Reverence: Gilet

Reverence: Gilet

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There are two kinds of people in this world: those who own a properly-fitting, lightweight gilet and those who don’t. Those who own one know this is an indispensable piece of kit.

The gilet is typically one of the last items that enters into a Cyclist’s wardrobe, long after arm warmers, knee warmers, and long sleeve jerseys have found their way into the kit bag. It’s just a vest, after all, and can’t possibly serve much purpose beyond Looking Pro, can it? It can, in fact.

A vest is an incredibly versatile unit that serves to stave off all kinds of Fuckness – be it from wind, rain, or cold. Furthermore, the sleeveless design makes it easy don or doff, and packs away nicely; a lightweight gilet can be folded flat (first in half, then in thirds) and slipped between the jersey and bibs, keeping the rear pockets clear and accessible for tools and food.

In short, the gilet is a Four-Season Fuckness Stopper that accompanies me year-round, one which I personally hold in higher regard than the long sleeve jersey:

  1. In Winter it is an ideal insulation barrier, adding warmth to a long or short sleeve jersey, or bridging the gap between the two during Spring and Fall
  2. In Spring and Fall, the wind-breaking capabilities make for a great rain barrier in (depending on your climate, Winter as well)
  3. In Summer, its lightweight nature makes it the ideal garment to stave off the chill of an early morning start or to bring along for warmth on cold mountain descents

// Accessories and Gear // Reverence

  1. @ChrisO

    Fowler is like Merckx to us pedants, although to be fair he was actually quite scathing about those who attempted to follow rules for the sake of nothing more than showing that they had superior knowledge.
    I’ll get my coat…

    Pedantry? Sweet.

    It’s “I’ll get me coat”, rather than “my coat”.
    Love The Fast Show.

  2. @scaler911
    Watched that for the first time last night on Netflix. The chickens thing hit a little close to home, with our six ladies out back givin’ us good egg lovin’ every day. They are named as follows:

    Minnie
    Maxie
    Clementine
    Jig
    Polly Prissy Pants
    I Can’t Believe Its Not Butter

    Three of them are older, and we collectively call those three “The Elders”. Three of them are Buff Orpingtons, and we call them “The Tater tots”.

  3. Question for the Aussies… on our ride today one of our group, a lady from Queensland, was complaining she was hot (half-jokingly, about 3 minutes earlier she was complaining of being cold).

    As she was wearing a gilet I said they often make me hot unless I’m on a very easy ride or it’s very cold.

    She looked at me and said WTF was I talking about. I pointed to the garment in question and she insisted they call it a windbreaker, and in all her years of cycling she’d never even heard the term.

    I can’t remember whether I even knew they existed from my time in Australia, but I would have called a windbreaker something that was hooded but usually made of synthetic, like a shower-proof jacket or kagool.

    So have you all been reading this wondering WTF we were on about ?

  4. @frank

    @scaler911
    Watched that for the first time last night on Netflix. The chickens thing hit a little close to home, with our six ladies out back givin’ us good egg lovin’ every day. They are named as follows:
    Minnie
    Maxie
    Clementine
    Jig
    Polly Prissy Pants
    I Can’t Believe Its Not Butter
    Three of them are older, and we collectively call those three “The Elders”. Three of them are Buff Orpingtons, and we call them “The Tater tots”.

    Ha!
    You’ll like our urban farm then. We have 5, Twitch, Bitty, Harriet, Britches and the obligatory Happy Feet.
    All variations of different Bantams.

    Bitty and Twitch

  5. Chickens seem pretty badass. I would like to own a few some day.

  6. @mcsqueak

    Chickens seem pretty badass. I would like to own a few some day.

    You know it’s the middle of winter and no racing to discuss when a article on Gilets turns to urban farming.

  7. @scaler911

    I’d even have my VMH knit them little gilets to wear when it gets too cold for their precious little feathered bodies to handle.

  8. @mcsqueak
    We are firmly in Rule #9 territory when natural down outerwear doesn’t suffice.

  9. @ChrisO
    Queensland. There’s a clue right there. Did she ask for a cup of chino after the ride?

    Gilet is a French word no? We usually bastardise pronunciation here. Hard G and L and T. I learned the term listening to Paul and Phil commentating on Le Tour. Never used the term windbreaker though.

  10. @frank

    I think we’ll have to push the close date out a week to Sunday January 15

    For reference, you’re the Emperor back there. It’s like you just told me Padme is dead, but instead my V-Kit will arrive one week later – pretty much the same thing, really.

  11. @harminator

    @ChrisO
    Queensland. There’s a clue right there. Did she ask for a cup of chino after the ride?

    Beat me to it. Queenslanders like things big, so she’d likely ask for a mug of chino.

    @ChrisO
    Queensland is a pretty conservative (read – redneck) state, so it may be likely that the French terms that are the default for much of the cycling world are not used as much there (“Bidon? Talk Australian mate! It’s a bottle!”). Note that I’m not calling her a redneck, just looking for a reason her cycling community don’t use the term.
    It’s weird she hasn’t heard the term, though. I learned my cycling terminology from Phil and Paul and from reading up a storm, magazines then the web and gilet is used so widely it’s almost as if it’s the correct word.

  12. @Blah

    @harminator

    @ChrisO
    Queensland. There’s a clue right there. Did she ask for a cup of chino after the ride?

    Beat me to it. Queenslanders like things big, so she’d likely ask for a mug of chino.
    @ChrisO
    Queensland is a pretty conservative (read – redneck) state, so it may be likely that the French terms that are the default for much of the cycling world are not used as much there (“Bidon? Talk Australian mate! It’s a bottle!”). Note that I’m not calling her a redneck, just looking for a reason her cycling community don’t use the term.
    It’s weird she hasn’t heard the term, though. I learned my cycling terminology from Phil and Paul and from reading up a storm, magazines then the web and gilet is used so widely it’s almost as if it’s the correct word.

    And you beat me to the Redneck / rooinek comment. QLD = bogan central.

    Sometimes a gilet is referred to as a windstopper vest. And yes bidon is not really that common, bottle seems to suffice.

    And a question for Chris O, are you not an Australian asking the Australians re the term gilet?

  13. @anotherdowunder Yes I am but I have lived elsewhere since 1993, and wasn’t into cycling when I was there (as opposed to riding a bike) so I was just wondering what term the roadies there might use.

    I thought it might be a Queensland thing (her very fat cat is called Flo) but yes you’d think you’d just pick it up from watching races or reading, websites etc. And she’s done a bit of racing and competitive riding too.

    Funny, I can just imagine her saying “Bidon…. it’s a bottle”. When I see her next week I’ll tell her you all said she was a bogan redneck banana-bender for not saying gilet.

  14. @scaler911
    Wet Jig this week.

  15. @frank
    Nice!

  16. First road ride with my wife today, a 75 km jaunt up the Hudson. The V-gilet doesn’t really make up for the outstanding style demerits (socks, bib knicks, 3-point system, etc)
    However, I post the photo mainly to answer the question: where do children of average height come from?

  17. @xyxax
    Your left shifter looks way higher than the right. Does that bug you? It bugs me if mine are even a cm off kilter.

  18. @G’rilla
    It sure looks that way in the photo. I just measured and it is about 1.5 cm higher. Thanks fot the catch.

  19. @G’rilla
    It’s all relative: judging by that photo a centimetre to Xyxax is the equivalent of a millimetre to most folk.

  20. @xyxax
    Jesus, are you a giant or is she about four feet tall or are both statements correct?!?!?

  21. @Buck Rogers
    She’s 5’3″ and can kick my ass (though she has to loosen up her hamstrings before doing so).

  22. @xyxax
    What size frame is that? (Yours) The headtube looks massive.

  23. @frank
    and @scaler911
    Since the subject of chickens has already been brought up…. a link to our set up is here if you fancy a look…http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=393509

  24. @DerHoggz
    The frame is listed as a 66 cm by Gunnar, though top tube is 61cm and seat tube is 63. HT is a statuesque 25 cm. In the winter, we use it to store grain.

  25. I’m guessing the 66cm is from BB to the top of the HT, that is a compact frame, right?

  26. @xyxax
    What a day 60Ëš! did you get up to the Runcible Spoon?

  27. @DerHoggz
    Exactly. Their frame sizing correlates to stack (664 mm in this case).

    @Rob
    Simply glorious. What a “winter” so far. We didn’t make it to the Spoon this time, but it will be a destination as we increase distance. See you there?

  28. @xyxax
    In the spring – I will repeat the Spoon ride I did with the peeps from L.I.
    Right now I am up in Northern Dutchess/Columbia county.

  29. While I hate to ruin a perfectly good conversation about chickens and such, the topic at hand has prompted a question from me…

    If one were to purchase a gilet and rain is not a primary concern, should the gilet have a mesh back or not? Are the mesh-backed garments too cool for a winter day of 5-15C, or is a non-mesh back simply too hot and stuffy?

  30. @BrianG

    While I hate to ruin a perfectly good conversation about chickens and such, the topic at hand has prompted a question from me…
    If one were to purchase a gilet and rain is not a primary concern, should the gilet have a mesh back or not? Are the mesh-backed garments too cool for a winter day of 5-15C, or is a non-mesh back simply too hot and stuffy?

    Personally, if I was going to use it for 5-15C I’d get one without a mesh back. But I’ve got both. I use the mesh back one (albeit rarely) for cool late spring mornings or shove it in my pocket if I’m planning on a long decent after a big climb, say McKenzie Pass Oregon.
    If you can only fund one, get the one without mesh. IMHO.

    Just wanna stay on topic……..

  31. @motor city

    @frank
    and @scaler911
    Since the subject of chickens has already been brought up…. a link to our set up is here if you fancy a look…http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=393509

    Dude!
    I can’t let my chicka’s see that. They would revolt and demand either a upgrade or transportation to your place! Well done!

  32. Don’t know how this thread got onto chickens, but be forewarned, if you get those chickens anywhere near me, I’m-a gonna eat ’em!

  33. @xyxax

    First road ride with my wife today, a 75 km jaunt up the Hudson. The V-gilet doesn’t really make up for the outstanding style demerits (socks, bib knicks, 3-point system, etc)
    However, I post the photo mainly to answer the question: where do children of average height come from?

    Ah, you look fantastic!

  34. @scaler911

  35. @G’rilla, @xyxax
    I’ve always used a straight-edge that I hold under the flat bit of the bars and align it to the bottom of the brake lever. In issue 25 of Rouleur, however, they have the guy rebuilding Roger’s bike lining them up by setting the bars on the workbench with the brakes attached and lining them up that way. That, of course, is the way I will do it henceforth.

  36. @motor city
    Are you norm? We think we actually saw your coop back when we were studying up on ours! Small world!

    @BrianG, @scaler911
    Agreed – mesh back is totally fine – no worries. I have both. I don’t notice much difference, though, so I would get one that fits well and I’ve found the fit on the mesh-back ones to be a bit looser than the others.

    @The Oracle

    Don’t know how this thread got onto chickens, but be forewarned, if you get those chickens anywhere near me, I’m-a gonna eat ’em!

    My VMH refuses to call them “chickens” when we commonly prepare chicken for din-din. She refers to them only as “yickens”.
    Go figure.

  37. @frank
    Nipple lube!

  38. @frank
    And I feel maaahhhvelous.
    Thanks for the alignment tip. I’ll put it to good use.

  39. @frank

    @scaler911

    Mates- Thanks for the tip on the mesh back question.

  40. This just arrived courtesy of the good folks at Bikes to Rwanda. Will go nicely with jersey and bibs come spring (once it’s warm enough to put them all together again).

  41. @xyxax
    My dissertation supervisor once commented that I had an astute capacity for stating the obvious. Dude: you’re ridiculously tall.

  42. @Steampunk
    You’re in good company, my friend. If it weren’t for the obvious, I’d never open my mouth.

    Pretty thoughtful kit, by the way, gilet and arm warmers, rather than the typical jersey.

  43. @BrianG
    Mesh back isn’t really a big deal. Mine is mesh and I have had it out in -5* and in a light drizzle with wet ground without a problem. Below freezing I went SS jersey, LS baselayer, wool armwarmers and the mesh gilet and I was fine. When it is wet it keeps the mud off of my jersey still.

    On a somewhat related note, how should I go about cleaning wool warmers without any wool-specific detergent?

  44. @Steampunk
    Beautiful. Might I suggest its better than a V-Gilet and OTR Arm Warmers. Strong work.

    @Steampunk, @xyxax
    If it weren’t’ for the obvious I would never get out of bed. G’rilla and I went for a ride at 9a today. Hill Repeats. “Yeah…my plane was late. It got in at 2am.” In Seattle, where I know he lives, that means he wasn’t to bed before 4am.

    The “Obvious”, as you two call it, says, “Text Frank at 8:59 that you’re not coming, and to bugger off.”

    Not him. No, he didn’t even complain as my freshly rested self dropped him on the first two repeats of the 2km, 25% (at the steepest) hill we’ve been training on. And then on the third (reluctant for me, “why not?” for him) repeat, he left me behind like an old, smelly towel before easing up to at the top so I could blow by him where the climb got easy. It felt good, but I knew what he was doing. He’s a fucking asshole, that one.

  45. @DerHoggz

    @BrianG
    Mesh back isn’t really a big deal. Mine is mesh and I have had it out in -5* and in a light drizzle with wet ground without a problem. Below freezing I went SS jersey, LS baselayer, wool armwarmers and the mesh gilet and I was fine. When it is wet it keeps the mud off of my jersey still.
    On a somewhat related note, how should I go about cleaning wool warmers without any wool-specific detergent?

    Great point – the biggest thing you’re after here is the wind-blocking capability and the fit. The mesh back might keep it cooler in the warm, but it won’t dramatically cool you down in the cold.

  46. @frank yep I’m norm and I agree, the internet really has made this a small world – in a good way I think.

    @scaler911 cheers!

  47. @frank
    Good one. Your “fold it and tuck it under your jersey” idea is shit. I lost a gilet today on my ride. Luckily not my V-Gilet. There woulda been ter-rubble if that had happened.

  48. I laugh. But not at the loss of your gilet…

  49. @brett

    @frank
    Good one. Your “fold it and tuck it under your jersey” idea is shit. I lost a gilet today on my ride. Luckily not my V-Gilet. There woulda been ter-rubble if that had happened.

    Only thing tighter than a Dutchman’s wallet is his jersey.

  50. @brett

    @frank
    Good one. Your “fold it and tuck it under your jersey” idea is shit. I lost a gilet today on my ride. Luckily not my V-Gilet. There woulda been ter-rubble if that had happened.

    Hey Brett, yeah. My mistake. I forgot to explicitly mention that if your jersey can double as a nightgown, you shouldn’t try this technique.

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