Archive for category recreational cycling
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
You might have read our review of the Chrome Kursk shoes a couple of years back. The folks at Chrome have been busy as usual to create the most covert SPD on the market, the Truk Pro. It is perfect for commuters, messengers, and others who live and work on the bike every day—and need a durable and comfortable shoe for bike, street, and office.
Enter the Truk Pro.
For those who live in and ride the city and want SPD performance on the bike and sneaker comfort off it. Durable, comfortable, and walkable. Made to be worn on and off the bike—all day, every day—with zero foot fatigue.
It’s the most innovative SPD on the market, featuring Chrome’s dual-density FlexPlateTM technology, developed to provide a fully rigid sole from the heel to the ball of the foot but also a flexible toe area (five times more flex compared with any traditional fully rigid SPD shoe). The result? Total comfort while riding and while walking.
Other features include a contoured, impact-resistant PU footbed, skid-resistant outsole, and recessed SPD plate. The 1,000-denier Cordura outer shell is 25 times stronger than canvas. Add 100% vulcanized construction and you’ve got one thoroughly bombproof shoe, ready for the demands of life on and off the bike.
Like all Chrome footwear and apparel, the Truk Pro SPD comes with a 365-day warranty against defects in materials and workmanship.
We will have our full review on the Truk Pro’s once we complete our testing.
fBig Shot Bikes of Ft. Collins, Colorado, celebrates its 10,000th bike build milestone and thanks their HTML5 based bike builder web tool for it.
Big Shot Bikes, maker of design-your-own fixed gear and single speed bikes, recently reached a significant milestone with the sale of its 10,000th bike. The company launched in Fort Collins, Colo., in December of 2009, and has seen steady growth in both direct sales and through key retail distribution since its inception.
“It kind of snuck up on us, but when we saw that this was our 10,000th bike, we definitely had a celebration,” says Big Shot founder and owner Matt Peterson. “We might have spilled a little champagne on that frame before it went out the door.”
Helping to support Big Shot’s sales growth has been the recent launch of its HTML5 optimized iPad bike builder application. The program, which has been in a successful test phase for the past two months, allows consumers to easily design their custom Big Shot bike on an iPad.
Introduction of the application has supported Big Shot’s significant sales growth in the early months of 2013. There has been a 30 percent increase in iPad sales during the first two months of 2013, when compared to all of 2012. With the launch of the new application, year-over-year sales conversion is up 444 percent on iPad devices, which maintain the highest conversion rate of all mobile platforms.
“With more consumers shopping on mobile devices, it is crucial for our mass customization business to have a seamless moblie application,” says Peterson. “iPads account for 10 percent of our total site traffic and visits are up significantly over last year, since the introduction of our bike builder application.”
In addition to supporting Big Shot’s direct sales business, the steamlined HTML5 application will provide brick and mortar dealers with the opportunity for customers to design a bike on an in-store iPad and complete the transaction.
Previously, Big Shot offered custom in-store kiosks to key dealers. However, the iPad program is significantly more scalable and instantly available to all retailers. The HTML5 application operates on the iPad without requiring any downloads or installation.
ABOUT BIG SHOT BIKES
Located in Fort Collins, Colorado, Big Shot Bikes has been building customized, fixed-gear and single-speed bicycles since 2009. Big Shot is a leader in mass customization, allowing customers to design their own unique bikes online at bigshotbikes.com. With a choice of frame sizes, handlebar styles and thousands of color combinations, Big Shot offers fun, durable, high-quality bikes at an affordable price.
This weekend after a mountain bike ride in Fairfax, it was suggested that we must stop at the Gestalt Haus for a beer and a brat hot dog. “You can bring you bike inside and hang it on the wall!” was said on our way through the quaint town. As we pulled our bikes through the door, wound our way by the line and along the wall to group our bikes and order one of the seventeen available brats and one of a dozen beers on tap for ten dollars. Waiting for my name to be called to pick up my brat, I found a wall of board games to play and several classic mountain bikes attached to the wall to look at.
The beer is large and well worth the five dollars. I ordered the chicken-apple brat without sauerkraut and it hit the spot, especially after the ride. If you are ever in the Fairfax/Mt Tamalpais area, be sure to check them out, you can find them at 123 Bolinas Rd, Fairfax, CA 94930.
I’ve set out in the rain and come home dry, or mostly dry.
I’ve sat comfortably behind big men, the ones that are as wide as Volkswagen Beetle.
I’ve dropped those same men.
I’ve been dropped by women.
And old men.
I’ve set out in the sunshine and come home wet.
I’ve stopped, not because I needed to rest but because I wanted a moment to take it in.
I’ve sat up when the gap was too big.
I’ve had road rash.
I’ve run red lights.
I’ve been defeated by headwinds.
And Coleman Valley Road.
I’ve stopped for wildlife.
I’ve been honked at.
And yelled at.
And waved at.
And smiled at.
I’ve slowed down to chat with strangers.
I’ve taken turns at the front.
I’ve been stopped by the police.
But mostly, I’ve had fun.
Okay, well, they aren’t so much leaked, as official, unofficial product shots of Twin Six new 2012 knickers or for our UK readers, three quarter pants. They will be available this March in Pavement (black) and Gravel (tan/brown) for about $120. Couple of cool things about the construction of the pants is they are made from post-consumer recycled plastics with a PFOA and PFOS free DWR coating, for water repellency. They offer deep zipper pockets, articulated knee’s and highly reflective appliques.You can ride on or off the bike and look good doing it.
Coming soon, check out Twin Six’s facebook page for a limited, one off, cycling caps made from their left over jersey fabric by Walz Cycling Caps. There are currently only 100 or so left, one will be posted each week for purchase. Truly one of a kind!
Growing up a good friend’s dad had a hairy back and chest. I don’t mean normal hairy. I mean, every summer when we all went to the lake he’d get ready to go for a swim and you’d want to shout, “don’t forget to take off your sweater!” My legs aren’t quite that hairy.
[photo omitted for your sake]
For a brief stint of my cycling career I started to shave my legs. It’s what you do. I was told. It’s better, they said, to be hairless in the event of a crash. It looks cool.
And it’s true, cyclists and swimmers are among the only male athletes that can claim leg shaving looks cool.
So, that was pretty much it. If you’re the kind of cyclist that wears lycra shorts, then you should shave your legs. It’s a rule, in fact.
But here’s the thing. I didn’t like shaving my legs. It took too long and any razor I used would be dull before I finished my first calve. Also, it turns out, when you have stick thin climbers legs, it doesn’t look as cool. On top of that, I didn’t race and the idea of planning my life around the rare crash – I’ve had one where shaved legs might have helped – just seemed silly.So I stopped with leg shaving.
Every now and again I get a little grief. Our friend Kurt has called me out for breaking rule #33 (last time I rode with him, I was able to put the hurt on Kurt, so he couldn’t talk too much, I’m not sure if that’s true anymore). And more than once a pedestrian has commented on my built-in leg warmers. Yes, even pedestrians know to make fun of my legs.
But I’m not worried because you’re doing something wrong too.
That’s right, you probably have the wrong shoes. Or wear a helmet. Don’t wear a helmet. Drops on your commuter. Flat bars. Platform pedals. Clipless. Freewheel. Foldie. Saddlebag. Camelbak. Bar tape is wrapped the wrong way. Wrong glasses. And so on.
The list of things you’re probably doing wrong is never ending. You should be ashamed of yourself.
Or, maybe you shouldn’t. At least you got the most important thing right:
You’re riding a bike.
At Levi’s Gran Fondo I saw more than one cyclist with bags just about everywhere you could imagine putting one – for example at least two bikes had the following set-up: a saddle bag, a bento box on the top tube, a triangular bag under the top tube, and a handle bar bag (the only thing missing was a fanny pack).
I could carry two of everything I’d stuffed in my pockets (which were full) and still not need <em>that many</em> bags. And, this was a fully supported ride with rest stops every 20 miles or so. I just didn’t get it.
Of course, it was a long a ride with changing weather conditions and I could see the need for adding a saddle bag so one might have room for some arm warmers and a gilet (the one I borrowed from Sera without her knowledge never left my back). So, I was willing to suspend strict enforcement of Rule #29. But I’m pretty sure some people brought every bicycle accessory they owned (this might also explain the handful of people I saw on the side of the road using floor pumps).
For the first few years I rode, I used a saddle bag (a small one that barely fit a tube, a CO2 canister, levers, & a mini-tool). It was terrified of forgetting something when I went out for a ride and the bag, which never left my saddle, was an easy way to ensure everything was always there. Now, the only bag I ride with is the Chrome Citizen I wear on my back when I commute. There have been times, particularly when I’m hauling my coffee press home for a ride in the dishwasher, when the bag has seemed to gather more than I need and I’m forced to parse some of the items I’m carrying, but mostly, it only contains what I absolutely need for the day.
So, I was a little shocked with I saw this:
Now, I don’t want to pick on Ted – I very much enjoy Commute By Bike – but that photo came after he’d written this:
I’m also not getting enough exercise from my puny bike commute — less than two miles when I take the shortcuts. I never even work up enough sweat to worry about changing clothes. I just commute in the same clothes that I will wear all day.
I just can’t help thinking, If he’s wearing the clothes he plans to wear all day, what’s in all those bags?
I ask, not because I find Ted’s style particularly offensive or because I think The Rules should be seriously enforced. I ask because, like my opting to wear Lycra to work, I wonder if commuters who need to carry 3 bags to work daily, might make commuting look difficult and out of reach for the general public. There are plenty of things that bug me about the cycle chic movement (women pedaling in high-heels, for instance) but at least those people look like they woke up, got dressed (picked out something they felt was stylish even) and got on a bike. Photos like this (image from Sac Cycle Chic):
make cycling look accessible and fun.
I wouldn’t say the same thing about a photo of me in the drops with a 17 pound bag on my back or the photo of Ted’s seemingly overloaded commute bike.
Unfortunate news of a local and fellow rider who sustained major head injuries while riding the Foxy Fall Century in Nortern California over the weekend. A constant reminder to be safe out there.
Robb Deignan passed away on October 15, 2011 in a bicycle accident while riding in the Foxy Fall Century. Robb was a great FATRAC member who led fun rides, and shared his expertise with the media to help the FATRAC board polish its message. We were a better club because of Robb. He will be missed and fondly remembered. Ride on Robb.
- Cathy Haagen-Smit FATRAC member