They’ve become my little secret. Now that the mornings are colder, I even wear them under normal clothes, feeling smug and cushioned like a super hero with padded pants on. When the sun’s out I wear them boldly, proudly, enjoying the sleek, seamless lines. They’re warm but not too hot, breathable but not breezy-thin.

Once I got the size right (the S-M is definitely on the snug side), I soon adopted howies’ padded bibs as my go-to shorts. At £59 they’re mid-range price-wise, but the detailing and construction all smack of howies’ trusted reputation for quality and thoughtful design.

After countless day-rides, stolen hour-rides and a handful of overnight adventures, the shorts are still looking pretty much new. They’re holding their shape, and the generously fat chamois pad (‘a 2-layer TMF Professional pad, manufactured in Italy with a base construction of 40 density, 4mm thick foam bonded to a shock absorbent 90 density, 8mm foam in higher impact areas’) remains full of comfortable squidge.

Alongside the shorts, the boys at howies also sent a Cadence long-sleeve jersey (£79). This made from a huggably soft mix of merino and Sorona. Sorona? Nope, us neither. Turns out it uses ‘partly plant-based glucose from renewable corn starch crops as a clever replacement to 100% oil-based fabrics. And because of this, it consumes less energy and produces lower greenhouse gas emissions than petroleum-based fabrics in production’. Which is nice. It also feels nice to wear. The outside’s slinky smooth, the inner’s a warm loop-backed feel, like the inside of a new sweatshirt.

As with all good jerseys, it’s cut a little longer at the back, and has plenty of storage round the back: 2 cargo pockets, a slim, micro-pump-sized pocket, and a zipped valuables pocket for your keys/credit card/EPO. There’s a line of silicon gripper tape around the hem to keep it in place. The fit’s sporty but not embarrassingly tight, a happy compromise between performance and comfort, and the merino blend makes for a warm, breathable lightness that helps regulate body temperature, dries quickly and doesn’t pong out the cafe as you sip your mid-ride espresso.

You can tell howies walk the talk. Or ride it, anyway. What I mean is that their stuff feels like it’s been designed and refined by someone who actually rides in it. We’ve ridden alongside them before now – including a memorable night ride across Wales – and hope to do so again soon. And when we do, we’ll be wearing this lovely kit.

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