Archive for category style

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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#ThatAwkwardCyclingMoment

Remember the time you pulled up to a stoplight with clipless pedals? You squeezed the brakes and slowed down and, at some point, realized your feer where stuck to the pedals-either that or you clipped out about a block before you actually needed to stop. It was OK, though, you were new to cycling-or new to clipless pedals, at least and your embarrassment was tempered by the knowledge that everyone has done it at least once.

Or, that’s what we tell ourselves.

Now, you’re a pro at getting in and out of your pedals, but what about those other moments of shame you experience, the things you hope nobody saw:

That awkward moment when you’re putting arm warmers on, your hand slips & you punch yourself in the face. Yep I just did that. You can laugh. (@ridempowered)

I once stopped behind a pair of cyclists at a light and opted to lean on post instead of clip out. It was great, until I rolled back a few inches, caught my pedal on the post and fell straight to pavement, feet still safely clipped to the bike. The two guys in front of me just sort of looked back as I dusted myself off. I’ve also spit on myself, dropped a bottle on a hill, turned the wrong way on a group ride, crashed on a descent, and been made fun of by a pedestrian for having hairy legs.

Oh, and I once tried to inflate a tire without twisting the presta valve open…

in a bike shop…

as the mechanic watched.

Awkward.

If you’re worried about looking like a fool when you’re out on your bike, don’t. We’ve all done it. Dust yourself off or ice your face or go running into the brush after that stray bottle, then get back on that bike and ride.

 

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NAHBS Pics

I’m going to let the majority of this post be about the pictures.  I am an artist and a cyclist and this show may replace that special place in my heart that Interbike has held for several years now.  What can I say, I’m non-committal.  It was absolute sensory overload (just like Interbike is) but with the added atmosphere that an upscale art gallery has.  I was, to put it simply, in bike art heaven.  I had promised that I would help out Dean Alleger at his booth for the Sacramento Valley Velodrome so I attempted to see as many booths as I could in 20 minutes flat.  I think I was actually gone 30 minutes.  At any rate, please enjoy the following bikeprOn:


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how you got here

Apparently it was by searching:

riding my motorbike in lycra shorts

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trusty steed

20111114-083241.jpg

If I could read the website (or be bothered to use Google tranlate) I might learn that this is, in fact, a joke. I think I’m better off not knowing.

via.

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Slimm Buick at Sac Swing Fest ’12

Celebrated artist and music aficionado Slimm Buick, who recently relocated to the Sacramento area, will present a competitive showcase of custom-designed bicycles at the 2012 Sacramento Swing Time Festival. The event, called The Kustom Bike Show, will be curated by Buick at the Crowne Plaza hotel.

Buick is legendary for his bicycle creations, which often embrace historic Americana themes, and feature classic bikes with sumptuous and eclectic adornments. His celebrated and much-photographed piece Rawhide is a whimsical re-imagining of the cowboy aesthetic, translated to West Coast beach culture. The cruiser is decked out in calfskin, with embossed leather wheel arches, rhinestones and a sheriff’s badge. The Wild West caricature is subverted by the the large basket on the handlebars.

The Kustom Bike Show competition is open to all entries for a $7 fee, and Buick will be judging the best bikes on show. The artist will also indulge his other passion, spinning 45s from the era of Swing to conjure up a mood of early 20th Century American automobile and bike culture.

The fourth annual Sacramento Swing Time Festival will be held on June 23rd, 2012. Tickets are $20.

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Lightning Vest

I seem to be on a visibility kick, I know, but really I just happened to see this over at Swissmiss. It’s a good idea, I guess. Not nearly as ugly as some of the hi-vis yellow clothing I see out on the road. But it seems you could just make one yourself and save $80.

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now you see me…

It’s dark at 6:00 am (and cold, but that’s a different story). The darkness (and the cold) has thinned out the already svelte bike commuting crowd. Of the bike commuters left, I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who refuses to wear a neon yellow top. I have my reasons.

They’re ugly.

Random San Jose cyclist

And, I’m not even sure hi-vis jackets and vests work all that much better than other visibility solutions. There doesn’t seem to be much out on the interwebs linking blindingly yellow clothing to cycling safety, “there seems to be even less research on the effectiveness of high-visibility clothing for the bicyclist than for the motorcyclist.”

Much of the clothing I wear is black or gray but also has built in sections of reflecting fabric making me, at least somewhat, visible in the dark. But, more than that, the flashing white headlamp and the red taillight I ride with in low light should do more to make me visible than even the brightest yellow (and unlike reflective clothing, my lights don’t rely on others having their lights on).

Many cyclists out there probably look at my refusal to wear hi-vis clothing and think it’s foolish (much the same way I look at people who eschew helmets). In fact, one thing “research” turned up was a high number of websites suggesting, with no data to support the claim, that wearing hi-vis clothing is a must. Some may even feel that Hi-Vis clothing is the most stylish and fashionable trend in cycling since spider helmet covers. Which helps explain the guy I saw this morning in a bright yellow jacket without any lights on his bike.

I’m not convinced on either count.

Image by Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious

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By Bike | What’s in your bag?

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.

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No Handed Bike Moves

Via Andrew who wasn’t was bragging when he said he could do them all while turning.

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