Review: Women’s Club Ride Tour Pant

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.

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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.

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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.

Price: $99.95
Sizes: XS (tested), S, M, L, XL

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Review: Two pairs of women’s Garneau baggy shorts

These two baggy, knee-length shorts from Garneau bridge the gap between mountain and urban bike fashion for those who prefer something other than Lycra for all bicycle related activities.

Both of these shorts come with a liner that includes a built-in chamois and features wide waist and leg bands to prevent them from digging in. They are also beefy and nontransparent enough to be worn separately. These liner shorts are some of the comfiest I’ve ever worn, and both outer shorts come with a snap loop fastening system to keep them anchored to the liners.

The fit on both of these baggies is slim but not super tight around the waist and hips with extra room on the legs to accommodate muscular thighs and allow plenty of room for movement while pedaling. They come in sizes XS-XXL (I tested size small in both).

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Steeple – $120

The first noticeable thing about the women’s Steeple shorts is the fabric. It’s unlike any material I’ve encountered before on cycling shorts. The Revolt fabric looks and feels like denim, but with all the performance benefits of any other quick-drying, moisture-wicking activewear. Abrasion resistance makes these shorts tough but fashionable, and the Steeple is available in a variety of different colors to suit every style.

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These shorts are comfortable even when wet, and they have become a go-to piece for rainy, muddy days for this reason. The only downside? Mud stains don’t seem to come out of the Revolt fabric as easily as some other fabrics, but that’s not something I get too concerned about. I spend a lot of my life muddy anyway.

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My favorite feature is the stretchy panel on the backside of these shorts, offering extra comfort and flexibility while maintaining a form-fitting waist. Soft, silky material around the waistband adds comfort, and a Velcro adjustment allows for a perfect fit.

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Ample pocket space— five in all—provides no shortage of options when it comes to stashing tools, food or your phone, whether it’s during a ride or at the bar after, and Velcro or zipper closures on all pockets keep the valuables secure.

Whether you’re shredding the trails or riding to the grocery store, the Steeple shorts are a versatile pick for any bike-related endeavor and beyond.

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Latitude – $80

The Latitude is the more “mountain bikey” of these two shorts, with a slightly more casual look and cut. The material is more similar to that which you’d find on the majority of baggy mountain bike shorts. It’s soft and moisture-wicking, but also abrasion-resistant and DWR-treated for water resistance. I found them to be very breathable, and these shorts have been a go-to on hot summer days, comfortable even when sweat-soaked.

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There are four pockets – two zippered ones in the front and two jeanslike ones in the rear that don’t close. While the back pockets were nice for sticking my phone or other small essentials in while off the bike, I wouldn’t want to put anything in them while riding at risk of it falling out. If the shorts hugged my behind a little more, I’d probably reconsider though, so it’s most likely just a matter of fit and preference.

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Like the Steeple, the Latitude features an adjustable waistband via Velcro tabs, but adds belt loops to allow for extra fit tailoring. Bright colors like bright blue and magenta cater to ladies who like a bold look, but they also come in black for those who prefer a more subdued appearance.

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Overall, these are a comfortable pair of shorts for wherever your bicycle adventures may take you.

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Roundup: Three pairs of women’s riding pants from Giro, Club Ride and Ibex

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Though it may come as a surprise to some, women do ride bikes. We’ve all heard that number is growing (Hooray!). They also, sometimes, wear pants. As a lady in the bicycle industry I’m frequently asked by other ladies I know, who ride either occasionally or everyday, where are the women’s specific cycling pants? Pants that don’t look like a riding kit or have a chamois? Does such a thing exist?

Yes it does.

Here are three pairs of women’s pants that I’ve been using on and off the bike this spring that I think are pretty awesome.

See them here.

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New e-book answers ladies’ sensitive questions about cycling

saddle-soreAuthor and journalist Molly Hurford rides a lot—and knows countless women who ride a lot—and inevitably all that riding can lead to a little… discomfort. It’s a subject that she found nearly all of the women she knows, from beginners to pros, were reluctant to discuss at the their local bike shop or with their male peers.

So she sought out to answer those questions for female cyclists, by talking to experts in the industry, doctors, product designers and riders. The result is “Saddle, Sore”, an e-book guide for women and their bike. No matter how much you ride, it shouldn’t be uncomfortable, and Hurford’s book can help you avoid some uncomfortable conversations.

Hurford will also be following up with online articles with new topics as they arise, as well as answering readers questions and some video interviews.

You can purchase and download a copy of “Saddle, Sore” in PDF or EPUB format (compatible with most tablets) now.

 

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Giro New Road expanding women’s line for 2014

We’re big fans of the Giro New Road series and for 2014 its expanding its collection for women. Let’s face it, women’s cycling apparel is usually several years behind its men’s counterpart, both in terms of technology but also design. Now they can enjoy the same quality as the dudes.

But don’t take it from me.  Hear it from the women who use it.

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