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Blog
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BaaRamEwe Should Wear Merino Wool

Merino_sheepSheep have it made:

  • They usually live in the most beautiful, picturesque places.
  • They hang out in communities, or flocks, if you will.
  • They pretty much eat tasty stuff all day long.
  • They are cute.
  • They wear the best fiber: wool.

Wool is amazing, and not just for sheep.  Jack LaLanne knew it, the fitness guru from the 1970’s, who wore wool jumpsuits to show off all his muscles!jack_lalanne

But there’s more to wool than a lovely drape, muscle-showing ability, and a fashionable suit. Why should you, as a cyclist, consider wearing wool, and specifically Merino wool? And while it seems a wee bit crazy to talk about wool as spring is hitting us here in Southern Utah, bear with me dear readers, and you may all be flocking in to Red Rock bicycle to buy some great wool jerseys to wear year-round!

Why should you wear wool? There are many reasons wool is a great fabric:

  • Wool is warm when cold.
  • Wool is cool when hot.
  • Wool has great breathability.
  • Wool has antimicrobial properties.
  • Wool is soft, especially if the item is made out of Merino wool.
  • Wool is a renewable resource, both sustainable, biodegradeable, and compostable.
  • Wool is stretchy (back to Jack LaLanne, and wool being the only stretchy fabric available at the time he needed his jumpsuits made).

Wool really is the perfect fabric for any application: cycling, hiking, sleeping, yoga, or just being.

tops-l-specialized-womens-drirelease-merino-andorra-jerseyLet’s break it down:

Wool is, obviously, warm when it’s cold, which is why so many wintery items are wool! And when it’s cold out, wool is warm when wet. This is great, and necessary, especially for heavy sweaters like myself, who soak through shirts every ride—in other fabrics, I tend to cool off way too quickly, but in wool I can still be warm, even while sweaty.

Contrary to what you might think about wool, it is also great when it’s warm out, as the fabric acts a bit like an evaporative cooler, and releases damp air, which helps cool you down.

Another reason wool has great breathability. The Smartwool website describes it perfectly:

Breathability is the ability of a fabric or fiber to transport moisture in the vapor state from an area of higher humidity to an area of lower humidity. In other words, the more breathable a product is the better it is at removing moisture from the microclimate (the space between your skin and the garment). As your body heats up, the moisture vapors will be absorbed by the wool fiber, and released to the drier environment outside of the fabric; releasing heat and keeping the wearer dry and comfortable.

A Merino fiber can absorb and retain up to 30% of its own weight in moisture and still feel dry to the touch.

F15_merino101_breathability

This is great news for the sweat-ers among us!

Wool also has great antimicrobial properties. Antimicrobial means that the item, in this case wool, has properties that destroy microorganisms or inhibit their growth (Web, Mirriam-Webster). The best part about wool’s antimicrobial nature is that your shirt pits, or your feet, won’t be so stinky, especially after a long ride, or even if you have to wear the item for more than one wear before washing.

Many people think of wool as a super-itchy fabric, and sometimes that is true. But that’s what is so cool about Merino wool: it’s not itchy! In fact, it’s quite soft and comfortable to wear. Merino wool is softer than other wools because, according to the Smartwool site, the fiber has a “smaller (finer) diameter . . .which also makes the fiber more elastic”. And less, or not, itchy. Merino wool fiber is also really flexible, so it does not break down as fast as other fibers will, when worn over and over again.

Finally, wool is a renewable resource: sheep grow it on their bodies, we shave it off, they grow more, and so on. As long as the sheep stays alive, we’ve got wool. And when your wool has had enough: like too many holes from your pedals grabbing your sock, or you’ve just had it for so long, and with so many washes that it’s time to send it off to it’s next life, you can compost your woolie, and rest easy knowing that it’ll make your garden grow.

specialized-rbx-drirelease-merino-jersey-244436-11Many companies carry Merino wool clothing, and Specialized is no exception, offering many wool items for the cyclist that make riding even better than it already is. But Specialized carries great looking shirts, jerseys, flannels, gloves, and socks, to name a few things made with their Dri-Release Wool that will make your rides even more enjoyable.

And specifically, Specialized’s Merino wool clothing . . . “combines the natural hydrophilic (water-loving) wool fibers with a blend of hydrophobic (water-hating) synthetic fibers to push away and evaporate sweat at an even faster rate.” Plus, I might add, a great fit. That’s good news for us as cyclists, at any time of year!

So, come on in to the shop and try out a nice-looking, Merino wool, jersey. We have them in both road and mountain styles, for women and men. And with summer coming, you’ll be glad to have something that keeps you cool while practicing your favorite sport, but also is a jersey you can layer up in the winter to keep you warm—a miracle, I know!

And next time you ride past a flock of sheep, give them a little “Baa” as a way to thank them for producing some of the best fiber on earth.

Do you wear wool for riding? Winter? Summer? Both?  Let us know in the comments below.

Written by Summer Barry

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One Response to “BaaRamEwe Should Wear Merino Wool”

  1. Sarah on 10 Oct 2017 at 5:36 am

    I’m really happy i descovered merino wool. I’m an active bike rider to merino shirts are great option for me. It is perfect for colder weather, it doesn not let me get to sweaty, but keeps my body warm. I bought a shirt from a store and have been wearing it everytime i go for a ride.

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