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Gear Guy

Will Scotchgard windproof my cycling jersey?

I own a long-sleeve Kodiak Light cycling jersey from Pearl Izumi. While nice, the jersey is too permeable to the wind, so I get chilled on colder days. Can I spray the front of the jersey's arms, shoulders, and chest with Scotchgard to improve its windproofing without trashing the piece? Or, is there some other spray-on product that would do the trick? D.J. Potomac, Maryland

A: I have several of those jerseys. Great jerseys, but hardly windproof. So why would you even try to MAKE it windproof? Because, after all, lots of clothing out there is designed to supplement long-sleeve jerseys on colder days.

You can start with just a vest. I think a cycling vest is the most useful piece of clothing a cyclist can wear (maybe aside from good shorts). Pearl Izumi makes a good one called the Zephrr ($55;, complete with a windproof-fabric front and mesh back for ventilation. And it's super light so stuffs easily into a back pocket when you're not needing it. Alas, it doesn't have a back pocket itself, something I really need for easy access to my handkerchief. With that in mind, I actually prefer a vest I got from Canada's Mountain Equipment Co-op—light, like the Pearl one, but with two pockets. Alas, MEC has quit offering it. Castelli makes a nice vest with Gore Windstopper that has a front pocket; Sierra Trading Post has it for $54 on closeout (

For colder weather, a wind shell with long sleeves is the ticket. The Bellwether Hyper ($65; is perfect—a very breathable but windproof jacket that really takes the chill out of a ride.

Or, when it's pretty cold, you can simply go with a cycling "soft-shell" jacket. One new model: GoLite's Kinetic Jacket ($199; Another good choice is REI's One Jacket ($189; Both are all you need in cold weather—just throw them on over a light wicking T-shirt and ride.

So there you go. Skip the Scotchgard and just layer up.

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