The Ancient Wonders of Merino Wool

Every year the R&D guys at some of the world’s biggest cycle brands spend thousands of hours carefully refining their materials to bring us ever greater advances in cycling technology. We benefit from their genius when we stand in awe at the minuscule weight of a new carbon fibre bike, the efficiency of a hub dynamo or the ability to measure our cadence without so much as a single visible electrical lead (to name but a few). Yet once in a while mother nature reminds us that while she’s happy for us to play in her garden of delights she is, and always will be, the boss. 

On the remotest hills of South New Zealand’s highest alps seemingly inconspicuous Merino sheep have been efficiently making their way through the seasons of our planet for far, far, far longer than any of us have been around. Their ability to survive extreme both extreme cold and warm summers bills down to the evolution of what we call Merino wool. 

Over the next few months you’ll grow tired of us talking about Merino wool as we encourage every customer to make one good investment this autumn and purchase a Merino base layer. So before you get to that stage we thought we’d pause and share with you three reasons Merino really is one of natures greatest gifts and the one purchase which will keep you comfortably cycling through the cooler days and nights before us. 

Evolution refines excellence

Altura Thermocool Mens Long Sleeve Base Layer £39:99

Altura Thermocool Mens Long Sleeve Base Layer £39:99

Crack open the packaging of any well manufactured merino base layer and before we get to issues of cut and design there’s the instant issue of touch and feel. Merino feels great and that really matters. While some idiots continue to insist on life being hard work we relish those things which enable us to enjoy the good life we’ve been given. Slipping into a Merino base layer as you drag yourself out of bed makes those autumnal commutes feel a whole heep easier. Add to this Merino’s lack of fuzz and itch when compared to other wools and it seems evolution has done a pretty good job.

Beware the cold morning followed by the warm day

Altura Women's Merino Long Sleeve Base Layer £34:99

Altura Women's Merino Long Sleeve Base Layer £34:99

Traveling at and through consistent temperatures is a luxury few cyclists have. For most of us who are blessed to live on these islands each day can bring a significant shift in temperature; never more so than in the autumn and spring months of chilly mornings followed by often considerably warmer days. Add to this the sharp rise in your core body temperature as you shift from stepping out of the front door to riding a steady pace up the nearest hill and there’s a real need for materials capable of meeting these changes. Stand up Merino. It’s good news for sheep and it’s good news for us too. Merino wool has the ability to regulate your core temperature letting excessive heat out while concurrently releasing heat back to your body thus enabling you to avoid developing a sudden chill. 

All hail Lanolin

Stick with your cotton t shirt and not only will it absorb sweat but it will hold that sweat meaning that once you cool down the bacteria in your perspiration will multiply and thus begins the dreaded stench. Merino not only absorbs and releases moisture thus constantly pulling sweat away from both you and its self (hydroscopic wicking) but also contains antimicrobial Lanolin natures own genius. Need we go on?

We sell all of our Merino products online and in store but in the mean time, why not come and check out our pod at the University of Birmingham? We'd love to see you.