Being trapped in a bottle-shop’s cool room would be a death both glorious and terrible – for obvious reasons. So should you ever become trapped in such a place, these remarkable new thermal undergarments from Oxford will certainly tip the balance more towards the glorious side of things.
The fact you look like all the sexy ever served when you’re standing by a campfire wearing your thermals and bike boots, holding a bottle of cheap scotch, and telling lies about how fast you are, only adds to their appeal.
That aside, I was riding in Lithgow at the start of winter, so it was probably a bit worse than being trapped in a fridge. Combine an ambient temperature in the minus-sevens with an 90km/h windchill factor, and I’d normally be whimpering, and putting Band-Aids on my nipples to prevent them being rubbed off by my clothes.
I did not need Band-Aids, and I did not whinge at all. I merely observed that it was cold. My nipples remained uninterested.
That’s how good these Oxford Layers worked for me.
I was wearing them, a long-sleeved cotton T-shirt, a short-sleeved cotton T-shirt, a wind-stop vest, and a very good jacket – and that, pilgrims, was all.
It’s the only way to test thermals. You put them on, then you put the minimum amount of clothing layers on top of them to see if the thermals live up to their promises. You add more layers if they’re not as good as you thought. In this instance, the extra layers I brought stayed in my bag.
Motorcycle winter gear is pretty good these days. I say that because I remember a time when it wasn’t, and shivering, snot-dripping hypothermia attended every winter ride. I do not miss those days at all.
So why are these Oxford jobbies so good? Well, good thermals – and these are very good thermals – do a few things at once. Firstly, they keep you warm not by being bulky, but by insulating your body against heat-loss by utilising cutting-edge textile sorcery to achieve insulation without bulk. Secondly, they stay odour-free for long periods of time. And thirdly, and probably crucially, they feel really nice against your skin.
If they do all three of those things – and these do – buy them.
I had the added bonus of having an Oxford Layers neck-sock to go with my thermal undergarments, and rolling out of Lithgow on a truly eye-narrowing, mist-cold morning, I knew no pain. The neck-sock had a bit of tapered tail so it sat well down my chest. Combined with the top, I was genuinely warm on a very cold weekend.
A man can ask no more than that.
Words by Boris Mihailovic