When we went to Nice earlier this year for a bit of spring cycling in the sun we decided to pop into Café du Cycliste to meet their boss, Rémi Clermont. We’d been fans of the brand for sometime, but being able to see all of their products in one building certainly set the heart racing. As we composed wish lists of the Claudette and Francine jerseys, not to mention the very cool Antoinette blue and white striped bib shorts, I also came across the Josette jersey which looked rather different to any of the road wear stuff I’ve come across before.
Café du Cycliste are part of the new breed of high end cycling apparel manufacturers that are vying for Rapha’s crown. Their kit is beautifully made and stylish, definitely aimed at the more affluent MAMIL. While offering technical road wear, their aim is very much about providing comfort and style for the leisure cyclist rather than trying to match the demands of a professional cyclist. They also offer a really wide range of designs that are attractive and fun for both men and women. Interestingly some of the cheaper brands have already started to pinch some of their styling ideas, although they’re unable to match the quality that C du C pride themselves on.
Their Josette jersey (all of their jerseys are named after French girls’ names) is specifically designed for wet and cold days. It’s waterproof and windproof with a breathable membrane.
I don’t think there are any other jerseys out there that have quite the same qualities as this. If you wear it with a warm base layer it’s fine for winter riding on slightly milder days without having to take a rain jacket.
I wore it on a drizzly November day when the temperature was between 8 and 10 degrees with a merino base layer. In terms of body warmth it was just about perfect. I was warm on the descents but the breathable fabric came into its own going uphill - I didn’t overheat. The waterproofing was excellent. By the end of the ride my top half was completely dry despite an incessant autumn drizzle over a couple of hours. It also has a reflective overhanging flap over the rear pockets keeping the contents safe and dry.
It’s quite a stretchy fabric which wraps around the torso snugly but not uncomfortably, giving very much a ‘race fit.’ The sleeves are slightly longer than what I’m used to on a short sleeved jersey, but they feel and look good. I really liked the ivy green colour which is quite understated but also original. The Josette also comes in ‘framboise’ (that’s raspberry to you) and ‘acier’ which is a bluey grey. As you’d expect from a Café du Cycliste piece of clothing, it looks and feels like a high end jersey.
This could become my go-to jersey on wet days and I’ve already started to eye up the Loulou arm warmers and Jeanne bib shorts which are also waterproof. All in all I think this is a clever piece of kit allowing the rider to dispense with a fold up jacket in the rear pocket. Although you’ll need another layer on top for really cold days, it’s perfect for our UK autumn, spring and even summer climate.
The Josette jersey is available from Café du Cycliste for £153.