15 January 2011

Winter Riding Gear: Skin Tight Layers Won't Make You Look Like Batman But...

I’ve never given thought to wearing base layers under all my riding gear. I just didn’t see the point. If it started to get cold, I’d snap the quilted lining onto my jacket. If it got colder, I’d add a jumper or a fleece sweater to my riding ensemble. A simple low tech and more importantly, low cost solution.

This of course, was fine until my jacket began to inexplicably shrink over the past year or so. OK, I’d put on a bit of weight, some might even consider it winter fat. But, whatever the reason, I was beginning to lose that extra bit of space that I used to have and wearing my jacket with a jumper was getting a bit uncomfortable. So, it was during these snug and tight-fitting times that I got re-acquainted with base layers via the Christmas sales.

Wanting to avoid succumbing to the evils of the sales, I was reluctant to get myself anything but my wife managed to convince me that the Canterbury Base Layer Tee is exactly what I needed. She argued that even if I didn’t want it for riding on my scooter, I’d surely need it when the snow eventually comes along again. Those cold, long waits at bus stops would certainly be more comfortable.

Having been bombarded with such a sales pitch (my wife must’ve earned some commission from Champion Sports), I caved in and bought the thing.

At home, not wanting to be laughed at by my own wife and kids, I tried on the base layer in the privacy of my bedroom. I didn’t actually look like Bryan Habana but, I was still pleasantly surprised by the look and feel of the thing. Now I know why Spanx is so popular with the ladies. I ran downstairs to join the family.

Look, look here. Does Daddy look like Batman...?

I said to my 4 year old son while flexing my mostly non-visible muscles in front of him, for added effect. He took an uninterested peek and continued munching on his Coco Rocks. Obviously, I had put the kid in a terrible position. It must’ve been such a dilemma for him. Does he tell the truth and hurt his father’s feelings or should he actually tell a lie which he knows he shouldn’t. Without looking away from his bowl of cereal he went with the former.

No! You don’t look like Batman. You’ve got a tummy and Batman doesn’t have a tummy.

Kids these days. I blame Christian Bale and his ninja-esque, new age Batman. The bar was lower when Adam West was Batman. Fathers could still convince their sons that they were the Caped Crusader himself those days. Damn you Christian Bale.

Anyway, setback with son aside, I was still pleased with my purchase. I’ve managed to feel comfortable on even the coldest days while gaining a bit of freedom with less bulk on my upper body (having no need to wear a jumper or fleece to keep warm).

So, if you’re in the market for a base layer to keep yourself warm on those cold winter days, this should do the job. If you’re looking to impersonate Batman, a costume shop near you might be a better bet.

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