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You can’t always be on the bicycle. Well, you could try, but the reality is you have things to do. Whether it’s going to work, playing with your kids, eating, sleeping or communing with other humans, life is complicated. Living requires socializing, and socializing—in most polite societies—requires that you wear something. No shirt, no shoes, no service, as the saying goes. To that end, and with ‘cross, winter, and Santa Claus all coming, we take a look at three pieces of gear to add to your wardrobe that don’t involve lycra, because it’s nearly sweater weather.
While looking good in the saddle has become much easier thanks to an array of brands making understated, tasteful bike kit, some of those same folks are making casual, off the bike gear that will keep you looking cooler than the other side of the pillow, while keeping you warm as summer gives way to autumn. So, in an effort to keep it casual, we offer three options from three of the best kit producers at the moment.
Café du Cycliste Genevieve Pullover
It’s tough to top the class that just seems to drip from the kit that this French outfit is crafting in the French Riviera. Café du Cycliste combines French fashion sense with highly tuned technical performance wear, and they bring that panache to this classic off-the-bicycle piece. The Breton stripe came to French fashion way back in 1858. La marinière, as the design was called, became the uniform of the French sailors stationed in Brittany. It has since become high fashion thanks to Coco Chanel, and the likes of Picasso, James Dean, Bridget Bardot and Audrey Hepburn. This Merino blend version of the Breton pullover from Café du Cycliste has a heft to it that challenges the chilly mornings of autumn to do their worst. It’s really a gorgeous sweater and among the sharpest looking off-the-bike garments we’ve seen in a long time.
CHPT3 Organic Vertlock Sweatshirt
The folks at David Millar’s CHPT3 may not care much for vowels, but they do indeed appreciate the necessity and timelessness of the cotton sweatshirt. The flecked green color of CHPT3’s version is called scarab green—a favorite of the pharaohs—and the organic cotton is spun with fifteen percent polyester to make sure that the shape and cut of the sweatshirt don’t give way in the laundry. The design is a vertical rendition of the CHPT3 logo and gives the sweatshirt its name. While the technical fabrics have come to dominate modern workout wear, the cotton sweatshirt still has its place in your wardrobe’s repertoire. While you may not be chasing chickens or sprinting up the local museum stairs, this responsibly made sweatshirt from CHPT3 with great logo placement and a super soft feel is a great choice for cooling down, grabbing a beer post ride or even just watching Rocky.
Ornot Merino Sweatshirt
The folks at Ornot take timelessness and throw some tech at it with their take on the casual Merino sweatshirt. Most regular garments, wool or otherwise, are made from what is known in the fabric industry as “intimate blends.” Intimate blending weaves two (or more) materials together, maximizing the positives of each material, and minimizing the downsides. This is no regular sweatshirt thanks to Polartec Power Wool: a unique bi-component plated knit construction that places only high quality Merino on the inside, and synthetic on the outside. What this does is harness the natural powers of wool, while solving for its shortcomings. Wool is naturally best next to skin (feels cool when it’s warm out, feels warm when it’s cool out, moves moisture in a vapor state, is naturally antimicrobial). Adding synthetic plating on the outside drastically improves durability, shape retention, and dry-times. It also looks fresh both on and off the bicycle, has a little jersey style pocket and comes in two colorways.