem and soft fleece lined collar. The jacket rolls up and zips into it’s chest pocket for storage with the key clip becoming a clip to secure the jacket pouch to you while riding.
The windstopper qualities of this jacket are excellent and we love the breathable panels on the arms they allow you to stay warm without overheating. The wicking properties of the fabrics are very good. It doesn’t feel like a crisp packet as these jackets often can, the fabric actually feels very soft. Although the jacket isn’t described as being water or showerproof we were pleasantly surprised that when we got caught out in the rain the core of our bodies were totally dry and the only damp areas where our outer arms but they dried out quickly while cycling. The jacket is very easy to care for and well constructed. You can just leave mud to dry on and let it crumble off, rinse it under the tap or just pop it in the washing machine at 30 degrees. It can’t be tumble dried but it dries very quickly on it’s own and if required you can give it a warm iron….
[flagallery gid=14 name=Brenin Jacket]
Click SL (slideshow) or FS (fullscreen)
What the boys say…
Good length at the back to cover your rear and protect it from mud when on the bike. It looks good off the bike too, it’s not too obvious that you’re wearing a road cycling jacket. We love the chest pocket for you phone, MP3 or other device it has a slot on the inside to feed your headphones through from the pocket up to your ears, protecting the cable as much as possible from the elements. You can also clip your keys into the pocket. Initially we had mixed feelings on only having one pocket but the general consensus was one was fine; you have other layers that contain more than enough packets and the position of the zipped pocket is perfect. The soft fleece lining on the collar is welcome on a cold damp day and it isn’t the sort of fleece that will stick to your stubble and make you look like you’ve been intimate with a wookie. The soft shell construction means it’s ideal for days when you don’t want to carry other bulkier layers around with you. It fits neatly into your jersey back pocket like a cycling cape or gilet would.
What the girls say…
Us girls don’t get very excited when presented by men’s/unisex clothing… we have visions of looking like we’re wearing our dad’s cast offs but we were more than happy when the Brenin Jacket landed on the doorstep. We all have our own styles and we come in assorted shapes and sizes so it was going to be a challenge for the Brenin to please everyone. The biggest test was going to be the fit. First impressions out of the bag were good. Well made and nice design touches.
Sizing… well obviously the sizing is in howies men’s S,M,L and XL, this seems to translate as small being a women’s generous 10-12 and medium a 14-16 (and so on). The sizing is flexible thanks to the stretch fabric panels and it will of course depend on how many layers you intend to wear under the jacket as to which size you require.
It fits your curves thanks to it’s uniques side stretch panels that hug your body. If you’re short in the body most female (never mind unisex or mens) shell jackets are a problem as the waist often sits on your hips which means it’s too narrow to zip up comfortably and the hip part of the jacket is somewhere further down and in Anna’s case generally somewhere near her knees. With the Brenin the extra stretch accommodates curves so you don’t end up looking like you’re sporting a high tech bin liner. If the Brenin is too long you can use the adjustable hem to lift it up. Sleeve length is obviously a problem for shorter ladies on unisex clothing as they can be hanging off the ends of your hands but the elasticated cuffs and slim cut sleeve of the Brenin mean you don’t have a balloon of fabric on each arm. The cut really is great for most heights and shapes. We would like to see an XS in the range at some point… Oh and can we have more colours please?!
To sum up… In the very apt words of that influential cyclist Shakira (well I’m sure she must at least own a bike), if your breasts are “small and humble” or even like some (I’m paraphrasing here) “mountainous region” this jacket will work for you… and dare I push it too far… I feel I can’t help myself… our “hips don’t lie”… ok that was too much…. but I know you were all thinking it! Thankfully that has drained my vast knowledge of Columbian songstresses lyrics… The Brenin gets top marks from the girls!… Buy one for the other half, I’m sure he won’t notice if you borrow it!
It’s the first time we can really say… one style fits all!
Jacket weight: 200g Size when packed away: 14x12x7cms Available in UK Men’s Sizes: S, M, L, XL Price: £100 Available from: howies stores and howies online now!
excellent adaptable fit for both men and women
Packs away neatly inside it’s own zipped pocket
reflective hi-vis areas
easy grip zip pull
internal earphone cable slot
environmentally friendly (made from recycled materials)
extremely well constructed
No colour options (yet)
Doesn’t come in female specific sizes (a problem for ladies under a UK size 10).
Same problem at the other end of the scale for the more substantial gentleman.
Pricer than some other brands but you have to take into account the eco, ethical and quality standards for the product that other brands don’t necessarily meet.
The Brenin is a favourite of ours it’s earned itself one of our “Star Buy” ratings!
Nancy & Anna Review the Ana Nichoola Snow Cat Jacket
Between us we use the full range of Ana Nichoola clothing and have been fans since the arrival of “Bo Peep” Gloves. We are both always at the front of the queue to purchase our next item. Ana Nichoola has now ventured into clothing with the Snow Cat Jacket and what a triumph it is. Below are our thoughts on it and links to our reviews of other products in the range we have purchased.
Cycling is a sport that’s dominated by men and all the equipment is made for them but with the new Ana Nichoola collection that will change! No more boring design, no more jackets and warmers that never fit… You can actually look girlie and stylish while riding your bike.
The brand is created by female bike rider Anna Glowinski, who better than a woman to understand the needs of women in the sport. Ana Nichoola has an innovating line of accessories with very cool designs; each piece has little details that make a simple item look extraordinary.
Apart from the good looks, the quality of the products is exceptionally high. Both of us agree we haven’t seen anything for female cyclists this good!
We agree our most favorite item is the “Snow Cat Jacket”, no other jacket on the market gets close to this one, it’s a warm jacket perfect for your cold winter rides, a great windstopper and like the arm warmers it fits amazingly well, tailored for a women’s body. The fabrics are of the best quality with a mix of reflective fabrics, sweat wicking, stretchy, soft and warm.
The collar is a double layer with a lovely soft polar fleece lining at the neck, the outer collar is a stand up mandarin style collar with a press stud fastening in a pale duck egg blue colour. The top sculpted part of the jacket and sleeves is made from a gorgeous white waffle textured fabric with tiny flecks of shiny thread woven into it (you can see the flecks in the blue collar too), it looks like snow glistening in the moonlight. The top lining is a lovely soft fleece. There’s a pair of embroidered circles on the shoulder in pastel pink and blue providing just enough embellishment to bring an elegant feel to the garment, this is repeated further down on the left hip. The top half is all about keeping your chest warm. The lines of the jacket are very sympathetic to the female form and rather than having a horizontal band or line between the two fabrics (as you find on most male or unisex cycling jerseys) it has a swooping blue stitched edge between the white of the top and the grey of the bottom. The bottom half of the jacket is a thinner fabric enabling more movement, it has a grey and dark charcoal horizontal stripe pattern. On the front at the left hip there’s the Ana Nichoola logo and just above it there’s an secure zipped pocket. On the back of the jacket there are two large pockets like all good cycling jerseys should have, but these pockets are again sympathetically styled to echo female curves. The pockets are stretchy and also have press-stud closures, there is a smaller pocket nestled inside the right pocket; ideal for a snack bar or a mini pump. Centre back of the jacket upper is a golden embroidered circle between your shoulder blades. The cuffs are finished with a matt silver reflective fabric. Running down the sides of the body and under the arms on the sleeves is a black lycra wicking fabric for a better contouring fit and to make your ride a comfortable one. Overall it provides an extremely flattering silhouette. You can tell a lot of thought and effort has gone in to designing this jacket.
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Click SL (slideshow) or FS (fullscreen)
This jacket has provided more protection from the wind and wintery weather than any other cycling jacket of it’s kind we’ve owned and it looks great off the bike too. We’ve both had loads of compliments and questions while out and about… plenty of jacket envy. It’s easy to clean. The price is premium but lets be clear this jacket is premium quality and there are many jackets in this price bracket that aren’t near this quality. The stitching and finishing is excellent along with the fabric quality. The sizing is quite accurate, we would say that buying your true size will give you a good fitting jacket, the size range is a UK6 to UK14, bustier ladies may be disappointed that larger sizes aren’t available, but maybe that will change when the brand grows. We’ve seen a sneak peek of the Spring/Summer collection and the clothing range is increasing, you won’t be disappointed no matter what type of bike you ride you’ll want to get your hands on something from the collection!
Ana Nichoola also has gloves, neck warmers and ear warmers in the range so you should take a look at the Ana Nichoola website and read our reviews of the rest of the product range.
Come on girls, what are you waiting for… Style Your Ride!
Hi. I’m Jon Carver and whether you like it or not I’m cycling shorts newest correspondent.
Straight off though I’m lying. Because the branch of the sport I will be writing about is one where shorts ain’t a clever option At all ..BMX.. “Oh no!” I can hear them wail in Lycra stuffed tea rooms the length and breadth of Scunthorpe.
Well fear not Dear reader. Yes it’s just you and me. For I too am a Lycra lout. I prefer to do my cycling on my nice Campagnolo Athena equipped Ribbles, one road, one TT and my track Bike which is on its way. What? Well I raced in my youth and they’re cheaper than fake tan and a Lamborghini.
So, why BMX? First answer..why not? Second..because I can. Third, because it’s an incredibly large part of the cycling family and if you love your family, you should know about it. How did I get involved at the tender age of 60? Well…I didn’t, I was 30. Yes 30 years I’ve loved this Sport. My two boys Jamie and Jody (Barton) enjoyed BMX when a young man named Bob rode a bike fairly well in a movie called E.T. And inspired the heavy as lead Raleigh Burner and Mullet years. Jamie a highly successful racer and his brother Jody a keen and very young freestyler. My eldest was 8 when he started. His younger brother was just 5. Today it is still a sport where whole families take part. It’s an exciting social and sporting lifestyle. Ooh yes and if you think your new Campagnolo Super Record group is sexy…you’ve seen nothing!
During those heady days of two governing bodies U.K.B.M.X. and N.B.M.X.A I was a regional chairman of the UKBMX and a national council member. I chaired my local club The Tamworth Crusaders and saw that club rise from a small rag tag bunch that travelled by train to Birmingham Wheels …( sighs fondly) to a club with its own very unique track and a strong National and international pedigree. I urged the British Cycling Federation to take the two arms of a great sport under its wing. To my chagrin in the intervening years.. BC as she is now known, took over and to date….the jury is very much out.
So we come full circle. The eldest son Jamie and his sons are back in the sport again Jacob (Barton) is to represent Great Britain in the 24″ wheel class at this years World Championships in Brum and we are still hoping that younger brother Fletcher (Barton) may also yet qualify in the 8 yo class. Jamie and his friends Lee and Lisa run Finelines Racing which is an incredible organisation that can speak for itself.
So, that’s me. A bloke who is nuts about every facet of this most diverse of sports CYCLING and one who has a big vested interest in sharing a particular passion for all things BMX. (Bicycle Moto Cross by the way is what the little acronym stands for.) in its numerous guises.. Numerous? Oh my, oh my yes. Your eyes are in for a treat this year my lovelies. For whilst for the average sports fan Shanaze Reade‘s attempt to bring the Olympic ladies 20″ gold home for us, will hold their attention for the 24 seconds of the Olympic main. There is a whole year of fantastic stuff. A National series that attracts upwards of 1200 riders to each event…no 1200 isn’t a typo. A clear 400 average at regionals, there is also a YOOJ World Championships to be held at the National Indoor arena in Brum… I’m certain the city isn’t going to be ready for just how many people will be descending on them…oops! We shall cope ..Brummies always do. as well, there’s always Xgames and the most amazing skill artistry and (sorry ) Balls of the freestyle trials fraternity. Oh there’s loads happening on those tiny… gorgeous to behold, scarily priced, featherlight lightning fast Bicycles.
Santa is coming with many gifts for all of those who have been good this year and I’m sure everyone is getting ready to have a nice dinner and spend time with their families this weekend. But how is Christmas in the life of a bike rider??
For road riders this is the off-season, they don’t have any races at this time of the year, its more about recovering and getting in shape for the next season. But for track riders and cyclocross riders this is where they need to be 100% and really focused on riding their bikes and pushing themselves further in races. Don’t ask me much about MTB, BMX and other cycling disciplines because to be honest I really don’t know much about those disciplines!
Lets start with road riders; I think the hardest thing for them is to stay in shape, at Christmas there’s a lot of good food and people tend to gain weight in the winter, that’s something that a bike rider and especially a road rider can’t allow themselves to do as weight does matter!
Drem Airfiled Snow Ride By Jason Liddell
There are usually training camps with their team to build up relationships with new and old teammates and to get a nice block of training for the next season under their belt, they need to stay focused to achieve their goals for the upcoming season and manage their time wisely to also be able to spend quality time with the family.
It’s harder when you live in one of those really cold countries in Europe where there is a lot of snow and rain during the winter and you need to go to other places to train, my boyfriend, Jetse Bol had to go to Fuerteaventura for training last year and couldn’t spend “Sinterklaas” (it’s what Dutchies celebrate over Christmas) with his family in Holland.
Things are a bit more complicated for the ‘cross and track riders, they are in the middle of the season right now and they do have to train and compete at the highest level in the World. The cross riders have a World Cup on December 26th and plenty of other races after that which means they probably won’t be out celebrating on New Year’s Eve!
The track riders don’t have big races close to Christmas but for example, the case of my sister Sofia; she is based in Mallorca during the winter because it’s better for training than Mexico and because it’s easier to travel to all the races but she was lucky that there was a World Cup in Colombia this month so she could come over to Mexico to spend Christmas at home but she is flying to Mallorca on the 26th in order to get ready for her next event in Beijing.
Sometimes you need to make some sacrifices and sometimes you are lucky enough to be able to do it all but in the end all that matters is achieving the goals set for the season, the Olympic year is coming!!!
Cycling Shorts unleashes Santa’s Little Helpers.
Yes the panic is setting in, so much to get organised and so little time, so we’ve got together to give you a list of gift ideas that won’t disappoint the fussiest cyclist in your life.
We’ve split our choices into three perfect price parcels. Let us know what you intend to give, or hope to receive.
Santa’s Little Helper
Anna: I’m going for a selection for this choice, I’d be over the moon with any of these but Shutt have a huge range of items you could mix and match to make a gift of under £30 including women’s and men’s arm and leg warmers and if you can’t make a decision you could always get a gift voucher! Or go for a Shutt VR accessory and pair it with a Bruce Doscher Tour de France Print.
Shutt VR Polar Buff
Shutt VR Musette bag (buy it for the your non cyclist in your life as a shopping bag, then you can “borrow” it! ;D
Bruce Doscher Tour de France Print
Cristi: I got this selection for my husband Randy a few years ago and they remain a firm Christmas present favourite. I brought some nice bottles of Belgian beer and the requisite matching glasses home from a December trip to Bruges. Obviously they were a hit! Nice to know he truly appreciated the very careful Trans-Atlantic care they took to bring back, too. He loves the beer glasses, and uses them a lot!!
An Assortment of Belgium’s finest & glasses – Chimay (Blue and Cinq Cents, Duvel, etc.)
Felix: Past Present Future by Condor Cycles
Park PZT1 Pizza Cutter
John Allen: Park Tool 106 Work Tray
Nancy: I love this range of ladies cycling clothing so I’d choose:
Smuggler Neck Warmer by Ana Nichoola
Jon Tiernan Locke: Mmm Chocolate!
Tub of SIS Rego in chocolate flavour
Darryl: Cycling inspired jewelry – Silver and Bronze necklaces and earrings that are sure to show off your passion for bicycles.
Bicycle Necklace & Pendant by Green Goat Designs
Yanto: OK… Slightly over budget… but worth it!
Le Col Arcus Hat
Something Under The Tree
Rapha Classics Pack – Jersey, Socks and Cap
Snow Cat Jacket by Ana Nichoola
Darryl: Loving the Bike Kit (by Groucho Sports) – Are you “loving the bike”? Show everyone you pass by on your bike, just how much you love being out there riding.
John Allen & Jon Tiernan-Locke:
JA “Bicycle mechanics looks so much easier when you see it done on a work stand, probably because it’s done by a professional who knows what they’re doing. It’s got to be much easier setting things up on a stand, leaving both hands free to adjust things.”
JTL “The perfect gift for the keen cyclist!”
Park Tool PCS10 Home Mechanic Workstand
Le Col Winter Jacket
Garmin 500 Cycling Computer (or the new lower priced 200 and more beer!)
Soineur Merino wool jersey or Training Jacket or the Ana Nichoola Snow Cat Jacket for the ladies. Every cyclist loves a good coffee, so why not get them a dinky Lavazza coffee machine.
If you’re an armchair cyclist or just hate winter cycling why not go for a Rouleur (Road) or Privateer (MTB) Magazine Subscription.
Dream gift… The sky’s the limit!
Darryl: Winter Cycling Getaway and Trek Madone 6.9 SSL Leopard/Spartacus Edition – What could be better than waking up to find this beautiful bike under your tree, and then finding out that you get to enjoy riding it around the incredible Caribbean island of Bonaire?
Bonaire Trip Package
Pair of Zipp 202 wheels
Sidi Genius 6.6 Woman
Obviously I’d like happiness for everyone and maybe a little Trek Madone 6.9 SSL WSD with a Canon EOS-1D X on the side. ;D
Sharp 3D TV – hoping to see so 3D cycling action soon!
John Allen: This one’s easy,
tickets to the 2012 Olympic Games track cycling, priceless, I’d like some please!
Cycling Santa's by Jim Wend
Cristi:My husband’s idea of the expensive gift is a double bonus, as a trip for two (the giving partner can ride or not) is always great. It’s a gift for the giver too!! If you like like the Alps, though they have some other super well managed and top-flight 4**** trips too. Never a bad hotel, which is a plus when you’re super tired from a long day conquering mountains on your bike!!
Top of the range Nikon Camera with Accessories and tickets for two to the 2012 World Track Championships in Australia… well I can always dream!
TZ-3 Super Bright Flexible LED
I’ve opted for the Red rear LED Light. The LED light is a great addition to your high-vis set up. This little light has a recessed button so you can’t accidentally switch it on by dropping it or resting something on it, it has a large button that is easy to use with gloved or cold fingers. It comes housed in a solid body with a stretchy flexible silicone mount loop. Press the on off button once and you get a solid light, press it again and it will flash intermittently (don’t use in flashing mode if on a bicycle or motorbike), press once again and it switches off… simple. There are two small recessed screws on the underside of the body to allow you to replace the battery (CR2025) which the manufacturer says should last you 100 hours.
I’ve tried the light on my bike frame and handlebars and because the light has a shaped underbelly it sits comfortably on flat or curved surfaces and with the silicone stretch loop it won’t slip or move against metal, handlebar tape, carbon fibre or painted surfaces and fabric. The loop can be pulled up and fully over itself depending on the diameter of the item you’re wrapping it around, you can put the strap over the front of the light body or further back over the casing and it doesn’t press or restrict access to the button. It’s coped fine with the scrapes and drops it’s had so far. It really is ideal to attach to your helmet, it neatly slots through the helmet vents and is a real upgrade to just using a reflector, because it’s so lightweight you don’t notice it’s there. I’ve also attached it to bags and backpacks and it works a treat. When you pair it with the Verso High-Vis Gilet by TwoZero (read our review here) it sits neatly on your back just above your shoulder blades and when you have a backpack under your gilet it sits up and faces behind you without being obscured by your backpack, it takes over from your helmet reflectors if they become hidden behind the bulk of your bag. It comes in a choice of white or red LED light and both provide a strong bright light. A great addition to you cycling safety gear, it’s small, lightweight, flexible and it fits neatly into a pocket when it’s not in use.
Colour: Red LED or White LED
RRP £9.99 with free UK delivery
Available from: www.two-zero.co.uk for delivery worldwide
also available from other online and high street retailers
What TwoZero say about their product:
Easy fit silicone loop LED
Flashing or Solid State
Long Battery Life 100hrs (replaceable)
red and white LED version
easy to attach to TZ bags, Verso Gilet and rucksacks
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