Since testing a rain cape from the Center for Appropriate Transport for issue #22, I’ve become a convert. I love wearing a cape when it’s pouring, staying comfy and dry underneath but not feeling like I’m encased in a plastic bag. It’s like wearing an umbrella, but less cumbersome.Tweet Print
There’s no denying the superior warmth of natural goose down, but it doesn’t exactly play nice with moisture. A synthetic insulation handles perspiration and precipitation, but doesn’t compress as easily and doesn’t offer the warmth to weight. Enter DriDown, a down treatment process that treats the fibers with a hydrophobic polymer at the molecular level to repel moisture. It stays drier, retains loft better and dries faster than untreated down.Tweet Print
Kitsbow’s mantra is “Impeccable mountain bike wear for obsessives”. This is expensive sounding language, but it captures much about what makes Kitsbow stand out from the rest of the mountain bike apparel crowd while remaining tastefully understated.
There are no garish colors to be found in the Kitsbow catalog, mostly grays and blacks and blues, all finely tailored and sewn from expensive materials in British Columbia by folks with years of experience manufacturing high end outdoor garments. Kitsbow is headquartered in Larkspur, Calif., having been founded by two friends with background in mountain biking and clothing design.Tweet Print
As trail helmets continue to evolve, they seem to get more expensive. Not so with this new helmet from Bell, which hits a great price point while only losing a few features from its more expensive big brother, the Super.Tweet Print
Let’s get this out of the way first. This is a $900* jacket. No one would deny that is a lot of money. Perhaps you find the notion of such an expensive garment to be absurd, or even offensive. Perhaps this jacket is not for you. Would you want to live in a world where there are no Ferraris? No America’s Cup racing yachts? No privately-funded space exploration? I certainly wouldn’t. So for the next 400 words or so, let’s set that number aside and examine this product for what it is. Ready? Ok, here we go…
PEdALED is the work of Japanese apparel designer Hideto Suzuki who was disillusioned with the fashion business and took time off to build log cabins, of all things. When he returned to apparel, he created PEdALED to make clothes that complimented his new lifestyle. The Winter Urban Riding Jacket is the capstone of the collection, and is hand made in Japan.Tweet Print
We got a box of Levi’s Commuter gear in recently, and while some of the pants fit, I’ve come to terms with the fact that my 40 year old self isn’t of the generation that gets along with skinny, tapered jeans. Luckily in the same box were two Hooded Trucker jackets.
Not that I’ve spent a lot of time around truck stops, but I don’t recall a lot of truckers wearing jackets like this, but maybe the hipsters are moving from wanna-be lumberjack to wanna-be trucker. Wanna-be or not, this is a good looking jacket, cut nicely for riding and standing around, with some very discrete features that work well for riding.Tweet Print
It is not that often I get excited by shirts, but over the last months, I’ve been wearing three that deserve some attention.
First, this short-sleeved Zoic Nirvana. While it is classified as a jersey on Zoic’s website, it looks and wears like a favorite button-up. A single large zip rear pocket can carry supplies, and a mesh vent offers some ventilation.
The cut is loose without being baggy, and the poly/nylon fabric dries quickly and breaths well. The front is a basic button closure, no extra zippers or do-dads to annoy.
The zipper in the rear pocket can be uncomfortable with a heavy hydration pack, and the loose cut makes carrying anything heavier than a pair of gloves and an energy bar a floppy situation. But those small gripes aside, when it gets really hot, the loose fit and slight seer-sucker style fabric pucker makes this much, much more comfortable than a tight lycra jersey. At $75, this isn’t a cheap piece, but I’ve certainly gotten a lot of use out of it. Available in three plaid and three solid colors, and in a zipper front closure.
On the other end of the spectrum is the Twin Horizon flannel. Since cyclists aren’t lumber jacks, (we just like to dress like them), Twin Horizon has this slim fit heavy cotton flannel to keep things looking classy and comfortable on the bike.
This is a fall/spring shirt, and the heavy fabric is warm and comfortable. The 100 percent cotton material is soft and reassuring in a world full of synthetics. Sleeves are just the right length and the back is long enough to cover the crack without looking out of place. Tiny armpit vents may or may not do something for ventilation, but they aren’t noticeable anyway, so whatever. My only complaint is a tiny bit of tightness around the shoulders, which is being addressed in the newest shipment of shirts with gussets at the shoulders. Shirts are made in China, designed by an expatriate New Jerseyite.
The standout feature is a small button flap pocket on the lower right rear of the shirt, the perfect spot to stash a phone while riding, especially if your pants are too tight to fit your iPhone. The next production run should be up online at $56 plus shipping. There you can also check out Twin Horizon’s collection of screen printed t-shirts.
Last, and nowhere near the least, is this AeroTech Designs commuter shirt. Actually, as per the AeroTech website, the complete name is “Men’s Urban Pedal Pushers UPF 50+ Commuter Dress Shirt”, but let’s not be scared off by that. Aero Tech manufactures men’s and women’s (and kids) clothing just a few miles from our office, including an impressive selection of Big and Tall sizes.
Made from a nylon and recycled polyester microfiber, the material has bit of stretch, and combined with an loose fit, makes for a very comfortable and unrestrictive shirt. Most of the features are similar to travel shirts (back vent, buttoned flap to secure rolled up sleeves, chest pockets) but adds a small, zippered back pocket. Choose from three subdued plaids, either black, grey or blue.
If I was going to go on an extended tour, this shirt would be the first in my bag. It is light enough for hot days, and the SPF50 treatment keeps my Irish complexion in its usual state of pale. The DWR treatment keeps the shirt clean, and it dries very quickly when wet from sweat, rain, or washing. It seems impervious to wrinkles, and is nice enough looking for wear almost anywhere on or off the bike. I could do without the zippers on the chest pockets, but that is a wee little complaint in an overall super useful and flexible garment. Also available in women’s sizes.
This is one jacket that truly lives up to its name. Built from a waterproof/breathable exterior over a soft, polyester fleece liner, the $145 Alpine Storm jacket from Royal Racing straddles the riding and lifestyle categories from bike saddle to bar stool.Tweet Print
Bellwether’s Coldfront series of clothing is designed for cold and dry winter conditions. Utilizing their proprietary Coldfront soft shell fabric, Bellwether delivers a wind-resistant, water-resistant and breathable jacket. This stretchable 3-layer fabric is made up of a tightly woven outer layer to turn away moisture, a wind blocking, breathable membrane, and a light fleece backing for a touch of insulation.Tweet Print
Bontrager has stepped up its game in a big way in the past few years in regards to its soft-goods collection. Though it supplies high-end components and apparel to its sponsored race teams, it also has quite a nice collection of commuter gear. Here’s three items we’ve been using lately.Tweet Print