With spring weather still in that in-between place where chilly morning temperatures give way to warm mid-days, only to dip back down in the evening, lightweight Merino wool seems just right for comfort on and off the bike.
So I’m often reaching right now for the knit, short-sleeve women’s cycling jersey from Rapha that I bought when the British apparel maker introduced it last year. It was the company’s first entry into the women’s city cycling market, and they’ve since added a long-sleeve version.
Although my workday travels on my city bike — which might include a meeting in Chelsea, a lunch date in Williamsburg and a stop at the market for the makings of dinner – don’t require special clothes, I’m drawn to the growing selection of apparel that merges the look of stylish urban street clothes with performance features from the world of road cycling.
The Rapha city jersey delivers because it’s the kind of soft and comfy, figure-flattering top that I’d choose for daily wear even if I didn’t ride a bike. Its classic qualities travel well under a tailored or casual jacket paired with slim trousers and loafers. The plus is that the fine Merino is breathable and wicks moisture (wool also has anti-odor properties) for “climate control” on the bike. A two-button rear pocket also makes it easy to carry a few essentials for a quick trip.
A note on care: The main fabric content is 90 percent Merino, 7 percent nylon and 3 percent elastane (Spandex). I rinse my jersey by hand, roll it up in a towel to remove excess moisture and hang it over a towel bar to air dry. A year later, it has held its shape and still looks great.
Rapha Women’s Short Sleeve Merino City Jersey, mauve or blue, $165