The onset of Summer can bring all sorts of unwelcome insect life to plague a cyclist’s otherwise happy life. From the clouds of midges that we must negotiate with arms flailing wildly to the single errant fly whose last flight down a descending throat leads to all manner of coughing and wobbling. In general it’s rarely a convivial meeting of worlds.
The thought then of a foot-long wasp following your every cycling move might not instantly appeal to everyone but when said wasp has been drawn by Chris Gordon and it appears on the back of one of Duke of The Downs‘ cycle jerseys, the thought instantly becomes a lot more palatable.
Chris has provided four illustrations for the Brighton-based company whose mission is to provide an alternative to retro, comedy or team kit. There is a gleefully sinister streak to the designs they have chosen which the titles alone should readily communicate. Skull, Wolf, Pistols and Wasp all follow the same format of a large graphic on the jersey reverse with the Duke of the Down’s crown logo on sleeve and breast. Pistols is the single white offering with the others favouring a Jersey Pocket-pleasing black.
For me it was a toss-up between the equally excellent Wasp and Skull designs for my review jersey. I felt that the more vertical aspect of these two designs worked best as a back print, with the duelling pistols a close third. I received my medium Wasp in a nicely thought out cardboard package that was wholly unexpected given the modest price of £49.00.
Of course this isn’t Merino Sportwool or Coldblack technology but it’s a robust dye-sublimated jersey with vented side material, a waist gripper, zippable phone pocket and a couple of small reflective inserts. The full length zip is the ubiquitous (and ubiquitously good) YKK and there is nothing to dissuade you from buying one should any of the designs take your fancy. The sleeves are cut slightly more generously than a lot of jerseys, which initially feels odd if you are used to more fitted jerseys but which makes a lot of sense for those of us who are not knocking on 4% bodyweight ahead of taking on the Tour de France.
I’ve worn my Wasp quite a few times over the last couple of weeks – it even accompanied me out on my warm-up for The Hour (more of which soon!) – and it has done everything asked of it on each occasion. It fits, it wicks, and it doesn’t make me look like I’m using my cycling time to make a humorous statement or declare my (very real) affinity for Marmite, the London A-Z or Wallace & Gromit.. Job done I would say..
We’ll be looking forward with interest to Duke’s next collection. If they choose their designers as wisely as they have done this time, people will be swarming all over them..