Known for riding off the front of group rides only to be caught in the first mile, CJ got back on a road bike and realized he must win the Donut Derby at least once in his life. Regularly pledging he's "not a climber," he can be found as a regular attendee of Trexlertown's Thursday Night Training Criterium or sitting on the couch watching Paris-Roubaix reruns. CJ has been a constant rider of the Hell of Hunterdon in New Jersey and races the Tour of the Battenkill before going into seasonal hiding on cross-country ski trails.

Review: Belgian Crew Boom Pro Thermal Jersey (€130)

Review: Belgian Crew Boom Pro Thermal Jersey (€130)

If there is a garment in the cycling industry that is hit or miss, it is the long sleeve jersey. The issue stems from companies trying to do too much with this overlooked piece of cycling clothing. Some jerseys are exactly what they advertise: a long sleeve version of the short sleeve jersey. Others have a small amount of insulation to aid in the transition of seasons. But I’ve never had a jersey in the cycling closet that accomplishes the demand to deliver warmth when jacket is too much and sleeves are too little.

 

There are rudimentary temperature charts riders resort to when considering ways to stay warm in the offseason. I have found enjoyment in temperatures down to 65 degrees (19 C) with bare arms. For temperatures between 65 and 50 degrees (19 – 10 C) I resort to sleeves to pick up the slack. I want the option to peel away the insulation in case of a sudden sunburst or long climb. Anything colder and I break out the long sleeve jersey with the option of a vest. I doubt I will entertain the idea of exhausting the body heat when temperatures are that low.

Belgian Crew (formerly Belgian Boys Club) claims the role of ‘Custodians of the Cobbles.’ This reminder is featured on the left bicep of the Pro Thermal Jersey.

Belgian Crew (formerly Belgian Boys Club) claims the role of ‘Custodians of the Cobbles.’ This reminder is featured on the left bicep of the Pro Thermal Jersey.

 The other weekend a strange weather pattern parked itself over the area and I jumped at the chance to wear the Belgian Crew Boom Pro Thermal Jersey. While the thermometer was a bit high, the gusting winds ushered cool air. I put all my trust of staying warm strictly with the experts in temperate weather. I was so sure of the jersey’s performance I wore Belgian Crew’s Tommeke Bib Shorts (reserved for warmer weather) with standard socks. There was also their short-sleeved base layer to help. The temperature was in the forties. All the warmth would hopefully stay under the long sleeve. 

 

The Boom Pro Thermal Jersey continues the Belgian Crew detail with three standard pockets and one hidden pocket.

The Boom Pro Thermal Jersey continues the Belgian Crew detail with three standard pockets and one hidden pocket.

Two things are apparent when gearing up with the Boom Thermal Jersey. The first is the incredibly welcoming feel micro-fleece. The lining should make the wearer more bulky but that does not happen. That leads me to the second attribute of this garment. The fit, as everything else in the Belgian Crew collection, is superb. As a jersey labeled ‘Pro’ and ‘Thermal’ should be, the fit is racy and on the tight side. This will come in handy to keep body heat close to the wearer and prevent the dreaded flapping at high speeds. You will thank Belgian Crew’s demand for tight fitting cycling wear on your first wintry descent. The wind will not find a way in.

 

Belgian Crew designed the jersey to move sweat away from the body as needed. Slow rides produce less sweat. Hard rides produce more but chances are you are riding faster. The wind will dry everything out the harder you attack. Wearing this over your kit makes sense on the casual winter group ride or over the race day ‘cross kit on discovery laps or in the training tent. And with its extended backside, wheel spray is not a suspect in making a ride cold.

 

There are numerous long sleeve ‘misses’ in the cycling closet. They either remain stowed in the fall or come out and are regretted for their lacking ability. Predictions for the winter around here are mild and hovering around the forties. Perfect Boom weather, and I am excited. I have found a ‘hit.’ Perhaps it is more than a hit to have found the Belgian Crew jersey for the offseason, perhaps it is more of a ‘boom.’

Review: Eat Race Win (Musette Publishing)

Review: Eat Race Win (Musette Publishing)

Review: CycleOps Training Mat ($75 USD)

Review: CycleOps Training Mat ($75 USD)