In Review: Modrobes Euca Tee for Men and Women

Women's Scoop Neck Euca Tee from Modrobes.comMens Crew Neck Euca Tee from Modrobes.com

Cycling fashion designers have a knack for over-complicating seemingly simple things.

Take, for example, any clothing item created by Outlier. Each garment, while beautiful and functional, is also accompanied by a short novel, or novella, describing the epic journey each article of clothing takes from being just a spark in the brain of a designer to becoming a $144 shirt.

As someone who rides a bike, but doesn’t want to be easily identified as the guy who showed up on a bike, I prefer simple clothes that I can wear for a ride around town or to work in or to simply sit down on a patio in.

Certainly, I could just throw on any of the cotton t-shirts I’ve accumulated simply from being a guy (it’s a well-known fact that not only do guys purchase a lot of t-shirts, or get them free with beer, but we also develop strong bonds to these shirts as they fade and decay). Yet, if you’ve stepped outside recently, like I did this morning in 26 C heat with 100% humidity, then you’ve probably experienced the way cotton absorbs sweat, holds on to it for dear life and weighs you down more than a bullet-proof vest. Heck, even the hardest of hard-core rappers opt for lighter upper torso vestments in this weather.

Strangely unhappy with using natural fibres for the creation of clothing, we’ve also turned our attention to the limited resources of our planet in order to create supposedly “high-tech” fabrics that we adorn with countless pockets, zippers and reflective embellishments. In order to be certain these fabrics are suitably “high-tech” we also douse them in scary-sounding chemicals in order to repel the natural processes our bodies undertake to cool us down when Mother Nature decides to turn up the thermostat. Yet still, all of the science in the world has a hard time keeping plastic clothing from smelling worse than a TTC streetcar on the first really hot day of summer.

After systematically eliminating both cotton and polyester from my list of ideal fabrics for summer cycling and living I was left with nothing to wear except for the piece of paper I had made this short list on.

That’s when I discovered Modrobes and their recently released Euca Tee.

You see, this is no ordinary t-shirt. The Euca Tee is made from 100% eucalyptus trees, a plant indigenous to Australia and the preferred snack of cute and cuddly koala bears, an animal introduced to “the West” in Jackie Chan’s Criterion contribution First Strike.

Other clothing manufacturers, like Patagonia, have been using Tencel, a branded eucalyptus lyocell fibre in outdoor athletic gear for some time now. The claims made by the manufacturers are quite bold and should instantly perk the ears of anyone who hates wrinkly clothes, detests carrying their sweat with them and abhors bacteria responsible for the terrible stink some people associate with “avid cyclists.”

Since the above describes me almost to a “t,” I decided to purchase a Modrobes Euca Tee and put their claims to the test. In fact, let’s take a look at those claims firsthand:

“Like wool for summer weather the Euca tee is great for keeping you comfortable in hot or humid weather.”-SSD

The Euca tee does everything a performance garment should but naturally and without actually being a performance garment…it’s just better than cotton and polyester at working with your body’s natural comfort.

The Euca tee is made from 100% eucalyptus trees and is certified as an environmentally clean fabric by numerous auditors.

The fabric absorbs moisture away from the body into the fibres and releases it depending on the climate conditions which keeps your skin dry and stops bacteria from forming. Unlike all polyester technical fabric eucalyptus does this naturally and without any added chemicals.

Highlights:

*no smell
*quick dry
*wrinkle free
*super soft
*biodegradable

My girlfriend, also described to a “t” above the above, received a Euca Tee, too, because I am just that great of a boyfriend. Over the past week we put these t-shirts through the paces, with those “paces” being the wearing of a t-shirt as you would normally and doing so while occasionally on our bicycles.

Referring to the above list of claims, or “highlights,” our first impression of the t-shirts was that they were, in fact, super soft. On a softness scale I’d rank these t-shirts between a box full of kittens and an even larger box full of koosh balls. The fabric is also thinner than I’m used to. In fact, these t-shirts nearly give you the feeling of being topless yet will allow you to still order fast food indoors. Basically a win-win situation in the summer heat.

After riding our bicycles around town my girlfriend and I both managed to work up a good sweat. Living up to the next “highlight,” these t-shirts did in fact dry quickly, although they did not dry faster than we were able to create more sweat, but once off our backs, the shirts dried within minutes.

Since the preferred method of t-shirt storage in our apartment is “balled up” we were also able to test whether these shirts could be wrinkle free. Now, unballing the t-shirt did reveal wrinkles, but after doning the shirt and heating them up a little in the great outdoors we did find the wrinkles quickly released. Once again, the t-shirt lives up to the claims.

By now you must be curious about stink. Two able-bodied individuals braving the summer heat in a bi-pedal manner must be sweating and within that sweat there must be feeding bacteria whose feces contribute to what is commonly referred to as “body odour.” Yes, we did sweat. Yes, we even thoroughly drenched our t-shirts. And no, they did not stink. In fact, I remained smelling like the man your man can smell like and my girlfriend retained her gentle fragrance of lilacs and other flowers I fail to bring home and decorate our apartment with.

Understandably, I cannot test whether or not these t-shirts are actually biodegradable, however, if they do begin to biodegrade while in use, I will be sure to inform you once I find a replacement shirt because I never blog shirtless.

Ok, so the shirts live up to the claims I am capable of unprofessionally testing (no labs nor lab coats were used and therefore any and all tests completed by me are as amateur as it gets). But how do they fit?

The mens crew neck Euca Tee fits long in the body thus keeping my lower back/upper butt from exposure to the elements. The thin fabric hangs nicely and I found no strange bunching or tight spots when in “cycling position.” My girlfriend also likes the longer length and the scoop neck is comfortable and appropriate for her work.

For the more daring, there are v-neck styles for both men and women. This neck style may be great for allowing even more moisture to be released from your upper torso, although I prefer to keep my chest out of view of spectators as some parts of my body should remain in sacred seclusion.

In conclusion, the Modrobes Euca Tee is a versatile t-shirt made of a fabric that wears well and has a few added performance features that can benefit cyclists in the summer months.

The Euca Tee for men and women is available at Modrobes, 620 Queen Street West in Toronto for $35.
Photos via Modrobes.com

TorontoVerve; Street Style and Cycle Chic

The BikingToronto Photo of the Day blog regularly features stylish Torontonian’s riding their bikes and it’s pretty clear that we’re no strangers to “cycle chic” in this city. So you just know that a street style photographer is going to find a lot of fashionable subjects on their bikes. Take for example these photos from TorontoVerve:

More photos at TorontoVerve

Dublin Cycle Chic Fashion Show

Dublin Cycle Chic Fashion Show Screen Shot

Some people may be attracted to commuter cycling by its environmental and health benefits, but of course, that’s not always the case. In Ireland, Dublin City Council, staged a Dublin Cycle Chic fashion show to illustrate that city cycling doesn’t require battle gear to get started, simply a bicycle and the clothes on your back (something many still seem to be learning about in Toronto):

Dublin Cycle Chic – Fashion Show from DCTV on Vimeo.

Via Copenhagen Cycle Chic

Covet: Cycle Chic Fashion at Distill Gallery

Great Canadian designs with a bicycle theme available at Distill Gallery in the Distillery District, Toronto.

Annie Thompson Cross-up Reflective Bag

Annie Thompson bags are simple, functional and feature reflective crosses on outer pockets.

Jenna Rose Bicycle Pillow

Hamilton designer, Jenna Rose, creates pillows and storage bags with distinctive bicycle prints as seen above.

Dandyhorse Launch Party: Thursday, April 29, 2010

You should really go to this!

Dandyhorse Launch Party

The Canadian Corps Club at 201 Niagara Street, $7 gets you in the door with magazine in hand!

Via JanetBikeGirl on Flickr

http://www.dandyhorse.com

Hey, Harry! I Like Your Bikes

The Harry Rosen storefront on Bloor Street displays a few interesting accessories for Spring.

Harry 1

Gary Fisher Simple City at Harry Rosen Toronto

Gary Fisher Simple City at Harry Rosen Toronto

Trek at Harry Rosen Toronto

Electra at Harry Rosen Toronto

Trek Belleville
Gary Fisher Simple City
Electra Bikes

416cyclestyle Toronto Cycle Chic Search – Spring Moments

416 Cycle Style

BikingToronto member ‘Xander who runs the great photo blog TorontoBikeChic (and 416CycleStyle) is on the hunt for signs of spring. He wants to know how bicycles have changed or influenced your life.

Here’s ‘Xander’s own words on the subject:

My bicycle was there during first kisses in Trinity park. It supported early morning rides for spring lattes at the cafĂ© curbside to the design studio. I’ve found alleyway shortcuts to where flowers bloom on side streets and the smell of 3am baked bread still lingers past noon.

I recall getting chills watching flowing skirts, and drinking in wafts of perfumed sweat on summer breezes as the red changed to green. I hear the distinct ding of vintage bells whose sweet alarm teased of upcoming conflicts, or flirts of unknown around each turn.

My bicycle crossed the beaches at 2am with bottles of wine to rest amongst the flicker of skyscraper fireflies. Its two wheels have heard the slander of lovers quarrel and felt the side swipe of oncoming traffic during periods of emotional insanity.

My Bicycle took me away through rain wind and snow, always without a care to the destination.

It has inspired films, music, poems and photos. Its simple stencil holds strength in its slender spokes. It creates a relationship that binds the stiletto to the pedal. It fuels a fire that pushes one leg to mimic the other in a rhythmic dance that brings reason to the here and there.

If you own a bicycle and are a Toronto Fashion Designer, Fashion Photographer, Blogger, Musician or any Torontonian whose style has been inspired by the simplicity and sexiness of two wheels please join this virtual ride to somewhere.

Please send any photos of you and your bicycle and a brief description of who you are to 416cyclestyle@gmail.com We will show case your inspiration on www.416cyclestyle.com

I eventually hope to have enough to make a poster of 1000 Toronto Cycle Chic stylish riders

If you Flickr please join this group http://www.flickr.com/groups/torontocyclechicsearch/

Please forward this post to any Fashion Friendlies who you think may be able to contribute.

Ride on.

‘Xander

Well, what are you waiting for? Send your submissions to him!

How to Get Teenage Girls on Bikes; Focus on Something More Than Beauty

Recently, Scientific American released a much talked about article stating that in order to assess the “bikeability” of a city, you simply count the number of women on bikes. The conclusion is that the safer the city is for cycling, the more women you’ll have on bikes.
In Canada, women make up just 30 percent of cyclists and in Toronto under 2 percent of the population choose bicycles as their main transportation choice. Needless to say, we’ve got a lot of work to do.
To make cycling a more “attractive” option for women in the UK, campaigns are popping up that place emphasis on looking good while cycling. However, is this the only concern keeping young girls off their bikes? Sarah Phillips says, “no.”
What’s stopping teenage girls from riding bikes?

Campaigns to get women cycling seem to focus on how to look good over other concerns. Is this really all girls care about?

Posted by Sarah Phillips

Teenage girls don’t ride bikes. Or so says the Darlington Media Group, who have set about trying to rectify the problem with a campaign to get young women cycling.

Several years ago, the National Children’s Bureau published research that revealed that on average, boys cycle 138 miles a year and girls only 24 miles. This still rings true. Christie Rae, 16, from Newcastle told me: “I do have a bike, but I don’t really use it. Only sometimes in the summer when my friends and I cycle round to see each other. I don’t know many girls that do, actually.”

Darlington’s project began with the production of a documentary called Beauty and the Bike, chronicling a trip made by a group of teenage girls to Bremen in Germany, where they met their cycling-loving peers and found out about the joys of the open road. It all sounds slightly twee, but addresses the important issue that girls tend to get to a certain age and it’s no longer the done thing to get about by bike.

I have every admiration for such attempt to get women enjoying the numerous benefits of cycling, but what is frustrating is the focus on appearance that is often so integral to said schemes. Aside from the title, BATB, which incidentally has been used for a similar scheme in the past, Darlington’s site makes it clear they are keen to address the important issue of remaining fashionable while cycling. But as I recall, it was an overprotective mother that stopped me from spending too much time around the bike sheds in my teenage years, rather than any personal concerns over the way I looked.

Another offender is the site Bike Belles, run by the otherwise excellent charity Sustrans, which encourages women of all ages to take up cycling. One helpful section dedicated to beauty tips provides such gems as: “Use waterproof mascara when it’s raining on your bike, and take a powder compact for a quick refresher on arrival.” Admittedly, I write as someone who occasionally arrives at the office sporting a minor oil slick on my face, but I sincerely doubt that women are so image conscious that this is what is stopping them. As many a female cyclist will confirm, it is more hassle than it’s worth looking attractive while travelling by bike.

Aside from fashion tips, the beauty bikers and belles both voice concerns over the lack of decent cycle lanes and safety issues that make our roads a wholly unappealing prospect. Those two are serious issues that would put inexperienced riders off, and are much more worthy of a campaign to get people, regardless of gender, on their bikes.

Discuss this topic in the BikingToronto Forum