If you’re not of the lycra set then cycle clothing can be hard to find. Most fixie riders need nothing more than a t-shirt and their girlfriend’s jeans for riding in, but what if you actually want to be comfortable?
In my youth, when I commuted 20-40kms a day, I opted for baggy pants. It didn’t hurt that I was a massive fan of Madness
also. But the main thing was, the skinny tight jeans of my school years weren’t appropriate for the longer distances I was now traveling.
Now 20-odd years have passed (youch!) and I can’t help wondering if there isn’t something better than your grandfather’s pants to recommend to you. To wit I present you:
Fixie Gear (not Fixed Gear)
Last year I bought a belt made from re-cycled bike tyres for a mate of mine. I thought at the time that it was extremely clever and unique. Thinking I’d give the makers a big up I got onto the Google machine and went searching for them. Turns out there are loads of people doing it and I couldn’t actually locate the one’s I bought from.
I’ve chosen Innovative Fashions
as my belt provider of choice. (And doesn’t everyone have one of those?). They’re local and dedicated to recycled fashion. Some examples of their belts below:
|Innovative Fashions City Slick Belt
|Innovative Designs City Slick Belt
Prices range from $40-50.
On a similar theme (okay, it’s Zachary bloody same) is this belt from Rodwell Travelled (as their page name says, but you can call them The Road Well Travelled:
There’s more where that came from on their website
. You can match you mutt with the same collar too.
Now that you’ve got your belt you need a holster attached to it. U-bolt holsters are the fixie gear of choice by our overseas brethren. Nothing says I’m tough and trendy like having a u-bolt hanging off your hips. What’s more, it’s strikingly convenient. (Not quite as convenient as actually attaching the u-bolt to your bike using the attachment the u-bolt came with, but hey, we’re fixed and we’re stylish and we’re not sullying our work of art with a little bit of security.)
|Fabric Horse Holster for U-bolt locks
I seem to be one of the few people on the Gold Coast who actually uses a u-bolt. Maybe it’s my bitter memories of the bikes I’ve lost in the past, some of them securely locked (with lessor locks). To me u-bolts are essential. They’re difficult and heavy to carry but the Fabric Horse holster
makes it possible to look stylish in a bad-arse kinda way while hauling around a couple kilo of lock. By Frabric Horse u-bolt holsters direct from their website for $10. They’re made from recycled seat belts.
Also from the same site are these somewhat naff spats. We got a good laugh out of them when I first laid eyes on them but then the more I looked at them the more I really want them. I want to be that guy you laugh at when he cycles by in his lovely spats.
|OMG they’re spats!
Spats are probably more appropriate to Melbourne fixie riding, where the weather is shitty and the array of weird sub-cultures makes it hard to look strange wearing anything short of an urban kilt.
|Inappropriate cycle attire
Cycle related t-shirts abound. Do any googling for cycle clothing and you’re going to find a truckload of t-shirts. I’m not going to feature many here because cycling t-shirts are really just normal t-shirts with a cycle related motif. Apre Velo get a mention because they’re Australian (I think…) and they seem to have their hearts in the right place.
The other thing that proliferates are cycling caps. These little fellas were worn by any and every cyclist who was half-serious when I was a kid. This was back in the day when you could ride the Tour de France without a helmet and nearly every rider donned a cap with team colours. For try-hard wannabe clubs racers like myself you had to have a cap in your favorite team colours, just to separate yourself as a “cyclist” from those who merely cycled.
Even after the morons who legislate for us made helmets mandatory I still wore my cap. Perhaps I was unwilling to let go of the thing that said I’m a real cyclist and you’re not. But it also had a purpose. The brim could be folded out the way when not needed. Then it could be folded down when the sun shone or, more likely this being the Melbourne of my youth, the rain fell. For those who wear glasses and ride it was nice to have something to keep a little rain off. Of course, helmets have peaks now so the cap is a little superfluous, but dammit they’re stylish, so here goes:
A special mention must go to Rocket Fuel
for their locally made and very stylish cycling caps. Buy direct from their website from $25.
My wife, who tries not to yawn (in my face) when I talk bikes, loved the Rocket Fuel caps.
Now that you’ve got a cap on your head and a belt you’re just about ready to go riding. Or you could wear some pants. Outlier make cycling specific pants for…well…cyclists…
|Outlier Keiren Cut Dungarees
Importantly for us who live on the Gold Coast Outlier also have some summer weight pants.
|Outlier Summerlight Pants
Okay, they look the same in the picture but Outlier assure us that “they actually weigh a hair less then our Summer Shorts, despite the full leg”.
Right about now you’re saying, that’s great. But where do I buy them. The answer is, we have a shop right her in Brisbane. Gear Brisbane stock Outlier pants as well as some very nice fixie finery. Unfortunately they have one of those new-fangled websites that dont allow me to link directly to their products. You’ll have to visit the store and find your own way about. Try not to get seasick with the navigation. And oh yeah, get yourself a decent screen size. Ipads and netbooks might just work but only just.
Gear Brisbane used to have Chrome shoes. They might still have them. I can’t see their entire website on my netbook.
Chrome make a range of cool shoes made for riding, made tougher and with stiffer soles. Check out the black suede:
Hopefully Gear Brisbane still has them. I could get up and go downstairs, boot up a PC and check it out on a full size computer but…no…I kinda like website’s to meet me on my terms.
Getting a good pair of shoes for riding, whether fixed or not, has always been a problem. Those skate shoes from Vans and Airwalk and co are okay to a point. They have good grip but the sole isn’t stiff enough and if you ride them over any kind of distance you’ll eventually be wanting more shoe. The next stop in shoeland was SPD compatible shoes, which are great if you’re getting clipped in but no good if you’re not. (And often they look pretty ugly.) The Chrome shoes are the first I’ve seen making a shoe that is cycling specific but without the hang-ups of pedal systems and so forth.
And what’s more they come in lots of cool styles:
The should work great when strapped in.
If you’re feeling that prêt-à-porter is a little too common for you then you might want to go for some bespoke cycle clothing from B. Spoke. You might look as funky as this guy:
Go to B.Spoke to find out how to be the absolute hippest guy on a fixie on the Gold Coast.
This is either the tailor or some kinda circus act:
|Grace from B. Spoke going all Edward Scissor Hands on us.
For something that looks like you might actually cycle in it try Road Holland
. They have cycle jerseys that look the goods. The Arnhem below is 39% merino and the rest is synthetic.
You can buy direct from the Road Holland website.
|Road Holland Arnhem vest.
They have women’s jerseys too:
|Same Road Holland vest, this one with places for boobs
Another US company making gear for cyclists who don’t want to look like they’ve just dropped out of the peloton is Swrve. Knickers are a good in-between shorts/trousers combo. Swrce knickers are 100% synthetic but they have a good looking cut:
|Knickers by B. Spoke
Swrve say this about their knickers:
- roomier thighs and seat than our regular men’s cut
- low waist in front to prevent your belt from digging into your gut
- high waist in back to stay respectable and to keep you warm
- articulated knees to prevent bunching of fabric while you pedal
- seamless gusseted crotch for comfort
- double-ply seat for durability
- side seam designed to keep knickers in place as you move around
- two 6″ zippered back pockets to keep your valuables (these fit a small U-lock)
- cell phone pocket on side to stay connected
- stylish fit for everyday use
It’s good to see they’ve put a bit of thought into it because when you think about it you could just ride in a normal pair of shorts. If they’re wanting extra dollars out of you for something extra cyclingy then it wants to be working harder to make you comfortable and convenient than the alternative:
Swrve stuff looks to almost as comfortable as a pair of pink undies but probably somewhat more appropriate.
Swrve also make some bamboo t-shirts. A t-shirt isn’t necessarily cycling specific but it sure does the job in summer and bamboo feels awesome.
|Bamboo t-shirt by Swrve
Swrve also have gear for women. Women’s knickers for instance:
|Knickers for women by Swrve
And that other type of knickers. Cycle-specific g-string?
|G-string by Swrve.
Another mob making knickers for cyclists is Derny. Their gear is made using a “superior quality stretch cotton”. I’m not sure if that means it’s cotton that actually stretches naturally or if it’s cotton that’s had some elastic stuff added to it. I like the idea of riding in natural fibres so I’m hoping it’s the former. I’m happy to leave the full petro-chemical outfits to the lycra set.
Here’s what Derny say about their City Shorts:
Tailored from superior quality stretch cotton, Derny City Shorts have a meticulous ‘suit-pant’ style construction. We’ve included a load of features that we know are important when on the bike – from the taped interior seams and lined crutch to the adjustable cuffs. At the same time we have created a pair of shorts that will look great at the office or café. City Shorts, where have you been all my life?
- Superior quality cotton with optimal stretch for ease of movement on the bike
- Horizontal front and rear jet pockets
- Adjustable button-fastened cuffs with colour coded thread
- Derny rider embroidery inside left front pocket
- Cut high in the back, low in the front
- Taped interior seams reduces irritation
- Lined crutch for comfort
- Heavyweight YKK zip fly
|Look, there’s a little cyclist sewn into the pocket.
The Derny Merino polo almost looks the goods. I’ve survived several winters wearing my Wild South merino polo and can recommend this kind of garment for winters on the Gold Coast. (Or spring/autumn if you live further south.)
|Derny Merino Polo
The thing that worries me about he Derny Merino Polo is the neckline. When it gets chilly it’s always nice to be able to zip the neck right up to prevent draughts. Check out the Wild South polo below:
|Wild South Merino Polo
Now that’s the good. Wild South aren’t a cycle specific tailors but they’ve hit the nail on the head with this jersey. I’ll be getting another this year to replace the one I shrunk in the wash last year. (And I’ll be letting my wife wash it.)
Merino makes for a fantastic fabric and I reckon if I had the choice (ie could afford it) my whole wardrobe would be made out of merino. For cycling merino has all the advantages of synthetics but also looks, feel and smells a hell of a lot better. Traveling in merino is awesome. When you really have to stretch those clothes out another day (or two) the merino rarely if ever starts to pong. Synthetics, on the other hand, usually pong before the end of day one.
I own merino socks and underpants, which is maybe going to far, but you have to try it to know how good it is. My first pair of merino socks was an accidental purchase and now they’ve become one of my most treasured possessions. (Go ahead and laugh, everyone else does.)
|Derny merino socks
$30 is a lot to pay for socks but let me tell you you wont regret it. My pair were from Snowgum but regretfully they don’t seem to have them any more.
Now that you’re all dressed up, it’s time to accessorise. Try some cycling jewelery from Sherry Truit Studios:
Next, add a bag. Coming from Melbourne I of course own a Crumpler. Despite reaching almost cliche levels of saturation in Melbourne these bags are still my favorite because they’re great to cycle with, look great and come in enough colours to make anyone happy. My first Crumpler was stolen. My new Crumpler is now 5-6 years old and has barely started to show any signs of wear, despite almost daily use for work, riding and traveling. A Crumpler can be the last bag you ever buy. A friend of mine wore his Crumpler out by dragging it across the floor too often, and Crumpler fixed it up for a six-pack.
Crumpler were the first people to add an extra strap to the messenger bag to prevent it from swinging round while you’re cycling. Crumplers are great to ride with, stay right where they’re meant to be, are comfortable and have tonnes of room for carrying that stuff you didnt think you’d be carrying when you first set out but now cant live without.
|Standard issue Crumpler
|Getting bigger. This is the Crumpler I own.
|Loads of pockets and such in your Crumpler.
Brisbane Outdoor Gear look like being a worthy local successor to Crumpler. When I say local, they are of course in Brisbane, which is considered a suburb of the Gold Coast now. (I add that for our overseas readers.) I like to shop local so while I don’t own a BOG bag yet I’m pretty keen on what I see.
|Brisbane Outdoor gear Dub, the middle sized bag.
|BOG’s stability strap.
|BOG’s big fella. The advantage of messenger bags is that they’re not all that big and cumbersome when not actually chockers with gear.
Brisbane Outdoor Gear’s Love Handle intrigues me. It looks like it might be a local alternative to the Fabric Horse holster featured above, yet with a bit of space for your wallet and keys. Problem is I’m just not sure, even after reading their website, how it attaches to your person.
|BOGs Love Handle
Brisbane Outdoor Gear are definitely into the fixie thing. It’s not wearable and as such probably doesn’t belong in this blog entry but check it out anyway, pedal straps from Brisbane Outdoor Gear:
|BOG’s pedal straps. Pedals sold separately.
Now I’ve pretty much exhausted the clothing manufacturers it’s time to mention some websites and blogs for you.
Wool, twine and all things fine.
Hold my bicycle while I kiss your girlfriend.
Bicycle chic California
Retailers of fixie bikes, gear and clothing.
Cycle Style Australia
An online shop striving to provide good cycling gear for non-competitive cycling.
Now go get some funky gear and go cycling.