It may be said that Southern California is to cold what Belgium is to tropical. Short-sleeve skinsuits are generally the rule for cyclocross in SoCal, but to say cold weather is unknown to cyclists here is to think all cyclists are skinny.
Most of the group rides I do depart early. Whether it’s July or January, we’re on the bike by 7:00, often earlier. Let me tell you that life at the the beach in December isn’t what you think of as life at the beach. In the winter months I do a lot of riding in the 45 to 55-degree range. They are not the freezing conditions I experienced in New England, but proper preparation is no less important.
My preferred embrocation for cooler conditions is Record’s Pregara Forte. You can see my review of it for BKW here. It’s perfect for those days that start in the 60s or the upper 50s but will warm as the sun rises. It’s thin and provides just enough heat to keep my legs warm for about two hours.
However, on those days that start in the lower 50s and may not warm much, Pregara Forte is a couple of spokes shy of a wheel. Last winter I began adding a coating of another Record product, Pregara Impermeabile.
Pregara Impermeabile is meant to be used in cold and especially in wet conditions. It’s heavy on petroleum jelly but has a much stiffer consistency than regular Vaseline thanks to the addition of paraffin and lanolin. Many—if not most—of the other ingredients are mixed in to create the product’s distinctive perfume. Camphor, rosemary, ginger and lavender to create a lovely, heady concoction that conjures thoughts of hard riding for me, and our honeymoon for my wife. As it happens, I brought Record products along instead of knee warmers. Like the smell of apple pie, the scent of Record products fill me with anticipation.
Now because of the petroleum jelly, paraffin and lanolin, this stuff won’t wash off with ordinary soap. I keep a bottle of Dawn dishwashing liquid in the shower during the colder months just for this duty.
- Overall heat—low (best if combined with Pregara Forte)
- Euro style—Incredible shine
- Smell—Better than a Provençal herb garden
- Durability—All day; longer if you’re not careful
Like other Record products, Pregara Impermeabile is available in 100ml tubes and 250ml jars; they retail for roughly $19 for the tube and $32 for the jar. Torelli Imports distributes Record products. To find a Torelli dealer near you, click here.
It may seem like an extra, time-consuming step to add the Impermeabile over Forte, but I have come to love being able to formulate exactly what I need for the day. Even as I try other embrocations, this will stay in my bag of tricks.