It's the summer -sort of- and with it comes fresh new kit, stunning new bikes and many daylight hours to explore the roads and pedal those pins.
Feeling at home in the tree line and atop mountains, this year I've decided to venture out of the dirt and adrenaline world of MTB, and power pedal myself along the undulating roads of the UK.
Whilst finding my feet on the pedals of skinny tyres and drop bars, I've ditched the baggies and wiggle danced my body into some roadie approved Lycra fashion. With a naive pre-conception that second skin kit would be restrictive and hot to ride in, I wasn't exactly jumping for joy at the prospect.
However, when I'm presented with stunning road kit in soft fabrics and alluring colours, it definitely invokes a feeling of excitement, amidst the trepidation.
I've known Madison from the get-go of mountain biking. Sponsoring female athletes such as Manon Carpenter, Madison strives to manufacture comfortable, stylish and functional cycling wear. It isn't just the kit we love with Madison, but their dedication to women's cycling, offering a wide variety of kit in UK sizes, rather than the ambiguous standard small, medium and large we're often presented with.
With female designers on board, the new 2016 women's line from Madison Clothing is looking sharper than ever, and I was all too willing to road test the new Keirin jersey and shorts on the rolling roads of North Wales.
Madison Keirin Women's Short Sleeve Jersey
Starting with the Keirin jersey, upon receiving it at my front door, I immediately noticed the bold panel colour design and super soft feel of the fabric in my hands.
Cut for training and sportive riding, this is an ideal jersey for me as a non-serious racer or pro.
There's a half length zip at the front of the jersey which I love for being thin, discrete and unnoticeable against the skin. However, being a technical and tight fit jersey, I felt the half length zip somewhat a hindrance for quick and easy removal. When I'm hot and sweaty after a ride, I don't want to peel a jersey over my head, I'd rather a full length zip so I can easily unwrap myself.
Having ridden some beautiful country roads in North Wales on humid evenings, I did find the jersey's lightweight fabric to be super wicking with its mesh under-arm panels and short cuffs.
Three cargo pockets and a small zipped stash pocket sit at the rear of the jersey, providing ample storage for your riding essentials, coins, keys and snacks.
Other features include an elasticated silicone hem for grip and comfort, and reflective detailing for riding in low light conditions.
Colours: Yellow/Black - Teal/Black - Pink/White
Sizes: UK 8 - UK 16
Madison Keirin Women's Shorts
Completing the Keirin kit are the accompanying shorts which are constructed from tight and high quality Lycra.
They feel smooth, stretchy and solid in the hand. The chamois is thick, laser cut and has well placed pin-hole cut outs for increased undercarriage ventilation. The seams are flat-lock and smooth, without any pokey bits to cause rubbing.
A deep elasticated waistband sits comfortably on the waist, and the silicone leg cuffs gently grip the leg keeping the shorts in place throughout the ride.
With reflective detailing and colour matching fabrics on the panels, this jersey and combo looks great together on the bike.
Colours: Black - Teal/Black - Pink/Black
Sizes: UK 8 - UK 16
Having clocked up a number of miles in the Keirin kit, I can honestly say it's one of my favourites.
I particularly love the fit, with the jersey sleeves being slightly longer than regular cap sleeves and the shorts which are comfortable, and totally fixed to the body.
Although I do prefer a full length zip on my jerseys, I did feel the benefit of not having a zip running through to my waist as it does offer less restriction.
The chamois is one of the nicest I've ridden in. It's well cut and well situated to cover the vital sit bones and provide "foof" protection for those long gruelling days in the saddle.
Coming from a baggy background, I've been pleasantly surprised with the comfort and ease of wearing Lycra road kit. This being made easier when the kit is as stylish and attractive as the Madison Keirin road kit.
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