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It’s all in the detail: Part 2

Written by Fiona February 03 2010

As I’ve blogged before, sometimes it’s the small things that make the biggest difference. See It’s all in the detail: Part 1

This time a discovery of something seemingly small but mightily significant came about after a 20-mile cycle on Sunday afternoon. As usual, for a winter bike outing, I had on my padded cycle shorts with a pair of running leggings over the top. This time it was the favoured Skins leggings.

While I did feel a little chilled to begin with, just a few miles into the trip around the Campsies I was contentedly warm and thought nothing more of my legs, and definitely nothing about my knees.

But then something new – and not very nice – happened. Having completed the ride and then jumped into a hot shower I felt my knees becoming extremely itchy. I looked down to see that my knees had turned a horrible red/purpley shade. Fearing some kind of blood clotting nightmare I called on the advice of the G-Force (not only a force to behold in the hills, but also pretty dynamite on a bike!).

“Chilblains,” was his immediate answer. “Aaaargh, but they are sore and I’ve never had this before,” I whimpered.
“So get yourself a decent pair of cycling leggings,” retorted the G-Force.

But I had no idea there was anything much to compare between a pair of running tights and cycle leggings, except perhaps the butt padding. Now I know better.

After rummaging around in one of his outdoor clothing drawers (he has a few!), the G-Force found an “old” pair of his cycle leggings. Although a little loose on my girlie frame, his Assos (apparently the best – and most expensive cycle clothing make a rider can get) leggings offer more than a little attention to the smaller details.

The first thing I noticed was the extra material over the knees (to prevent cold knees, and therefore chilblains). These extra special leggings also have loops that go over the feet (to keep them in place and prevent chilly ankles?) as well as a bib that keeps your back, stomach and, importantly, your kidneys cosy.

Here’s the technical stuff: Apparently the newest Assos tights “feature an almost genius knee solution. Whereas in the past, any incorporating of Airblock material always meant a reduction in elasticity and hence fit, the Airprotec’s kneezone is designed to make you forget that your knees are Airblock protected. Assos has also redesigned the patternzone behind your knees. The ASSOS solution is pretty sharp, eliminating the overlock seam on the back of your knee which can cause irritation. This tight is designed for high frequency, no restriction pedalling'”. So now I know! And oh-so-very different from my plain old, straightforward running leggings!

I tried these ultra special leggings out for the first time today (and, boy, was it a cold day) but for the first time in winter my legs, ankles, knees, bum, back, stomach and kidneys felt amazingly snug.

As I said, it’s sometimes the smallest of details (although sometimes at a big price) that can make the biggest difference. I guess I might need to buy my own pair of “proper” cycling leggings sometime soon!

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