Hardwearing, Classic and Functional – and from Lutterworth!
One of the things I have become used to in my time cycling – and I cycle throughout the winter, as opposed to entertaining the rather fanciful notion of ‘seasons’, is the ritual of pulling on an aging pair of Helly Hansen baselayer tights and shirt, followed by a trusty and now increasingly threadbare pair of DHB bib tights. The shock of the cold air, even with legs clad as described, is always present as I step out of the house to begin cycling. Therefore, with my usual sense of excellent timing, I have discovered what I believe may be the solution to my cold-related woes, the day before the weather is due to become warmer and more spring like.
As he has done with many things, my cycling buddy Mark put me on to a clothing brand some time ago that I have been meaning to try. I have already posted this year about my venture into the world of Sportwool clothing, as proffered by the excellent Shutt VR from Yorkshire, who can claim to be a supplier of British cycle clothing in a traditional vein. But the kit I bought was very much summer stuff- short-sleeved jersey and bibshorts that summon thoughts of balmy summer days in the saddle. Mark mentioned that he had spent the winter riding his Thorn Raven Sport Tour in a pair of plusses from Tudor Sports, and when he mentioned that his buying decision had been influenced by the fact that they were based in Lutterworth, also his birthplace, I became intrigued.
Looking at their website, I fell for the brand straight away. It calls to mind traditional British cycling kit – the kind of thing that used to be worn by the kind of bearded hard cases that made up the membership of cycling clubs throughout the land in the 1970s. Made in the UK using a mixture of cotton and nylon, the range of cycling kit from Tudor is currently small, but perfectly formed. When I saw some of their items on a rack in Madgetts, my local cycling emporium, I knew it had to be good. So this morning, the purchase I made was delivered. I bought a pair of full length tights, and after only two days, they had landed on my doormat.
I happened to be newly returned from my wet and cold 30-miler, and so I pulled the tights on over my DHBs to see how they fitted. Oh, what a lovely thing they are. Thick, by which I mean that they make a pair of lycra tights seem like an opaque condom, they proffer a feeling of luxury to your legs that I can only describe as like getting in to a warm bath. I had ordered a pair of size L – 34″ waist and 31″ leg. These were the perfect length, with an ankle zip for comfort, and a natty ‘World Champion’ band around the ankles. They have a large rear pocket, and a reinforced seat area for extra ‘in saddle’ comfort. They really are of the highest quality and comfort.
Tudor have been going for quite some time as a sports wear company, and everything about them reminds you of the glorious time when we used to have ‘sports shops’ – emporia which sold cricket gear, tennis rackets, hockey sticks, cycling kit and darts trophies. It’s a symptom of our national slide into aesthetic poverty that we now have JJB Sports on every high street – and while most of the ‘proper’ sports shops are long gone, we now have loud, glitzy warehouses hawking cheap Chinese sweatshop clobber to obese oafs who could barely run out of the store with their shoplifted shell suits.
What really impresses about Tudor is the sheer value for money – you get a lot of kit for relatively little money. Augmenting the tights are 3/4 length ‘Plusses’, and a rather nice looking cycling jacket with rear pockets that looks just the ticket, and is now available in Black, Red, Royal and Yellow.
Now, if you’re the kind of cyclist who must have the current year Cervelo Test Team strip for your Sunday ride, then you’re not going to be impressed with Tudor’s range – but then you probably also think this whole Blog is awful. For those of us who have been enlightened, and there are very many out there who have been quietly buying Tudor’s kit for years, this is a terrific, English made and superb value supplier.