This week its National Wool week, a celebration of the natural fibre so prevalent in our lives it can often be overlooked. Prince Charles has thrown his weight behind the Campaign for wool in the UK. which aims to raise awareness of the unique properties and uses of the material.
With all this wool based-action happening this week we thought we’d take a moment to reflect on wool and its benefits for cycling. Let’s start with a few facts about wool you might not be aware of…
~Since the Stone age humans have been using sheep fleece to construct clothing. Bedoins of the middle ages were some of the first people to create wool blended fabrics.
~Wool is comparatively as strong as steel. A single wool fibre can be bent 20,000 times before breaking (compared to just 3,000 times for cotton fibre)
~Each and every wool fibre contains moisture, making it naturally fire resistant.
All of our British-made heritage jerseys (Signature, Classic, Sportive & Limited Editions) are made from a special wool blend fabric called MerinoPerformTM Advantage (sometimes know as Sportwool). Not all merino-blends are created equal – the type we use is a high percentage merino (40%) and produced by a specialist danish manufacturer who works hard to produce not only a high quality material, but one that has less impact on the environment, with wool sourced from Merino Sheep farmers that have high-welfare standards. Below you can see a specialist circular knitting machine used to create the fabric we use, AND some cute Merino sheep who’ve found some tasty grass.
WHATS SO GREAT ABOUT MERINO PERFORMTM ?
Being a composite fabric gives the material a very high-tensile strength, making it really durable and much less prone to pilling & snagging in from wear and washing. Couple this with the natural benefits from the Merino wool content (discussed below) and you have the making of a sports fabric super star.
WOOL…ISN’T THAT ITCHY AND HOT?
Merino wool fibres are really fine and soft, heaven next to the skin. The way Merino PerformTM is knitted means that the merino content is next to the skin. Here are some raw Merino fibres and a close up of the finished fabric of one of our Signature jerseys. You can see the difference in texture between the outer side of the jersey fabric and the inner side.
As for being too hot- fear not! Wool fibres are crimped, and when tightly packed together, form millions of tiny pockets of air. This unique structure allows it to absorb and release moisture—either in the atmosphere or perspiration from the wearer—without compromising its thermal efficiency. Wool has a large capacity to absorb moisture vapour (up to 30 per cent of its own weight) next to the skin, making it extremely breathable. The material effectively regulates the wearers temperature, keeping them warm in the cold or cool in the warm. What more could you ask for?
ANY OTHER FEATURES I SHOULD KNOW ABOUT?
Why yes indeed there are!
MerinoPerformTM is far more efficient than other fabrics at absorbing sweat, and realising it into the air. This happens before bacteria has a chance to develop and produce unpleasant smells.
Merino fibres naturally absorb UV radiation, giving the wearer protection when exposed to sunlight.
Easy to care for
Merino PerformTM can be machine washed and won’t become becoming saggy over time.
Hopefully this short explaination of the benefits of Merino PerformTM has been useful. If you have any questions about our wool based products, feel free to get in touch.