Archive for category international

Cycling Specific Jeans: Yes you need some.

Some of you might be of the school of thought that any jeans are riding jeans, why spend top dollar just because someone’s labelled them ‘cycling” jeans? Is it a form of hipster trap? Why do I even want to ride anywhere in jeans? These are valid questions. Here’s why…

I rarely wear anything besides jeans unless I’m going for a ‘proper’ road ride. I live and work in a town which is a perfect size to get around by bike, and as a result I have worn clean through the arse area of the following jeans: Seven For All Mankind, Superdry, 2x pairs of G-Star, and my Hudsons are getting dangerously close. I love my jeans and these were all rather nice ones… It’s depressing when they go, and it’s pretty much impossible to fix. (I have tried, both with a sewing machine and with iron-on patches) The G-Stars in particular were useless – a new pair wore through in less than a year!

A few weeks ago I stumbled upon Creux Cycling – an Australian urban cycle clothing brand – and fairly rapidly decided I wanted to own everything they made, especially their jeans. At a glance they just have a style I love, and on closer inspection they’ve considered everything to make these the ultimate legwear for living and riding in.

Fortunately while at Bespoked Bristol a few weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting the man behind (iL) Soigneur who has been hand-making really lovely musettes since 2011, and doing rather well at it. (iL) Soigneur now stocks a selection of Creux gear here in the UK and I took away a pair of the men’s and the women’s jeans to see which I’d get on with the most.

(Size info: I’m testing the Men’s Small and the Women’s Large (12),  most of my jeans are a size 29-30 waist. My waist is 29 inches, and my hips are 40 inches)

The Review

The men’s version of the Soigneur Jeans are, on me at least, a slim fitting straight-leg cut which fit comfortably around my waist, higher than most of my jeans which are all low rise cut, these come to about an inch and a half below my belly button. The lower legs are just loose enough to turn up a couple of times to avoid your bike chain, but I couldn’t roll them up any higher than in the pictures. When riding, I prefer the men’s because of the higher waist. It feels just right in the bike position, no pants on show.

Men’s version.

The women’s cut has a lower rise, and a much skinnier leg. I LOVE how these look when I’m walking around, but when I’m riding I found that once they’d loosened up a bit, they were coming down a bit too low at the back. It’s no biggie if your shirt is tucked in, but if not; PANTS CITY.

Women’s version.

The fit is really quite different from the men’s, and I’m surprised by how well the men’s cut fits me – I do not have boyish hips. So it really comes down to your preference – do you want slim straight leg or skinny leg? Higher waist or low rise? Both are super comfy on and off the bike.

Two things I love about turning these jeans up: The cyan coloured tape sewn over the seams on the inside looks ace, and on the men’s version, the large reflective Creux logo inside the right leg, which massively increases your visibility in the dark. Never mind products with a tiny bit of reflective piping here and there, there’s nothing better than a huge block of the stuff to catch driver’s eyes. Plus it looks freaking cool. It’s not there on the women’s, no doubt because they’re a lot skinnier so you can’t really roll them up.

 

Men’s – reflective turn up

 

Both versions are very slightly stretchy, but to be honest I think they could be stretchier, because it’s such a heavy weight denim. When these jeans first go on they feel heavier and stiffer than most jeans. Unsurprisingly though, after wearing these for a few days they loosened up a fair bit, became less tight around the waist, and altogether more and more comfortable as the days wore on.

The denim itself is such a big feature of these jeans, it feels so tough that I can’t imagine ever wearing through the arse section. Even if the bum was one layer thick I don’t think I would – but as it happens Creux have built in a double layered seat, complete with lightly padded chamois! I was a little concerned this would feel bulky and even too warm, but when I’m not riding I just don’t notice it.

Then there’s the Schoeller NanoSphere treatment, which is unbelievably valuable. Living in the UK, if I waited for it to stop raining, I’d barely ever get to ride so I don’t tend to shy away from wet weather. After all, skin’s waterproof, right? Turns out these jeans are too. Close enough anyway. I live a short distance from work, but even a short distance will soak regular jeans through if it’s pissing it down as it often does. I’ve sat at my desk for several hours with wet jeans, patiently waiting for them to dry out after the 5 minute ride in. It takes about 3 hours, I’ve timed it. So since testing these jeans out, I’ve had it rain on me a couple of times, once while riding, not overly heavy rain, and once when it just absolutely shat it down for 5 minutes, so I went outside and sat in it. Just to see what would happen.

I’d say that in extremely heavy rain, 95% beads and splashes right off you, and 5% begins to dampen the jeans. Dampen, mind, not soak. I came back inside, brushed them off and sat at my desk, and within 10 minutes the jeans felt completely dry again. My hood stayed wet for the rest of the day.

The men’s jeans have a few little features which the women’s jeans don’t have, although I’m not entirely sure why. There’s an extra pocket on the right hip which is much easier to dig into then the front pockets when you’re sat down, there’s a little loop for keys on the left side waist band, and there’s a D-lock holding loop on the back, which is pretty handy if like me you often pop into town without a bag.

The only thing to be aware of is that these jeans are very heavily dyed, and it will transfer to your pale coloured couch. I’m hoping that it will wash off the cushion covers. I’m told the denim is designed to fade with use, so I fully expect a lot of loose dye to come out in the first wash which will probably stop the couch getting any worse.

There’s not much else to add, so I’ll summarise by saying that, like me, you can test these jeans out without buying them because (iL) Soigneur is offering a no quibble try before you buy scheme. So if you’re still not sure, try them out for yourself! I for one will be putting my money where my mouth is and buying them. I’m just not sure which ones…

Screw it. I want both.

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The world needs bicycles

This article was published several weeks ago, but it never hurts to reiterate that a bicycle is more than a sum of its parts.  It’s more than a way to travel, race or find pleasure.  For much of the world, it’s life giving, opportunity providing, gender and class equalizing, and destiny changing.

I’m pretty sure Nitish Kumar is one of my new heroes.  Considering the culture in India, it can’t be easy to take a stand like he is…for women.

[he] set about redressing his state’s endemic gender imbalances in an attempt to boost development in one of India’s most backward states. His vision was to bring a sense of independence and purpose to his state’s young women, and the flagship initiative of this agenda is the Mukhyamantri Balika Cycle Yojna, a project that gives schoolgirls 2,000 rupees (about £25) to purchase a bicycle.

Kumar succinctly sums up the initiative’s aim and all it stands for: “Nothing gives me a greater sense of fulfilment of a work well done than seeing a procession of school-bound, bicycle-riding girls. It is a statement for social forward movement, of social equality and of social empowerment.”
How do you measure an ROI on a free bicycle? You don’t; and you don’t need to.

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Dutch Cycle Path Myth

Over at amcambike there’s a critique of the Dutch Cycle Path video we posted here the other day.

Most importantly, the country never “turned away from car-centric policies”, as the video claims. The road network was expanded continuously, by completion of the national motorway network, first planned in the 1920′s. Since the 1990′s, the emphasis has been on widening and upgrading main roads, although entirely new roads are still being built.

Without saying so explicitly, the video gives the impression that there are now fewer cars and less traffic in the Netherlands, than in 1975. Of course the opposite is true: the number of cars increased by 81% from 1980 to 2010, rising to 7.7 million. The increase was uninterrupted.

I certainly don’t know enough about Dutch transportation history to offer any insight, but what the critique of the video doesn’t offer is an alternate narrative for how the cycle paths came to be. The fact is that English-speaking countries “look to the Netherlands as a model for policy,” because at some point the Dutch did something right. It’s not necessarily that the Dutch system is perfect but that it’s a system.

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to me, coming from you, flatten is a four letter word

Perhaps this is what the lady in the Merecedes was listening to when she tried to hit Blake:

This new plague is going to cause major damage in the Federal District [Mexico City] and therefore I ask you, please, throw your vehicle at them and flatten them.

That was Angel Verdugo, economic analyst and commentator for the Mexican radio program Reporte 98.5.

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he won’t say how he did it

He’s 16. He’s rode his bike across a lake. He’s not saying how.

via clusterflock

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Le Tour

Tour De France 1928

via

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Bicycle Film Festival returns to Sacramento

Bicycle Film Festival – the New York-based cycling art and culture showcase – will return to Sacramento this May, coinciding with the popular May Is Bike Month initiative and the Amgen Tour of California. BFF had its Sacramento debut last year, and the positive reception secured a return for the international festival.

“I’m stoked we’re bringing the Bicycle Film Festival back to Sac, where we had such a huge turnout last year,” festival Director Brendt Barbur told The Sacramento Press. “Sacramento is a perfect city for BFF due to its love of the arts and music and rich cycling heritage.”

BFF will arrive on Thursday, May 12th, when the Crocker Art Museum will host the opening party before showing a selection of short films. The festival will then move to Fremont Park at 16th and Q for Friday and Saturday, where more films will be shown, along with competitions and music. The event is sponsored by Hot Italian and Sierra Nevada Brewing, and admission and bike valet parking are free.

Bicycle Film Festival started in 2001 in New York and quickly gained the attention of the mainstream media. This year, the festival will visit more than 20 cities in a dozen different countries.

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and I drove to work this morning to avoid the wind

via The Inner Ring

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Portraits of South African Bike Commuters

hat tip, Kelsey

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NZ earthquake: Cyclists dodge boulders during training

Unbelievable… imagine dodging boulders the size of buses and ovens while out on your training loop! These guys were so lucky.

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