By Tracy Ross
Club Ride Transit Pant
Field Test: I wouldn’t pay $100 for a pair of fancy chinos, but I gladly would for these babies. They’re so comfortable and cool looking that when I get to work, I don’t change. They’re made of a lightweight, stretch woven fabric with a WR finish for water resistance. I saw the sprinkles bead up when I wore them to hike after I’d ridden my bike home. They also have two roomy pockets good for gum, a lip balm, and two bobby pins; a deep, zippered side pocket held my iPhone 6 (the small one). I like the back pockets, though I put nothing in them. And they were light enough that even on my 10-mile all-slightly-uphill commute home, I was cool enough even on a 80-plus-degree afternoon, and the stretch prevented pulling in the knees. They run a bit large—unless I’m just getting skinnier from all the commuting. Pair with Club Ride’s boy brief-style DamselCham ($40; clubrideapparel.com), with 3D molded triple density foam pad, for comfort, moisture transfer, and anti-chafing during two-hour rides or shorter.
Why It’s Timeless: I’ve worn the Transits religiously for months and they show no wear and tear.
Club Ride Tweet Jersey
Field Test: As far as sleeveless jerseys go, this one is about as non-jersey as it gets. Which I love, because I do not love having to live up to my outfit while on my bike. The Tweet is made of a lightweight, breathable, quick drying fabric. It has deep armholes (but not too deep), a body-hugging fit, and a small chest zipper. But it also has traditional jersey back pockets, in which I have carried my phone, a tiny reporter’s journal, a small billfold, and a piece of pumpkin bread (not concurrently). Not one item fell out, and the Tweet regulated my temperature. Meaning I didn’t arrive at work all sweaty. Which is all you should really have to ask of a commuter jersey (that could easily double as your mountain biking kit).
Why It’s Timeless: You can ride in it, and then go straight to a meeting with the kindergartener’s principal.
Pearl Izumi Women’s Barrier Convertible Jacket
Field Test: Pearl Izumi claims the Barrier is a do-anything jacket built for the pretty serious female road biker. I concur, but I also like it for my 20-mile round-trip work ride. I’ve worn it on balmy though blustery days (with the sleeves zipped off); in light, refreshing rainsqualls; and in a vicious downpour that flooded gutters. It blocked the wind from my core, kept me dry in the light rain, and wetted out in the maelstrom (but it’s not designed for those conditions). I liked the true-to-Pearl Izumi fit, which is a tad tighter than most competing brands. Direct Vent panels kept the air flowing when I was exerting, and a full-length internal draft flap sealed in warmth when I needed it. Final thought: Get this lightweight, technical jacket that easily converts to a vest if you want a two-in-one piece that’s perfect for cool-weather conditions.
Why It’s Timeless: Multilayer functionality—and cost savings—in one vital commuter wardrobe item.
Pearl Izumi W X-Alp Launch II
Field Test: Who decided that you have to use things according to what they’re designed for? (Maybe nobody…) I wear the X-Alp Launch II’s just about equally for town riding and mountain biking. They work splendidly on trail, because they have a full, carbon fiber-injected, composite shank, which transfers massive power from my legs into my bike. That same feature also gives me tons of support for steep uphill hike-a-bikes. In past mountain bike shoes, I’ve felt give between the lower and upper. The Launch II’s offer max stability, even when side-hilling. I also love the double closure system—a Velcro strap at the toe plus a Boa system across the arch. I can ride hard in these for three or four hours, and then forget to take them off, they’re that comfortable. Which is why I also wear them to commute on my “city bike.” The only knock: They somewhat resemble ’80s aerobics shoes.
Why It’s Timeless: The X-Alp Launch II is a rugged, comfortable backcountry riding shoe that easily transitions to commuting, cross-biking, and (not-too-cold) fat biking.