Click play button to listen.
Alex from howies said “We’re proud to be part of a nation responsible for producing current Olympic and World cycling champions and Revolution will be a great place for our Welsh team to race against giants in cycling. This years team kit has also been designed with elements of the Welsh flag for riders to fly in…. Pine. Rubber. Lycra and speed. We can’t wait”.
Other teams racing this season are: Team Sky, Rapha Condor Sharp, IG-Sigma Sport, Raleigh-GAC, NetApp-Endura, Rudy Project RT, Maxgear, Team Sportscover, Team WD40, Rouleur and FACE. These teams will bring a number of stars to the track; Sky and Rapha have named Alex Dowsett and Olympian Ed Clancy. The lineup also includes three of our own writers; Tom Murray (IG-Sigma Sport), paralympian Jody Cundy (riding for FACE) & six day rider Christian Grasmann (Rudy Project RT).
If you follow the Tour every year, like us, you will have waited a lifetime for a Brit to win it (well if you’re from this small island you have). If you’re Bradley Wiggins, you’ve been training for it all your life. howies wanted to celebrate the amazing win and commissioned a limited edition tee “Sideburns of Glory”, that became their fastest selling tee of all time. I ordered mine and I’ve been wearing it proudly since. It’s a conversation piece. The design is based on the Bayeux Tapestry and it shows “St Bradley of Viggins” wielding his sword while atop a pile of broken riders and bikes.
For the week after the Tour, howies decided to donate the proceeds from their cycling themed t-shirts to the Dave Rayner Fund, raising £5560.
Dave Raynor was an English professional road cyclist from 1987 to 1994, in his career he rode for Dutch (Buckler), British (Interent-Yugo, Raleigh-Banana & Banana Falcon) and American (I.M.E.-Health Share and Lex-Townsend) Pro teams. Dave was a consistent winner of the under 22 Milk Race (now known as the Tour of Britain) which was a favourite of his). He sadly died age 27 in 1994.
After his death a memorial fund established and a fund raising dinner which takes place every year with esteemed guests such as Miguel Indurain, Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish, and Eddy Merckx attending.
Since 1996, The Dave Rayner Fund have supported hundreds of promising British cyclists. By issuing grants to cover training and racing costs, they bridge the gap into making a successful career from cycle racing in Europe and it’s great the customers of howies have raised such an unexpected sum.
Alex from howies says, “There’s going to be loads more British Cycling success on the TV over the next couple of weeks and some great tees to celebrate.”
… and here they are!…
You can choose from “Great Thighs of thunder” (Sir Chris of Hoy), Sweet Chariot (Queen Victoria) and The MMXXII Missile (The Marquis of Cavendish).
While the wind and rain are lashing the UK we are preparing to switch our collective attention away from our sinking Noah’s Ark to mainland Europe for the greatest cycling race in the world…. with the pavé of the Champs Elyse looming in the distance. Some riders will just hope to make it round the last few bone shaking kilometres in one piece while a hardy few who suffered at the back through the mountains will be licking their lips with relish at attempting to take the glorious final stage at an astonishing pace (one particular Manxman springs to mind).
…But lets not get ahead of ourselves, before the cobbles comes an array of stages from the pan flat to the ridiculously steep and impossible mountains that us mere mortals get breathless just gawping at before we attempt to slowly plod up. Most wouldn’t even consider clipping their feet to a bike frame for a pain filled single effort to the cloud covered peaks.
I’m getting prepared to immerse myself in the epic vistas that will appear before my eyes. I’ve treated myself to the new limited edition howies KOM T-Shirt and placed an order for the rest of the set so I can celebrate each stage profile in style. I’m resigned to the fact that I’m never going to win my own yellow, spotty or green jersey… it’s ok really, I’m over it. ;D
So I feel it would be wrong to buy a replica jersey to wear, I’m not keen on being one of those people that buys their favourite teams statically charged ill fitting replica shirt, at least my T-shirt won’t look odd when I’m out and about, it can be worn any time of the year… And as you may have noticed the shopaholic in me is justifying the purchase, my partner would normally respond to such a justification… “I’m sure it was a bargain too!”. I’m comfortable just celebrating the greatness of the tour with my new t-shirt (which was a bargain!), turbo trainer and friends. I like to get some miles in while I’m glued to the action (when time allows), I don’t like the idea of just slobbing while watching TV, I never have, it seems so wrong particularly during a bike race. I get restless legs. I have to ride, and since I’m still not sure if I’ll make it over for some of this years stages I thought I’d get organised, fingers crossed I will be there, I have my bag ready! For some of the weekend stages we’ll gather the gang together for a Tour celebration of food and festivities.
Us Brits are feeling nervously excited as this year could be Wiggo’s, there are so many variables in the Tour de France and I wouldn’t want to jinx it for him but we are quietly confident that he can step on to the podium and hopefully take the top step. We have great pride in Cav’s Rainbow Jersey too which he’ll be sporting in this years Tour, it’s been 46 years since a British rider has done this so it’s turning out to be a fabulous few years for GB riders. It’s been a long time in the making though with a huge amount of blood sweat and tears from the guys. They seem to have adapted well from the huge success of their track days and some of that training and discipline seems to have been brought into their road training.
Obviously we all have our favourite riders and teams from around the world but in the true cycling spirit I get behind all the riders. Friends of mine who don’t watch or take part in cycling really don’t understand this but it’s the way the cycling community is. So good luck all!
Back to my tour preparations… what are your plans this tour?
Keep an eye out on iTunes for the ITV4 Tour de France Podcast presented by Matt Rendell, Ned Boulting & Chris Boardman and guests.
I will add more online viewing options and other TV stations from around the world when I stumble across them.
You may remember our earlier article by Alex Murphy on the Restless Ride that he and a number of howies staff and friends took on the night of the Spring Equinox Across Wales. Here finally is the film featuring author, cyclist and howies fan; Rob Penn.
The Rest Less Ride took the peloton of 16 riders from the west coast, all the way to the east. They cycled unlit back-roads riddled with pot-holes, gravel and barrier-less hairpin bends. They passed through deep dark valleys, through forests and up mountains, in a race against the sunrise.
The Rest Less Ride celebrates the pleasure of cycling and the friendships it forges.
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?!
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)
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.
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!
Jacket weight: 200g
Size when packed away: 14x12x7cms
Available in UK Men’s Sizes: S, M, L, XL
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!
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