The colour purple has an interesting history. I visited Raglan Castle in Wales over Easter and got talking to an historian and re-enactor who is currrently 2000 hours deep into an embroidery project based on Arthurian legend and motifs found in 12th century tapestry.

Purple features in her design, but sparingly: the great expense of purple dye - extracted from crushed shellfish and historically worth more than its weight in gold - meant it was the preserve of the extremely wealthy: kings, bishops and the Mike Ashleys of the day.

These days it's a little easier to get hold of purple, which is just as well because Galibier have really gone to town with it on their GrandTour Jacket.

Mind you, it would not entirely be a surprise if Myles - the man behind Galibier - was hand crushing local Carlingford langoustine to obtain the dye himself. Galibier strike me as operating to time-honoured principles of honest effort and well-earned reward. Their products - marketed with a refreshing absence of BS - have established a reputation for reliable, good-quality kit at prices that stand out in today's inflated marketplace for their value.

Galibier like medieval embroiderers invest long hours designing their masterpieces.
Galibier like medieval embroiderers invest long hours designing their masterpieces.
Their slogan is not "made by cyclists, for cyclists" but it may as well be; and given that those cyclists are based on the east coast of Ireland you can depend that all Galibier kit has been tested and passed for the wettest and windiest of conditions.

The GrandTour Jacket is a case in point. Galibier describe it as a thermal, aero jacket for foul weather conditions. Despite the name, in practice it's something of a hybrid, sitting somewhere between a jersey and a jacket.

While it's not entirely waterproof it has earned a place near the front of my wardrobe for those rides - and there are many - when the weather is cold but not freezing, threatens rain but is not actually raining, or looks likely to veer between various combinations of drizzle, cloud, sunshine and wind.

The material is called PressureWeave; it's quite a heavy fabric and you notice the heft in your hand, but once clad you'll only notice that you're still warm when the temperature's near zero and you've been out for four hours and been caught in two showers.

Galibier say the jacket is designed for use in temperatures between 6-16C. I tend to run hot and would say it's good for temperatures between near frostbit and 12C but with plenty of scope either way. At the colder end of that range I pair it with a light mesh base layer; towards double digits the GT can fly solo, with perhaps a gilet stowed in those deep pockets in case conditions take a Baltic turn in the hills.

Apart from that rich heathery purple (which just happens to match my Ingrid cranks and Hope brakes), the most striking feature is a broad silver, reflective stripe down the back and, on the right rear pocket, an XL rendition of Galibier's winged wheel logo also in reflective foil.

Further reflective strips emblazon each shoulder. You can't have too much reflective or bright kit on dark winter roads in my opinion, and I take some peace of mind from the liberal application of 3M shininess each time I put on the GrandTour.

Another flourish comes from the TV testcard pattern that lines the front zip; it's not visible once the jacket is on, other than a flash near the collar, but works as a morale-boosting dose of colour to help motivate you out the front door in the darker months.

We seem to have so many of those months - everything between September and April, at least - that the GrandTour will find itself in heavy rotation.

The cut is fitted, but not skin-tight; there's room beneath to layer if conditions require it. I could possibly have sized down to boost Galibier's aero claims, but prefer the relaxed fit of my usual size medium.

The high collar helps keep wind chill at bay, and while there's minimal drop at the hem to keep off road spray your kidneys aren't at risk of freezing.

There's a handy zipped chest pocket too, which saves you vital seconds fishing around behind your back with numb fingers for the front door keys when all you want to do is jump straight into a hot shower.

The lack of waterproofing is perhaps the only Achilles heel, yet I've never really found it an issue: a lightweight rain jacket over the top will keep you dry if the heavens open, and for everything else you'll be snug and warm in your purple armour.

It's a smidge too heavy to race, and you'll find yourself reaching for that chunky zip-pull to let off some steam under harder efforts; but for all-day audax, training rides, touring, off-season sportives - you name it - the GrandTour Jacket is your one-stop top for the job.

Highly recommended. Oh, and if purple's a little rich for your tastes it comes in orange, too.

Galibier GrandTour Jacket, £82.34 from