More than anything else, getting out and riding during the winter is simply a matter of having the right clothes. Sure, you could throw on two pairs of sweatpants and your ski jacket to stay toasty on the trail but you probably won’t be comfortable. Instead I decided to check out a merino wool jersey from Sugoi to see how it would stand up to cold, damp January riding conditions.
The Sugoi Wallaroo jersey is made from 100% Australian Merino wool (not from Wallaroo fur as the name might imply 🙂 ) which is nature’s original technical fabric. Like most technical athletic fabrics, Merino wool is breathable and dry wicking but it’s also warm wicking meaning that even when wet from sweat or precipitation it retains much of its insulating value. I’ve been wearing my short-sleeve Wallaroo jersey this month as a base layer and it’s kept me SUPER hot to the point of sweating after just 10 minutes on the bike. On a foggy, cold ride yesterday at Heritage Park I finally stripped off my long-sleeve outer layer and rode short-sleeved in total comfort. Mudhunny couldn’t believe I was riding in a short-sleeve jersey since she was layered up with long pants and sleeves!
The Wallaroo is my first wool jersey and I was afraid it would somehow be itchy or uncomfortable as a base layer but it turns out the opposite is true. The jersey is probably the softest I own and even when wet it didn’t chaffe one bit. Wash and care instructions for the Wallaroo jersey seemed a bit daunting at first – machine wash cold inside-out on gentle cycle, tumble dry low – but after *accidentally* washing the jersey with a normal load I found it no worse for the wear. Who would have thought a Canadian company with a Japanese name could do such amazing things with Australian wool?
I’m also a big fan of this jersey’s style – a touch Euro with neutral colors and rock & roll type treatment. The Wallaroo’s zippered rear pocket is a nice touch even though it’s not quite as convenient as open rear pockets. In terms of sizing, I generally wear size large jerseys but the Wallaroo fit big on me – next time I think I’ll go with a medium.
The Merino wool Wallaroo jersey from Sugoi is a great piece to add to your mountain biking wardrobe for those cold winter rides and it has quickly become my go-to base layer this season. You know what they say about biking jerseys – once you go wool you never go back!