Sunday, February 22, 2009

Cycling Fashion - An Experiment

This has got to be the most ridiculous thing I've done in years, but you only live once, right?

I'm wearing knickers.

For those of you in other English speaking parts of the world, I'm not talking about lady's underpants. Think knickerbockers, shants, pedal pushers, "manpris," or just plain old short pants.

I haven't invested much in this experiment. Basically, since reducing my waist from a size 36 to a 34, thanks to commuter cycling, I've got a few extra pairs of dress pants in my closet. I took a pair to a tailor, and for $16 (includes the $5 rush charge; made while I waited), I got a pair of pin striped cycling knickers.

I rode about 25 miles with temperatures in the 20s to 30s today and the knickers and sweater were both comfortable and warm.

Now I can ride my bicycle to a restaurant or bar, walk in, and proudly say, "Don't worry. I am wearing pants." Depending on the bar, I might get my butt kicked for wearing "capris."

The sweater was something I had in my closet. I'm still wearing warm tights and layers of technical fabric shirts, and a warm zip up jersey underneath, but I thought it would be fun to try something other than the hi-viz quasi-roadie look I've been fostering this winter. Another thing I'd like to add to complete this nutty look is a pair of crazy looking argyle socks that come up to my knees.

This photo looking down at my feet was taken by accident, but it turned out kind of neat.

Omaha has many recreational and sporting cyclists, but at this point, you don't see many people on the road with cycling gear that isn't related to traditional sporting road or mountain biking clothing. I'm hoping with the change in attitude about cycling for transportation, we'll begin to see some interesting outfits. For some photos of bike fashion in New Orleans, check out this blog post.


munsoned said...

Welcome to the capri club! Bob and I take part and look pretty much like you do in that pic. I know a couple other guys from EB's crew dress that way also. It's comfy, modest, and different. People will still look at you weird, but at least it's not a look, blush, then look away since you're wearing tights.

Finding comfortable knickers can be tough though. I've got a nice pair I found on sale from Mountain Hardwear that was actually made for rock climbing. They fit like cycling clothing should fit, so that helps. There a few companies that make cycling specific knickers, but good luck finding anything for under $100, which prohibits me from investing in them. Plus, the cycling specific ones usually have a liner with a chamois inside the outer shell. This is good for comfort, but bad since you'll want to wash them more often. My capris don't get washed until they get horribly dirty or can stand on their own. However, I wear new clean cycling shorts underneath everyday.

I have also tried buying wool dress pants from Goodwill and chopping them down to knicker size. Again, the fit is not great, since there's too much bunchy material in the crotcheral region.

RD said...

homemade manpri's it's where it is...
it is harder to find good wool/polyester mix old man pants though but that's what you going for imo

brady said...

Liking the smug old-school look in that picture, Scott. That's the attitude!

Will you wear them knickers to work?

Scott Redd said...

Thanks for the comment, Munson. I've seen the rock climbing pants online, as well as the cycling specific catalogs. You're right...danged expensive.

The best I've seen for the money are Hell Yes Re-Knicks. Basically they take new and used pants and convert them to nice looking knickers, often adding a cell phone pocket and a band at the cuff with buttons. They start at $50 (including shipping) and go to $60 for premium fabrics like wool.

I saw RD's homebrew knicks and that gave me the idea to find a tailor on Saturday. I might have to go back with a few more pairs of pants.

Brady: All I need now is a handlebar mustache and either a leather helmet and goggles, or perhaps a knit cap with puffball on top. No, I wouldn't wear these in to the office, but I would wear them on the commute.

Steve said...

I'm diggin the new look. One of my roommates has a pair of those Hell Yes knickers and likes them fairly well, but I'm guessing your custom pair is just as comfortable. Really, they seem like pretty much the same thing.

Scott Redd said...

Thanks for the comment, Steve. They are pretty comfortable. When it's too warm for the AmFIBs underneath, I will have to do like Munson said and wear some cycling shorts underneath, as I'm sure that thin pant material wouldn't be comfortable on a long ride.

I might get some of the Hell Yes knickers. I really like the look of the buttoned band at the bottom.

Oh, and I did find some argyle socks tonight. I might debut them on the Dirty, Wicked tour ride Saturday. :)

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