The Parentini Test Team are scattered far and wide, riding and testing all manner of Parentini kit in all manner of weather and settings. One of the team lives in the North East of England, where the beautiful and dramatic countryside can be a wild place for a cyclist to ride in Winter. Karl is an ex 1st cat roadman, so he’s an experienced rider, and knows good equipment when he sees it. He’s just recently taken delivery of a Mossa jacket. Here he gives us an account of a typical Northumbrian ride:
I awoke on the Sunday morning to howling winds and dark, angry skies. Even for January in the North of England it was rough. It was the kind of morning where depending on your level of dedication or insanity, you would either roll back over and go back to sleep, look forward to a lovely session on the turbo trainer or get plenty of layers on and head out into the wild. Or in my case due to my recent “semi retirement” status, head to the pub with the Sunday papers.
But no, this time I had arranged to meet some ride partners and I was itching to get a proper ride in again. Also, I wanted to try out the new Mossa jacket my good friend Ali at Zetta Distribution had been banging on about.
So, heading out into the cold, I chose to forgo the usual rigmarole of donning lots of heavy layers and went for a medium weight base layer (deciding against the thin, dedicated base layer that came with the Mossa, unsure that it would be warm enough in these conditions) and the Mossa, which I peeled on over bib shorts and winter tights. Heavy duty gloves and over shoes, followed by a Gillet stuffed in a back pocket for emergencies completed the look. This knocked 20 minutes off my usual winter ride prep time – handy as it took me about 20 minutes longer to reach our meeting point due to that bloody wind.
On arrival, I found we were already a man down due to mudguard issues, Paul would meet us at the café, so three became two, as Geoff turned up bang on time. No need to hang about, we quickly headed out into the encroaching darkness and a block headwind. The pace was brisk but not too silly, Geoff was just recovering from the flu and I was just recovering from too many days spent in the pub. But as we rode that block headwind got blockier, the rain started to fall heavily and the temperature dropped even more.
The last thing you need in these conditions is clothing that catches the wind just like Geoff’s Gabba jacket was doing. Now the Gabba is a good bit of kit, I owned two of them until recently, but found just like Geoff’s that they didn’t hug the body and sagged around the arms and chest areas. They also let in the rain eventually, due to the fabric not being 100% waterproof. My Mossa on the other hand, fitted like a second skin, it hugged the important arm and chest areas and, most importantly, 90 minutes into our ride my torso was still warm and dry. I’m told this is due to the waterproof, windproof, Windtech fabric from which the Mossa is made, its unique properties come from… blah, blah, blah… Whatever. I don’t really care about the science. I just want the thing to work, to have an Italian roundel on the arm, and it does just that.
The same however could not be said for my gloves. Ninety minutes in and my extremities were starting to feel the chill. I have always struggled with cold hands and right now I could have done with a pair of mini hand shaped Mossa jackets.
We crested a ridge and were confronted by low cloud, snow on the hill tops and a wall of rain coming towards us. A knowing glance passed between us and we were soon on our way to a closer alternative café stop.
Once ensconced inside next to the fire, we were joined by Paul – his mudguard problems solved – and then by a constant stream of drenched, shivering cyclists, their many layers of clothing failing to protect them from the elements.
Half an hour passed quickly due to the craic, and refuelled and refreshed, we headed back out in to the wilds of Northumberland, this time as a trio. The ride home was more fun and faster, due to the massive tailwind, and I arrived home still warm and dry. All in all I was impressed by the Mossa. Guaranteed I only had 3 hours on the clock but it was a wild 3 hours and the Mossa easily out performed the Gabba, was more than a match for my much heavier duty Rapha winter jacket, and fitted much better.
Now I’ve got the taste for extreme winter riding again, you can expect to see that Italian roundel on the Northumberland lanes a lot more from now on. Beginning tomorrow in fact! And this time I will put my faith in that wafer thin base layer as well.