I didn't take up cycling until quite late in life. It was a way to get fit after a long illness and I'd put on quite a bit of weight.

As a result, the clothing I could wear while retaining a modicum of self-respect and comfort was baggy and not best suited to cycling. But, as I cycled more and my body self-image troubled me less, I began to embrace the functionality of cycle-specific clothing.

Nearly 20 years on, I concentrate more on the practicality and benefits offered by better-fitting shorts and jerseys. These days, I am more or less oblivious to any notion that what I'm wearing could stop traffic or curdle milk. Even so, I don't have what many brands' marketing would have you believe is a "cyclist physique", and there are parts of my extensive cycling wardrobe that's folded neatly in preparation for uploading to Vinted.

I've spent the whole winter in the Pain Cave thrashing out virtual miles on my turbo-trainer and have had to update my clothing catalogue with smaller and smaller clothes - solo training is the perfect sandbox for testing the fit and function, I've found. However, there is still some clobber that I'm finding impractical despite its premium price tag. Cost doesn't necessarily guarantee comfort, and there ain't no way I'm going to look like the models advertising the latest advances in aerodynamics.

Staark Cycling is one company that is taking a more pragmatic approach to this personal dilemma. I'd like to think the extra 'a' is there to avoid confusion with fictional arms dealer, genius, metal-besuited superhero and Marvel Avenger, Tony Stark.

Staark's founders aren't ex-pro's, they are grassroots cyclists who have loved the sport since their childhood years, growing up through BMX, mountain biking, cycle-commuting, and road cycling.

They watched their cycling companions pulling on garments that were either too loose or tight in places; for the outlay they had all made on their beautiful bicycles, they were owed clothing that had an equal amount of much attention paid to it.

Normal-shaped people deserve well-fitting and innovative designs and materials, and Staark Cycling seems determined to tackle this head-on. I've been fortunate enough to get hold of one of their limited-edition Founder's Jerseys to review.

The Founder's Jersey from Stark is a lightweight  soft and breathable cycling top.
The Founder's Jersey from Stark is a lightweight soft and breathable cycling top.

I was astounded to feel how light the material felt - despite this, it felt neither baggy nor restrictive when I first put it on. I decided to give it an hour-long thrash on the turbo to see how it coped with the gallons of effort I'd pumped out.

I've found some clothing can feel weighty after a session, but there was none of that evident. The hem and sleeves stayed pretty much in place.

As I said, I'm less body-conscious these days about how I look on the bike - it's more about function and form - but the Founder's Jersey is a flattering black with contrast piping. On closer inspection, the material has the look and feel of fine merino, and it claims to have superior wicking and anti-bacterial properties to reduce post-workout unsociable odours.

The body mapping is impressive, turning my torso from looking like shrink-wrapped chicken portions to the more flattering curve of the cling film on a 'Best Before End' shepherd's pie in the reduced aisle.

Three rear pockets and a zipped valuables pocket help you stow gear in comfort.
Three rear pockets and a zipped valuables pocket help you stow gear in comfort.
The jersey also boasts flat seams for durability and comfort, ergonomically positioned hi-visibility reflectives and innovative gripper strips to prevent ride-up - this certainly seemed to keep everything in place on a sortie to the Surrey Hills, and it was reassuring to have a zip-pocket to secure my keys in while out on the ride.

I gather these jerseys initially went on sale at £150, but they are currently available priced £79.99 which seems good value given the premium quality.

All of this would be impressive on its own without the fabric being made up of 85% recycled nylon and 15% recycled elastane. Staark is already a B-Corp-rated company, having set out to be as ethically minded and run as possible right from its foundation in 2021.

Their garments, starting with this limited run of Founder's Jerseys, are made from ecologically sound components; where possible the fabrics are made from recycled materials and are themselves recyclable. No bleach is used during the fabric production process - materials are made in Europe and shipped to Italy for production by a family-run business.

The jersey comes in flattering black with reflective detailing and a close but not restrictive fit.
The jersey comes in flattering black with reflective detailing and a close but not restrictive fit.

I'm very keen to see what kind of cycling shorts they produce, but the next item due to be released is a women-specific jersey. Staark make clothing in batches, all made-to-order so there's no waste and they avoid the all-too-common problems of having 'distressed stock' that ends up in the bin.

For now, I'll continue to ensure the Founders Jersey is at the very top of the laundry pile. I can't see myself enjoying rides in pretty much anything else, and I have a feeling that my to-be-Vinted pile may be increased in size over the next few months.

Staark Founder's Jersey, £79.99 from staark.cc