I decided that just because I’m strapped for cash, I can still dream of all the delicious and cool cycling goodies out there. I will just buy them in my head, own them in a Buddhist way — acknowledging my desires but not grasping, not needing to actually buy them.
So here is Edition number one, written in a coffee shop in Novato, California as the rain pours down and will for a week solid. A good time to think about long sleeve jerseys, wool base layers, rain gear and high vis stuff.
But let’s not get greedy right off the bat. Let’s control ourselves — be thoughtful and intentional. A few sips of the latte and some relaxed internet computer window shopping. We live in the golden ago of cycling apparel, bikes and accessories. It’s a wonderful time to have a credit card with a high set limit.
But like I said, no grasping, just appreciation of the riches that abound. Here are three pieces of apparel we would be thrilled to have in our closet, ready for a ride.Audex, je t’aime.
First pick: the Audex windproof gilet from Nice, France and Cafe du Cycliste. This piece has such a cool and distinctive look. I’m not super big on the whole screaming yellow and howling green high viz stuff but Cafe du Cycliste has somehow brought this retro-modern aesthetic to the design and I think it’s super cool.
There are so many vests out there that lack personality and this is the antidote. The company continues to chart a French Rapha course and a good number of their designs hit that perfect balance that pays homage to the history of cycling while being thoroughly up to date in terms of fabrics and technologies. They have a strong, unique and — this is the hard part — consistent visual esthetic. Very impressed — this is a brand climbing fast. The Audex — want it.
Second pick: Continental thermal jersey by Velobici. Understated without being dull, classic with a wake-up call, a stylish update that looks backward in reverence. What’s not to like? There’s something about those two simple letters VB on the left side of the chest. Makes me think of old school Belgian hard-men and the sad tale of woe that was Frank Vandenbroucke. But mostly the tough guy hard-men,
From just the catalog view, there’s lots of tasty details on the Continental thermal jersey — which also promises to be a three season friend, skipping only the heat of summer.
I like the hint of red peeking out on the trim at the collar and on the thumb holes at the end of the sleeve. That brings plenty of style points in with the functional. I really like the angled gold band down the back and the way they’ve done the Velobici typography high up on the back. It’s embroidered, folks, that’s class with the cap C. It’s not some heat transfer letters that are half gone after ten washes. Velobici makes lots of cool apparel although I question their choice of fey and emaciated models wearing the gear. Continental jersey. Want it, want it real bad.
Third choice: Aramo Ragland long sleeve jersey by Cima Coppi. Man oh man, look at this color palette — I dig it. There is something about black, grey and that bold green that get me excited. Reminds me of the Ibex long sleeve wool jersey I’m reviewing in that same green. Must be one of those color swatches that famous color specials who charge $1000/hour have deemed a hot hue for 2017. I’m all in, color gurus.
I am deeply in the wool camp for cycling apparel. Merino and all the other sheep variants just connect to me to the history of cycling — I can feel it! — and wool gives cycling apparel the chance to go multi-purpose. Most wool looks good off the bike, with jeans, hanging out. A great wool jersey is something you can wear around the house, feeling mucho sporty. So, bang for buck.
But back to the Aramo. Medium weight, 100% merino, three pockets and a right side zip pocket. Ooh, and some cycling cache — “Designed, cut, sewn and finished entirely in our Oviedo studio.” That’s in Spain, folks. Would you rather say, “Yeah, it’s synthetic and from Boulder via China or “Hey, it’s cut and sewn in Oviedo, Spain.” Correct answer, option two. (And I love Boulder, went to college there for 3 years,)
The Aramo would look awesome on me with the black and grey matching my matte black Calfee Manta and that awesome green giving me the pop of color. Merino wool, understated yet distinctive look, Spain, I’m all in on the Aramo. Want it. Nice mountain peak logo, too.
Okay, that’s my three picks and my credit card hasn’t even suffered. I let the joy of possible ownership wash over me without spending a dollar. Maybe someday, I will have one of these prizes but for now, yes, let’s just appreciate and love them from afar, happy in the knowledge that they exist and wait patiently for us.