by Madeline Bowker
Castelli Trasparente 3
I’ll be honest – it doesn’t take much to put me off going out for a ride when the weather is bad. Deep down, I know I’ll enjoy it once I’m out there. I know I’ll feel better afterwards. And yet somehow, it’s all too easy to put it off to another day. But when you’ve got some lovely new cycle clothing to put on, it becomes a lot easier to get out on your bike and brave the weather. A bit like having a pair of gorgeous new party shoes. And I have to say, Castelli clothing is the cycling version of some sleek Louboutins.
Let’s have a look at the Trasparente 3 (Women’s) Long Sleeve Jersey. As Castelli describe it, it is somewhere between a jersey and a jacket. Either way, it does fit like a snug jersey but with some of the protection of a jacket. I wore mine on a gloomy, foggy December afternoon. Because it was cold, I did wear a thermal base layer underneath. With that on, and my trusty Gore Windstopper gloves, I was just right. The Castelli Trasparente 3 has Gore Windstopper X-Lite Stretch fabric on the front and tops of the sleeves, with Thermal Warmer fabric on the back and undersides of the arms. And I have to say, the Windstopper fabric does exactly what it says. As I whizzed down the foggy slopes, my face was nearly numb but the rest of me was completely protected.
The Trasparente 3 has a high neck, which is great for protection and the zip was easy enough to grab. Even with gloved hands, I could still loosen it and zip it up when I was heading downhill again (it is very hilly round our way!). The Warmer fabric on the back means you don’t overheat. In fact, just having a strop of Warmer fabric under the arms means you only need to lift your elbows a tiny bit for instant ventilation. But if you keep them tucked in your sides stay warm. The cuffs and tails are made from a stretchy softshell fabric which keeps everything in place. Before I set off, I confess I was thinking the Trasparente 3 could have been cut a little longer at the back. However, the softshell fabric kept it well and truly in place, even when I was hunched over. I was wearing the Castelli Nanoflex Donna Tights, rather than bibs, but even so I didn’t feel exposed at the back at all.
The fit is snug and sleek. In terms of sizing, Castelli is on the small size. I’m a 32” bust (and sadly, not particularly busty) so the small size fit me well. It’s super stretchy and comfortable but definitely not a “relaxed” fit. That said, it made me feel like a sleek racer. You can judge for yourself from the photos whether I actually looked like one…. But that’s the thing about Castelli and other premium brands: they make you feel fantastic. They don’t make the hills any easier, but at least you feel like a pro. Like a pair of fabulous red-carpet shoes, you feel a million dollars.
And it struck me as the cars whizzed past (casting – I like to think – admiring glances at my attire) that, if I’m honest, my red-carpet opportunities are sadly limited. So I spend a lot more time in my cycling gear than party wear. The reality is therefore that a lot more people see me in my cycling gear. Unlike a towering pair of stilettos, my cycling gear is functional and (most importantly) oh-so-comfortable. If I’m going to spend money on a premium product, it makes a lot more sense to spend it on my cycling clothing.
This may be a gross generalization but, judging from the amount of Castelli clothing I see out on the roads, the men-folk seem to have already justified the need to have premium kit – at least when it comes to cycling. I think this is an area where we women – who tend to focus on functionality over everything when it comes to our cycling clothing – need to catch up!
Madeline rides a Trek Domane 4.3 WSD (now replaced by the Trek Silque). She also uses a Bontrager Ion 700R and Flare R light combination for superb daytime visibility when riding in wintry conditions.