There is one good thing to come from the shorter days and dropping temperatures, and that's the kit. There's nothing quite like wrapping up warm and hitting the roads on a chilly and crisp day, and fortunately for us, we have brands like dhb to make that seasonal transition as comfortable as possible.
dhb is renowned for producing quality and affordable cycling apparel, but unlike other brands (sadly), they put women's cycling up there with the men's. With an equal amount of care, attention and detail going in, dhb are one of the few brands to offer the same, if not more, women's kit than men's.
For autumn/winter 2017, dhb has launched a whole new range of road cycling kit which caters for all types of rider who are looking for stylish performance apparel. In addition to then expansion of their merino wool range, we've gotten our hands on the new Aeron range which has been put through its paces, and the washing machine, a fair few times.
dhb Aeron AW17 Collection
Earlier this year, Katherine was blown away with the fit and performance of dhb's Aeron softshell jacket. So with expectations high, I was keen to clock up some miles in the updated "full protection" softshell model.
From the outset, it was clear this jacket was built for business. While it feels thicker than most cycling jackets, it's incredibly soft on the inside with a lovely brushed fabric to keep you feeling toasty on chillier days out.
The thickness of the polyester blend for the main construction is responsible for its water and windproof properties, something you'll find future-you will be grateful for if you get caught out in a sudden bad weather spell.
The attention to detail is really quite exquisite with this jacket; the seams are tidy and flush, there's reflective detailing, three spacious pockets, zipped stash pocket, a wide silicone lined hem and a chin guard to not only keep the draught out but to also reduce irritation from rubbing against the skin as you ride.
The tapered fit maintains its feminine charm along with the subtle polka-dot pattern adorning the shoulders and side-arm panels. This jacket is extremely comfortable to ride in and became an absolute blessing on cooler morning and evening rides.
I was genuinely surprised to learn that this jacket retails for £100 because the quality of the fabric, its properties and the finish of it reflects a garment you'd usually find for double that amount. What's more is that after multiple washes - following the care instructions, of course - the Aeron full protection softshell still feels and looks amazing. I'm looking forward to wearing this deep into the winter months.
dhb Aeron Women's Roubaix Jersey
If you're looking for warmth but nothing too heavy-duty, then next in line is the Aeron Roubaix Jersey which is a mid-weight, long sleeved top with a full-length zipper.
For those of you who aren't familiar with Roubaix, it's a wonderfully warm and soft fabric which is used throughout many winter sports collections. It's breathable, versatile and relatively lightweight making it perfect for cycling in.
Arguably a wardrobe essential, having a long sleeve jersey such as this will no doubt see you through many seasonal transitions, especially in the UK where seasons changes are incredibly broad and spontaneous.
Reflective piping lines the top half of the full-length zip and the high collar helps prevent draught creeping its way down into your jersey. In addition to this, there is a traditional arrangement of pockets in the rear along with a sweat-resistant zipped pocket for essential carries.
What I love about this jersey is that the fit is not only comfortable but flattering too. It has a lovely shape whilst remaining long in the body to provide ample coverage for when you're down on the drops and giving it your all. While the Aeron Roubaix jersey has a close fit, there's room underneath to sneak in a base layer if it's particularly nippy outside.
dhb Aeron FLT Women's Roubaix Bib Tights
An autumn/winter cycling wardrobe wouldn't be complete without a pair of warm tights, and the new Aeron FLT Roubaix bib tights are just the ticket.
Starting at the top, the upper half of these bib tights are constructed with a breathable mesh fabric. The straps are wide and soft on the shoulders and have enough flex to move with you as you ride.
Moving down the tights, the mesh fabric meets the Roubaix compression material which sits high on the waist offering comfortable support - it's also quite flattering too!
Unlike most brands who play it safe by keeping bib tights totally black, dhb dare to ignite some colour into theirs with both blue and red dotted patterns available. It's subtle enough to not turn heads but your fellow cycling comrades will surely notice the flare in your pedal stroke.
Now onto the important bit - the chamois. dhb has teamed up with Italian experts, Elastic Interface®, to construct the Tour Air chamois pad which uses two densities of foam to support you where you need it most. dhb claim these tights are ideal for both road and XC riding with up to six hours in the saddle and after some bumpy long gravel rides, I can safely say that I was grateful to be wearing these tights.
dhb Brand ambassador, Hannah Lord, has been extensively testing the new Aeron FLT Roubaix bib tights and here's what she has to say: "As always the designs of the dhb kit are striking and a joy to put on, especially the thermal tights with the red spots on the calves. There are not enough interesting tights out there and these definitely tick that box- making winter kit exciting and enjoyable on the eye."
What strikes me most about the new autumn/winter collection from dhb is how much bang for your buck you get. Each garment has been thoroughly thought through and designed with the female cyclist in mind.
The feminine fit, the performance inspired fabrics and subtle design features come together in the final product which exudes cycling excellence whilst truly invoking a sense of confidence as you ride.
Another practical, and personal favourite, feature of this collection is the brilliant ability to mix n' match items with your existing wardrobe. Whether you're looking for new additions or a whole new winter cycling kit, the dhb AW17 collection should be your first port of call.