Not all vests are created with riding in mind. From a company like Club Ride who blends lifestyle and riding, sometimes leaning a little too heavy to the lifestyle end of the spectrum, I was glad to see a piece that was more on the riding end while still keeping the off-the-bike nerd factor in check.
While the Blaze Vest was first designed to be worn under a coat, I preferred to wear this vest with a long sleeve woolie or single base layer underneath. I tend to run a little on the warm side, so pairing it with a shell was overkill for anything above 10 degrees fahrenheit on the trails or 25 degrees on the road.
The Blaze features a simple, largely-windproof polyester woven rip-stop fabric with 80g/m synthetic insulation on the front and a mid-weight brushed polyester back panel. While the back is pretty breathable, if it gets wet it sort of stays wet so don’t wear a backpack with it.
During a couple single digit overnighters this piece had a great in-the-sleeping-bag feel because the lack of down on the back and the stretchy back panel. I could twist and turn without it strangling my arms.
Unfortunately, during a mid-December ride in the single digits I went to unzip the small breast pocket and it just sort of unglued itself. After talking to Mike of Club Ride, he said this was an issue they had with some of the early samples and have since addressed with an improved bonding agent. While the defective vest was a fixable issue, Mike wanted to assure us that it was just an issue with the first few samples and sent the final production version. Fingers crossed but no issues yet.
While on the topic of zippers–this piece needs some zipper pull infusion. Like long dangly zipper pulls. I threaded a small section of shoelace through to solve this issue. But any apparel designed to be worn in cold weather ought to have a sizeable zipper pull. This also goes for the breast pocket. Because gloves.
The rear stash pockets tend to be a little bit droopy so be careful when stashing any items; I had a glove jump out on me and probably wouldn’t be to inclined to stash a phone or anything like that back there. Fortunately, for most phones without large cases, the front pocket has a media port (wired headphone thruway) if you ride with headphones.
As far as sizing goes, the Blaze vest seems to run was a little on the snug side. I went with an XL with the intent of wearing some heavier layers under it and was glad I did.
Overall, the vest held up just fine after three months of riding gravel, snow, and trails.
While there are certainly more expensive mid-weight riding vests out there, this relatively light and compact vest is a great option. Owning a vest is like owning a shell–you probably only really need one so give this one a look if you like riding bikes and hanging out after.
Sizes: Small, Medium, Large, X-Large (tested)
Available in Radiant Orange (pictured) or Black
This “cool weather casual” kit from Club Ride combines fashion and functionality.
Gravity Flannel – $100
The Gravity Flannel from Club Ride has all the aesthetic qualities suitable to both hearty frontier folks and the casual Friday crowd, with functional highlights that make it easy to do just about anything in.
Constructed of a polyester/flannel blend, the Gravity has the strange quality of being quite structured, meaning it holds its shape well while remaining slightly stretchy. It also dries quickly and is insanely warm. Because of the density of the weave, the shirt keeps out a good portion of inclement weather and keeps your own body heat in, making “regular flannels” feel much less effective by comparison. Layer with some form of undergarment and a water/wind resistant outer shell and you’re set for all but the most wintery of winter days.
The snap closures down the front, on the front pockets and on the sleeves are quick to engage and/or disengage and hold fast when in use. I never actually used the zip closure back pocket for anything other than the obligatory “will my phone fit in here?” test (it does), mostly because I’m a creature of habit and having my personal accoutrements anywhere other than where they should be sends me into a mild panic. Otherwise, the zipper performs well, and the pocket could conceivably hold any number of small objects such as keys, the aforementioned phone, wallet, handkerchief, etc. Or you could just put these things in your pants pockets like a civilized person, ignore the strange edifice altogether and be on your way.
A few other highlights include underarm venting and reflective accents. The underarm vents act as a sort of built-in climate regulatory system and probably helps keep you from boiling alive, given how warm the flannel is otherwise. It also helps further articulate the arms when riding, alleviating the uncomfortable bunchy-shoulder mess of other, less superior shirts. Reflective accents have been added in the form of a small, tasteful Club Ride “CR” logo on the back, just below the collar, and a small strip running the length of the left hand cuff.
The Gravity comes in any color you want, as long as the color is Olive green or Rust red, and is available in sizes from small to extra large.
Shift Jean – $70
The Shift Jeans are comfortable, everyday use pants that leave you missing them when you need to wear something else. Constructed of a midweight cotton-polyester-lycra blend, the Shift is just stretchy enough to remind you they aren’t your middle school Wrangler’s, while robust enough not to feel dainty. On the bike they move well, bending functionally to fit the activity, and off the bike, they retain a decent level of hardiness, like regular jeans.
The waistband is well made and is more generous in the rear to conceal any unwarranted access to your hindquarters. This extra bit of fabric has been gifted the name “NoCrackBack” by the good folks at Club Ride, who obviously have a sense of humor.
The Shifts come with four standard pockets, all of which are there to serve you generously, as well as a fifth, zippered pocket on the left leg, which could hold any number of illicit or recreational accessories.
Reflective accents have been added to several places to give you a sense of safety. A small strip down the aforementioned accessory pocket, and a seam strip on the inside of the drive-side pant leg. The only head-scratcher for me is why bother with the drive side leg reflective-ness? Drive side is (most commonly) on the right, while most traffic comes from the left (in the U.S.), thus making the strip on the right leg sort of pointless. Still, better to have them there than not at all, I suppose.
Available in Raven (pictured) and Charcoal (think all-over acid wash), the Shifts are great jeans, despite my poking fun at some of their idiosyncrasies. They come in waist sizes 31-38 and the only length that matters, 33.
Disclaimer: We originally mislabeled these jeans as the Cog jeans. We apologize to Club Ride and our readers for the mistake. We are human, after all!Tweet Print
Club Ride Apparel specializes in bike-centric, functional clothing that is also fashionable and comfortable for everyday living. As the brand’s website pronounces, “Life doesn’t stop after your ride, and neither should your clothes.”
While a change of clothes after a wet, muddy, sweaty mountain bike ride is more than welcome, there are plenty of instances when riding bikes is much less separate from the rest of life than a dedicated trip to the woods. Ride to the party, to work, to the coffee shop or local bar to meet up with some friends or to the grocery store, and most of us don’t want to deal with bringing a change of clothes or let the entire world know that we just rode our bikes.
Club Ride does a nice job of integrating cycling-specific features in “normal-looking” garments that serve a purpose that reaches far beyond the bike. Recently I’ve been rocking the Tour Pants, which look like normal pants but include a number of features that make them comfortable and functional on a bike as well.
The 95% Nylon/5% Spandex blend offers stretch for freedom of movement during athletic pursuits, as well as moisture-wicking, quick-drying and water-resistance properties. The cut features an extra high back to provide sufficient coverage while cycling and prevent them from riding down. The pants have front and rear pockets similar to normal jeans, as well as a side leg pocket that doesn’t cause discomfort or interfere with riding. Other ride-oriented features include a gusseted crotch and reflective accents.
Club Ride offers two different “styles” of fit for all its clothing: Comfort and Sport. Comfort Fit features extra technical features and a more relaxed, loose fit, while Sport Fit is a little tighter and more styled for post-ride pursuits while maintaining great functionality while on the bike. The Tour Pants fit the Sport category and are generally meant to be fairly form-fitting, so keep that in mind when sizing.
Overall, I found that these pants (as well as a few other Club Ride bottoms that I’ve worn lately) run a little large on the waist. For reference, I’m a 27-inch waist and 33-inch hip. According to Club Ride’s size chart, I am solidly a small based on my waist measurement and an extra small based on my hips. I originally asked for a small, but it turns out that the extra small fit way better and wasn’t at all too tight at the waist despite the size chart hinting otherwise. Just keep this in mind when purchasing, but don’t let it discourage you from purchasing, because these pants are awesome.
Sizing snafus worked out, I began turning to the Tour Pants as a daily driver no matter what my activity, from riding bikes around Philadelphia and hanging out at the Philly Bike Expo to riding down the street to the local backwoods bar. They are also great for non-bike-related outdoor pursuits, such as hiking or canoeing. I would even wear the black ones as dress pants and they could pass off as such with a nice sweater for those holiday parties (and, even better, you could ride there comfortably!).
The Tour Pants from Club Ride are versatile outdoor pants for just about any pursuit, not just riding bikes. Water-resistance, comfortable stretch and breathability make them superior to denim for such activities, but they’re stylish enough that no one will ever know you are wearing bike pants, unless they are in the know. There’s a place for these in your wardrobe, even if you rarely wear them on a bike.
Sizes: XS (tested), S, M, L, XL
These shorts look nothing like bike shorts, and that’s what makes them great. Not only do they appear like almost-dressy bottoms and feel like the comfy shorts you’d throw on to hang out around the house, but their versatility makes them the perfect choice for anyone who rides their bike to get places and doesn’t want to take a change of clothes.
Layer them on top of a chamois for the ride. Strip the chamois off and you have yourself a comfortable pair of shorts to wear to the party, jump in the lake, hit up the gym or maybe even wear to work.
The wide, stretchy waistband is soft and comfortable, and an elastic drawcord keeps everything up. The polyester/spandex blend fabric is moisture-wicking, quick-drying and feels good against the skin even when wet. This has made them a great do-it-all garment option for ride-paddle-ride adventures, a summer favorite of mine.
Perforated side panels offer extra venting, and zippered pockets on the side of each leg are the perfect size for a cell phone, small wallet, key or other small essentials. I love the location of the pockets – I found it more comfortable to ride with items in the side of the shorts than I do in front or rear pockets.
With a 6 inch inseam, the Flurry falls mid-thigh and is baggy enough to offer ample room for leg movement but fitted enough to be flattering. Another bonus – the fabric doesn’t seem to hold odor, so these shorts are an excellent daily driver that can be worn a number of times before washing is necessary.
I’m generally a fan of most Club Ride apparel, and these shorts are no different. They quickly became a favorite for their comfort, functionality, versatility and subdued style.
Sizes: XS, S (tested), M, L, XL
More info online at clubrideapparel.com
Looking good on your bike ride doesn’t mean you have to be uncomfortable. The Deer Abby from Club Ride is a sport-fit women’s jersey made from a lightweight, breathable, wicking, and quick-drying knit fabric with UV Protection of 20. Features include rear stash pockets with media port and RideLight™ reflective accents. Available in sizes XS to XL and in three colors, it’s a $60 value.
Club Ride has made a name for itself in the cycling industry for offering high-performance apparel with a unique style. From the trail head to the pub, the Roxbury jersey and Pin’It shorts are great options if you want to stand apart by blending in.Tweet Print