20 July 2009

Sporty Chic

sporty chic cyclist
I have been spending some time recently thinking about what the Chic Cyclist who rides long distances might wear. My husband and I are going on vacation in France, riding our bikes from little town to little town. I want to hop off and look chic, but we'll be riding too far for "normal" clothes. This lady (submitted by dotbike) has a nice balance between chic and performance, I particularly like her aubergine knickers.

Anyone have any suggestions for chic sporty gear?

22 comments:

Marte said...

On my last cycling holiday I wore a comfortable short tankdress over my cycling shorts (this was in scotland, so it was frequently paired with an extra shirt underneath it and a raincoat over it). That way, when we got of our bikes I would still look nice (I wanted to hide the bulky cycling shorts), but the dress wasn't in the way during cycling because it was short enough to not have to sit on it.

Lovely Bicycle! said...

Silk ski clothes. Silk is the lightweight alternative to synthetic performance fabrics, and it is often possible to find silk leggings, jerseys, etc. in good ski shops. These feel great as you are riding (sweat dries off very quickly), and they drape very nicely around the body. If you can't find ski clothes, silk thermal underwear can be customised for this purpose as well.

Trisha said...

That sounds lovely -- what part of France?

I, too, think shorts under a sundress with flats would be a good compromise between sporty and chic. Throw a scarf or cardigan over and you'll fit right in. Can't wait to see pictures.

Unity Finesmith said...

I wear a light weight skirt over 3/4 leggings - retains dignity and comfort but also looks styley around town. On top I wear a tee shirt or Marino wool light weight top if it is a little chilly.

MamaVee said...

I like the dress with leggins look. very chic I think.

have a ball!

She Rides a Bike said...

I would definitely go to your nearest Patagonia store. I wear a lot of Patagonia - skorts, dresses, skirts, capris. They are comfortable, attractive, and easy to pack.

PJDodge said...

I'm not exactly an expert on women's clothing, but have you looked at Kavu.com? They have some sporty/chic things for both genders, including some made with bamboo (sustainable, wicking) or soy (also sustainable).

Cheers,
Pat

dr2chase said...

All the clothes I've bought from Rivendell worked as advertised, so if they have something that looks like it matches your style, it's probably worth buying.

I have had good luck with their long-sleeve seersucker shirt, nylon shorts, and various wool articles of clothing. I did remove some of the more obvious logos (MUSA) from the clothing; it was not hard. I really like the seersucker shirt; it has twin pockets that are (a) large enough to hold a beer bottle and (b) that also have a pencil slot.

Also, hemp seems like a useful fabric for shirts and cycling. I've got a couple of hemp/hemp-cotton shirts, they are very comfortable for cycling (rode home in one today). As near as I can tell, the stiffer hemp gives the shirt more body when it gets damp, so it does not cling as much (same as seersucker). Just for reference, the Patagonia hemp shirt might be too stiff, there's a 50-50 blend shirt that I bought at a store in Harvard Square or maybe Northampton that is just right.

I think you want to be sure that you have a least one pair of padded shorts, so that if you get in a fight with your saddle, you can get some relief.

What are your plans for washing and drying?

inkandpen said...

I am a big fan of sundresses over well-padded lycra shorts, even better if you can find cute dresses in merino wool (you only need one or two) for wicking properties. It looks to me like Ibex (http://www.ibexwear.com/shop/Products.php?SubCat=35&Gender=Womens) makes GREAT fashionable cycling gear, though I haven't shelled out for any... yet.

Charlotte said...

To answer questions:

We will be cycling from Dijon to the Mediterranean, visiting the Massif Central and Provence. My husband will ride Mont Ventoux, for me je crois non! We will be doing ~200km/day so we'll wear clipless cycling shoes and padded shorts for sure.

I have a short black skirt I like to wear over my bike shorts. I will bring two pairs of padded shorts and some (ahem) pantyliners - hopefully that will keep the shorts fresh as I have no plans for laundry.

Because it's going to be warm for this trip I think I'll just wear little tops with my black skirt. I've searched in vain for SPD shoes that are better than the ones I've got (Shimano with most all the logos removed or Sharpie'd down to black) so what I have will have to do. I'm going to put my helmet flower on my wedding helmet next to my tail light.

I have a long black jersey dress that folds down to nothing. That, with a silk scarf and black sandals, will be my going out to dinner outfit.

So excited!!!

dr2chase said...

I'd be a little nervous about no wash plans (and what about your socks?) If you want an easy backup, there's a knitting/wool store in Lexington (Wild and Wooly, on the outbound edge of Lexington Center, a few yards off the Minuteman Trail), you could buy some stuff called Eucalan. Suitable for wool and everything else, doesn't stink, comes in little bottles, etc. You could pack it, not use it, and not suffer much from the weight, but if your clothes start to tend more towards reek than chic, you've got good stuff to wash them in.

Kookaburra woolwash (you can get it from W&W, or from Rivendell) also gets the job done, but Eucalan is a hair better.

Charlotte said...

Dr. Chase,
I figure that if the socks got really bad I could get some new ones... But I (and others!) note your suggestion for next time, which may not be so civilized as to have sock shopping.

What do you do about drying the laundry? When I was backpacking across Europe we had to plan travel around laundry drying, which is not fun. When backpacking for real I would sometimes hang laundry on the back of my pack to dry all day, but that's less appealing on a bike.

Jen said...

terry.com has some cute and sporty clothes. I use cycling briefs under my regular clothes to provide comfort. They are inexpensive. You can handwash them at night and they will be dry by morning.

Marte said...

I just always rinse my padded shorts when I take a shower after cycling all day. The next day they are dry and ready to go. Hardly a hassle.

Charlotte said...

For the record: I washed my shorts at 7PM last night at the laundromat. In Boston they are not dry at 2:20PM today. Were I still living in Colorado I would expect that they would be dry.

dr2chase said...

And if you rode your bike today in Boston, your shorts would not be dry anyway :-).

Given that the dew point is 63, and the temperature is 64, even if it were not raining, things are not going to dry very quickly.

Charlotte said...

LOL! Well, I *DID* ride my bike in today, but wearing my chicest of rain-worthy blue jeans, so that's that.

I do hope the shorts dry before I leave though! :)

Xander N' Dante said...

wear linens and bike shorts underneath... wrinkles are acepptable and white linen shirts and khaki linen shorts or skirts looks great in pictures...

cris said...

I thought most cycle shorts were supposed to be hanged dry? That's how I handle most of mine. With a batch of laundry done at 8pm, my shorts are usually dry when I dress at 6am. I find that it does help to wring them out a bit before hanging them up; and of course, leave them somewhere with good circulation. When riding in the winter, hanging damp shorts on a clothes hook in a locker room never seems to be enough to dry them out.

Maybe setup an impromptu clothesline between your bikes to use for hanging up washing while you sleep or rest?

Also, when the girl and I do some tour or trip that involves several nights in different hotels or inns, we always try to schedule at least one stop that involves two nights at the same place simply to do things like laundry, postcards, and repacking. Being a nomad can be tiring!

Finally, like others, I'm a fan of wool for the odor resistant and wicking, and was wearing a short sleeve wool shirt while doing a 250 mile dirt road bike tour of Vermont in May. one thing I did find out, to my chagrin, however, was that wool does tend to pickup the salt left from evaporated sweat; so at the end of a long, hard day, as the sweat wicks away, the salt would leave a white stain on my chest and shoulders that look like the life-rings of a tree.

(fwiw, the shirts in question were a Smartwool microweight top and a jersey from Kucharik)

If it's cool enough to wear wool, go with light colors.

Eva said...

Have you peeked at Gap's latest venture, Athleta? It's basically made to fit this niche: functionally sporty chic. Even if you don't end up buying anything from them (I haven't yet), the clothes/outfits they sell might give you some ideas. e.g., their dresses: http://athleta.gap.com/browse/category.do?cid=46838

RidingPretty said...

Charlotte, have you thought about wearing chamois undies beneath your bike shorts? They will wring out and dry faster than normal cotton or mirco fiber undies. Perhaps you can manage to borrow a hair blower from the front desk (at where ever your overnight accommodations are) to speed the drying process? Anyway my recommendation is My Alibi. a Woman owned, northern california company. She makes chamois bloomers you might like.

JPTwins said...

Charlotte, sounds like you have some slow drying bike shorts! I wash mine, then tightly wrap them in a towel, and then hang 'em up. with this humidity, it's tough to say, but they are usually dry in the am. and if they are still wet, it's actually nice and cooling to put them on! :)

have a great trip!!