lululemon rain gear for cyclists

Prominent yoga clothing brand, Vancouver-based lululemon, has recently released a line of cycling gear. For women, a rain cape and tights, under the moniker “First Gear,” are simple designs in subtle earthtones. For men, a cool weather jacket and pant, their “Bike Lane” pairing, are available in black with subtle reflective details. The clothing is currently available only at the lululemon Lab in Vancouver, though is expected to reach stores the second week of October.

Earlier this year the Yorkville location made some Twitter noise with their rather political “More bike, less Ford” window display:

While first impression of the men’s jacket doesn’t really stand out to me, the women’s cape looks like a functional design (how many times have you arrived to work in full rain gear yet still soaking wet because you’ve been cooking and sweating under all of that plastic?).

Via Momentum

Rapha 50/50 test – Show don’t tell

Call me a Doubting Thomas but until I actually see something perform how it is said to perform I simply don’t believe it. Years of watching television commercials and reading print ads brings out the skeptic in me. Sure, marketing gurus call it creativity, but I call it hype and bullshit.

In comes Rapha. A brand that makes beautiful cycling clothing, produces a stunning magazine and has crafted a high-end yet stylish image unparalleled in cycling marketing. But is it all just hype? Does Rapha justify their high prices based solely on the image they’ve created and pump out the same ho-hum quality we’re all used to?

Maybe not…

The above image of from the Rapha 50/50 test where they assembled a pair of jeans, half of their specially crafted demin and half of the benchmark cotton twill used for most denim trousers. The 50/50 jeans were then given to a cycle messenger and worn for nearly 2,900 km or riding and washed 20 times. The benchmark cotton side looks like most of the jeans in my dresser. Faded and unpresentable.

Well-played, Rapha… well-played.

Learn more about Rapha Jeans and the 50/50 test here.

Nona Varnado shows us how to get reflective

Visit Nona Varnado
and The Bird Wheel

Covet: Road Holland Jerseys

Over the past year I’ve learned to embrace the fact that traditional cycling clothes are quite beneficial on longer rides. They are cut to match your position, feature waist grippers to keep your shirt in place and the pockets are simply handy.  Last year, I purchased a polyester long-sleeve jersey and while I find myself using the rear pockets and enjoy the cut, I really wish I’d held out for some wool.

Now, the Dutch may be better known for their everyday, bike in your regular clothes style but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few roadies and tourers in the bunch.

Road Holland jerseys are a merino/poly blend and come in understated colours… except, of course, for the orange Utrecht Jersey:

Road Holland jerseys and accessories for men and women can be found here: Road Holland

Threadless Infinity MPG Gets Reflective

You’ve probably seen this t-shirt about a 1,000 times… but you’ve never seen it like this before:

I like the reflective… not so sure about a hood on a longsleeve t-shirt though.

Order the shirt from Threadless here: Infinity MPG

What I Wear For Winter Cycling

It’s officially winter in Toronto. That time of year when many people believe outdoor physical activity grinds to a halt. It’s that time of year when excuses are passed off as reasons and it’s that time of year when I keep on doing what I do… riding my bicycle.

In the spirit of “how to do it” posts, here’s a look at my winter cycling wardrobe.

Let me state first that I tend to “run hot.” For some reason, I have a great tolerance to the cold. I don’t mind the biting wind on my cheeks and only once the temperature drops below -10 C do I add an extra layer to my legs.

That said, let’s look at outfit #1… the everyday ride:

1. Wool jacket with light lining (pocket handkerchief for running nose is essential).
2. Wool scarf
3. Toque
4. Merino wool sweater
5. Cotton shirt
6. Jeans (reflective strap since I don’t have a chainguard)
7. Fleece gloves
8. Merino wool socks

Not pictured: fleece long johns, leather boots.

My everyday rides take me to the grocery store, to the bank, to a new remote office (coffee shop), to the library. These are all short trips that see me on the bike for no more than 20 minutes at a time. In light snow, I’ve never had a problem with wet clothes and because I have a set of full fenders the amount of slush and grime spray on my shins is very minimal.

When I reach my destination I sometimes remove the pant strap and I’m ready to go. Easy as pie.

In addition to grocery hauling, errand running my bicycle is my only “exercise machine.” So, for longer, harder rides where I’m cranking up my already burning internal engine I dress differently… here’s a look at the active rider:

1. Waterproof/Breathable shell
2. Wool cap with ear flaps
3. Fleece half-zip
4. Merino wool base layer
5. Soft shell pants
6. Liner shorts
7. Lined water resistant gloves
8. Merino wool socks

Not pictured: Gore-tex hiking shoes, helmet

My goal on longer, harder rides is to have my outer layers block the wind and my inner layers fight to manage sweat. While I like the bright blue jacket for visibility, I bought it because the fabric is reliably wind resistant and waterproof and because it was on sale.

In the end, I suggest wearing what you feel is comfortable. I like my “advanced plastics” outer layers as much as I do my natural fibre one. Each outfit works for what I want them to do and finding the right mix that suits your body and your needs is how I feel you should determine what to wear on your bicycle in any weather.

BC Bike Wear Company Loeka Aims to Recycle Used Clothing

Vancouver-based Loeka has become the first cycling clothing company to offer a recycling program for customers’ used tops, bottoms and jackets:

Loeka is built on a love of biking in the great outdoors, so it’s important that we do our bit to protect the beautiful environment we all love to play in.

Loeka Recycle is an initiative that enables customers to return their old Loeka items to be recycled into reusable materials for signage, banners, merchandising. Plus any winter items that are in good condition will be donated to women in need so they can stay warm and dry. These are just the first steps Loeka is taking towards the ultimate goal of operating a completely closed loop recycling system.

Customers who participate in the program are rewarded with vouchers for their next purchase.

Loeka is the first cycling apparel company in Canada to introduce the recycling initiative into our business model. We are incredibly excited at the opportunity and thank our customers and retail partners for joining us.

Fantastic to see a company take on a challenging initiative like this. You can learn more about Loeka and their women-specific cycling and outdoor wear here: Loeka women’s only cycling & outdoor adventure apparel

Via Bike Shop Girl

The Bicycle Lifestyle; An American in Amsterdam

How do you promote products that are designed for active, everyday life? Well, why not just show them in use.

Based in San Francisco, Mission Workshop, makes bags and clothes for the lifestyle cyclist. (I don’t know if this is an actual term, but it’s what my girlfriend has been using to describe people who use bikes like others use their car, just for everyday living)

The two products featured in the above video are the Orion jacket (made in Canada) and the merino Bosun jacket, layered together for chillier winter riding.

For us Canuks, the only shop in our vast country carrying Mission Workshop gear is On the Rivet in Vancouver, BC. So far at least.

Via Amsterdamize

Who’s the shark now?

Remember when Rob Ford said that incredibly stupid thing about bike lanes and blamed cyclists for their own deaths? Yeah, most people won’t forget that one…

In a strange twist comes this t-shirt from Dark Cycle Clothing out of Tampa, Florida. The Shark on a Bike shirt.

This shirt along with a whole slew of other large creatures riding bicycles are available here: Dark Cycle Etsy Shop

Who’s the shark now?

Check Out the New Products in the BikingToronto Shop

I Bike T.O. HoodieI Bike T.O. Baseball Shirt

The BikingToronto Shop has just been updated with new shirts for men, women, children and babies.

The profits from all purchases go to Toronto cycling-related charities.

Visit the shop here: BikingToronto Shop
Learn more about ibiketo.org, the charitable arm of BikingToronto, here.

I Bike T.O. Kids ShirtI Bike T.O. Women's V-neck

(Click on any of the images here to learn more about each product)