THE LIGHT BLUE CLASSIC ROAD JERSEY
XL 292g (As Tested) Long Sleeves £59.99 Blue/CambridgeBlue/Gold
The Light Blue originated in late Victorian Cambridge, the brand of hand-made bicycle built by John Albert. 110 years later, the brand returned, revived by John Albert’s great-grandson, maintaining tradition whilst utilising modern materials. The Light Blue Classic Road Jersey is made for The Light Blue in Italy by Pella. You’d expect a genuinely classic combination. How nice of them to give Oxford a look in with the dark blue shades, too. Good show, all round.
Pros: Does more than it claims and has wider applications than day road use.
Cons: Reflective details? A zip baffle?
100% polyester, long sleeves, three rear pockets,neat stitching, gold piping, contrasting side panels, full length zip; this is a traditional style jersey. There’s more to it than that, though.
The fabric is solidly mid-weight, breathable and “thermal”, 230GSM Cross Fleece. This should be decently hard-wearing. More importantly, perhaps, it suggests spring and autumn wear next to the skin (in a temperate climate such as the UK), mid-layer use in winter, and a summer in the warderobe - or the pannier. Sunny and cool, it has a verfiied Sun Protection Factor of 50.
The fleecy inner is beautifully tactile. Outwardly an attractively traditional face is presented to the world. A neat pattern of minature cubes gives a subliminal check, whilst the contrasting panels and piping are genuinely classic club style.
Cut is, again, traditional. The silicone gripper hem, though not quite so trad, is none-the-less welcome. Wrinkled sleeves are another sign of tradition. You’ll have to have very long arms to expose flesh beyond the elasricated cuffs. Raglan cut completes the picture round the collar. Everything is neatly stitched.
Three trad rear pockets, even in size, are supplemented by that handy newcomer, the zip-pocket (on the right of the three open pockets. There is nothing in the way of reflective detail. Some will miss these, others will feel happy that style has not been compromised. Not a deal-breaker, for me. Nor, incidentally, given the nature of the jersey, is the baffle-less zip
Coming in sizes from Small to XLarge, I went for the biggest. Sizing satisfied my prefernce for a generous cut. I could have got my fourteen stone frame into a Large, but over a base-layer, too? As ever, check the sizing. By comparison, Altura’s NV2 Thermo jersey was quite a tight fit. Proviso: I’m no racing snake.
Arriving on the test bench in the middle of a heatwave, the first few miles were far too toasty with the mercury over 20C, even in the early morning. Thank Heaven for the full length zip, which allowed decent climate control. So, seeking climes for a fairer test, it was put through its paces in Northern Ireland when the weather broke, and in cooler evenings and mornings when back home in the English Midlands.
With the thermometer around 12C early morning bursts around the Antrim Glens seemed to suit the jersey down to the ground. Building up a sweat to find it wicked away before a chilly descent threatened. On descents there was never anything uncomfortable.
Adjusting the zipper on the fly was fine in mitts, but in these Phew Early Early Winter Gloves felt alittle more fiddly Would I like a larger fob on the zip? Yes, but that’s not likley to be a dealbreaker. In winter with thickly-gloved hands you’ll almost certanly be using this as a mid-layer, requiring little adjustment. Proviso: I cook a degree or so lower than the norm for a human, so I tend to feel hot at a lower temperature.
Getting up early to take advantage of morning temperatures in single figures - as low as 6C (with windchill taken into account) - and sprited blasts begged for a base-layer. Combining it with Altura’s Thermocool Long-sleeve base, and my venerable Gore Bikewear thermal provided a comfortably warm ride at a sensible 16mph.
Not waterproof or water-repellent, it took around thirty minutes of drizzle, on the move, before it noticed much. When drenched, drying time on the road was around forty minutes. Machine washed, with fast spin, rather less. On that note, a few washes in, there’s no sign of bobbling or loose threads. Colour is still nice and bright, too.
Wicking is good. No nasty dampness on rapid bursts, or at a steadier touring pace.
This is fundamentally a road jersey, so, in rougher terrain, watch out for snags on brambles.
There’s a reason for classic styling and cut; a proven record of success. Whilst on style, though obviously a cycling jersey, its relatively subtle colours have not been out of place on an evening off the bike. Comfortable to slip on when hot summer days gave way to cooler evenings on the campsite.
The pockets will take all you need for a day ride - provided your waterproof is not too bulky. The zip pocket swallows credit cards, cash and keys - though even my slim wallet is too large. Spot on for an iPhone 6/SE, though.
Pretty straight-forward. Cold wash at 30C or even less, cool iron, no bleach, and do not tumble dry. Dry cleaninfg is fine, with one proviso regarding solvent. The label says, “Or give it to your mother She knows how to do it.” If my Mum had read that, she’d have chucked it back at me!
OK, I like trad styles, although I do appreciate modern fabrics. So, I’ll have to admit, this jersey is right up my main street. It is stylish, but functions very well, too. Add a decent price point. Not as weighty, or, in my opinion as warm as Altura’s NV2 Thermo Jersey, but spacier. Great for the road, but with obvious applications for touring.
Even the UK’s unpredictable early autumn weather has not produced really low temperatures yet, so there’ll be an update when winter sets in and mid-layers become the norm. Having said that, despite the trend for weather specific garments, there’s a lot to be said for layering - especially on a multi-day tour. In that context jerseys like The Light Blue Classic really come into their own, as well as suiting longer day rides - retro or not.