The temperatures have finally cooled in Los Angeles, and the time to take stock of cold weather gear, both old and new, has arrived. Falling squarely in the “new” category is a piece from Isadore Apparel. The Merino Membrane Vest arrived several months ago, but the weather in LA wasn’t cooperating, and I was only able to start using it last month. Since its inaugural ride, the vest has become a go to part of my cycling kit. The first time I put it on, it felt as if I was sliding my core into a warm and perfectly fitted glove. The materials used are just thick enough to feel substantial, but thin enough to allow for the type of movement necessary on the bike. The outside of the vest has a water and windproof membrane that is incredibly resistant. I’ve not had the chance to try it in rain, but the windproof characteristics are amazing. The inside of the garment is lined with natural merino fiber, providing an added layer of warmth, while maintaining its breathable characteristics. Even when sweaty after a difficult climb, the descent in cooler weather is made bearable by the vest’s attributes. I’ve been doing the Hollywood Sign climb after work, in the dark and in cooler temperatures, and the Isadore vest has really stood up to the test. I’ve worn it with both short sleeve and long sleeve jerseys, both of which work well under the vest. The pockets in back are perfect for my needs. There is one larger horizontal zipped pocket that works well for a pouch carrying an ID and phone. The other pocket is vertical, and it accommodates both a spare tube and pump. There is also a lower back rear extension that tucks aways when not in use, but drops down easily when added rain protection and reflectivity are required. In addition, there are reflective highlight tabs on key parts of the garment. The Merino Membrane vest is a great piece of cycling clothing from a relative newcomer to the cycling market. Founded by Martin and Peter Velits, both professional cyclists within the pro ranks of the peloton, the business is family owned and run. It is based in Slovakia, with shipping available worldwide. I think Isadore has some great ideas, and I’d like to see them get a toehold in the United States.
All Photos by Peter Meciar, assisted by Martin Gross