My mainstay winter riding jacket has been my old Hein Gericke from the early '90s, which has had the main zipper replaced once or twice, is missing most of its many zipper pulls, and is slowly turning the linings of its many pockets into tatters. Combined with my year-round Joe Rocket mesh pants, it gets the job done pretty well.
All of this is fine enough, but recently I've gradually become aware that despite its mass, weight and bulk, it doesn't really put too much between me and the road in the event Beast and I part company.
So when it turned cold again recently, I came up with a brilliant—if I do say so myself—idea. I wore my very oversized summer-weight Joe Rocket jacket over my Hein Gericke, instead of wearing another layer beneath it.
Much to my surprise, it seems to work out pretty well. Except for having another entire set of pockets to misplace things in, it's very convenient. Despite being mostly kevlar mesh, the JR seems to trap a layer of still air where it's needed, and contributes little weight or mass. But now I also have some additional abrasion resistance, and ballistic padding in lots of key places—which also serves to insulate and keep the wind out.
Altogether, when it's all buttoned up tight, it feels a little bit like an exoskeleton. But it's warm, snug, has good mobility, and I feel a little better with an extra layer of protection.
Plus it makes me look even more badass than I typically do.