After almost five months of winter training, the post-ride ritual of filling my washing machine was beginning to grate on me. In would go the thermal bib tights, mucky overshoes, armwarmers that don't match, soggy woolly socks, a sweaty base layer, a club jersey that hadn't seen the light of day; followed by a porous "winter" jacket, a dirty gilet, a neckwarmer-come-chinwarmer, and finally a damp skullcap that sent shivers down my spine as I put it on again after a nice coffee stop. Oh, and gloves... how could I forget the gloves?
By late February I was really looking forward to some spring and summer riding; not just for ditching the winter bike or cycling in more clement weather conditions, but the ease of riding around with less layers on and the hassle that saves.
As all cyclists know, spring can turn to winter and back to spring again in the space of a short Strava segment, so the correct clothing at this time of year can be tricky to get right.
I find with a long sleeve jersey you can strike the right balance when it is dry, so I was more than happy to get my hands on the wonderful Galibier Contrôler Light Jersey for testing.
This is a long sleeve, polyester, full zip jersey. The front zip is of reasonable quality, but it is housed within the garment meaning that the zip area is as warm and windproof as the rest of the jersey. At the top of the zip there is a "zip garage", a fold that protects the neck and chin area from nips when you are zipping up, which is useful - especially if zipping while riding!
The main body and arms of the garment is textured with a subtle square pattern, offering thickness where needed without feeling heavy.
The side trim is elasticated and smooth which helps the garment to feel fitted in the right areas without making you feel constrained at the front or back. The armpit area of the jersey has a series of small breathable holes for keeping you from overheating while riding.
A unique feature of this garment is the double cuff around the wrist which gives the jersey a different look, but it is also functional as the inner cuff is elasticated at the wrist so the wind doesn't get up your arms. Aesthetically, this second cuff is a bright orange color that matches the trim on the pockets and the Galibier logo on the chest which really compliments the look of the rest of the jersey, as well as being more visible.
The washing instructions are printed on the collar, so there are no labels to be removed or to dig in if left on. This allows you to comfortably wear this jersey without anything underneath if so required.
At the back are the standard segregated pockets you find on most cycling apparel. This jersey has three pockets which are stretchy enough to hold everything you would need for a long ride, but with the elasticity to integrate back into the main body of the jersey if the pockets are empty.
A feature I really like in this jersey is the integrated zip for your valuables within the back right-hand pocket. It isn't big but is ideal for a small wallet, money or keys. There is a nifty reflective strip on the zip for added safety. When I ride, my wedding ring sometimes becomes loose on my finger; so in my case, this is my wedding ring pocket!
Finally, there is a grippy, elastic waist band around the bottom of the jersey which really keeps the garment in place so it doesn't ride up your body mid-spin.
The garment is a mix of white, grey and orange which looks fantastic. There are a few art-deco print designs which make the jersey stand out from the standard products of this type on the market.
So the garment looks good and has lots of great features, but what about performance?
I first wore the jersey on a commute in early spring. It was a cold morning so I wore it with bib tights and a short sleeve base layer underneath.
The jersey is lightweight but still warm. It was the only thing covering my arms, and I didn't feel cold at any point on the ride, particularly early on when I had a few descents down cold back roads that the low early morning sunshine hadn't yet reached.
The jersey is aerodynamic enough without feeling too tight, so when you put the hammer down you can trust that you are not sacrificing speed for comfort.
On the commute home (well actually to the mechanic to pick up my car), it had warmed up but it there was a strong breeze. I wore it with only the bib tights underneath. This was my first ride of the spring with only one layer, and it kept me perfectly warm and comfortable for the 12.5 miles.
My only complaint is that the sleeves are half an inch too short when stretching for hoods on the handle bars.
As the evenings got brighter, it was my go-to top layer on those dusk spins where you squeeze in the extra few miles and still to try to get home before the daylight fades.
I have worn it subsequently on leisure spins, for commuting and even during intense training rides with my club (incidentally, I got lots of compliments about it from my clubmates).
While summer may now have kicked into gear, this is a garment that will see you through large chunks of those 'in-between' times of the year when temperatures hover between 5 and 15 degrees. I would highly recommend the Galibier Contrôler Light Jersey as a high quality, functional, aesthetically pleasing piece of cycling kit.
With an RRP of £39 the jersey is extremely affordable too. Galiber have achieved a luxury brand look and feel without the big price tag.