October 22, 2011
Technical cycling apparel is never mandatory for touring, but it can make the miles go by a little more comfortably. As usual, this year's Interbike show was full of apparel companies showing off a wide range of styles, intended for numerous audiences. Since I prefer to put my money into my bikes and tours, any time I look at clothing I put a strong emphasis on durability. Here are some items that not only function well for touring, but will keep you covered for the long haul.
Showers Pass Portland Jacket: Available in both men's and women's cut, the Portland Jacket is really versatile. The jacket is made of a soft waterproof fabric, and it has zippered pit and sleeve vents for those warm rains. In back, a reflective flap drops down to provide full coverage when you are leaning forward on the bike; it buttons up to look more like a regular jacket for when you're walking around.
Club Ride Apparel: If you're not a fan of tight fitting cycling jerseys, you might want to take a look at what Club Ride has to offer. They use technical fabrics that wick moisture well, but cut them into styles that look pretty casual. I'm a big fan of their western styles, but they also offer more traditional plain and plaid options.
De Marchi: I love the feel of wool, especially as the fall chill sets in. De Marchi has both Merino wool and synthetic blend jerseys in some cool throwback designs. If you're proud of your heritage and want to show it, they have some cool national team jerseys (my favorite being the Belgian national team), along with old cycling team replica jerseys.
Darn Tough Socks: If we're talking about rugged cycling apparel, it would be a shame not to mention Darn Tough of Vermont. Their run/bike series of socks feature reinforced toes and heels, so you won't be blowing them out any time soon. And the 1/4 sock mesh design has a mesh top for good ventilation.
TOURING GEAR AND TIPS is written by Joshua Tack of Adventure Cycling's member services department. It appears weekly, highlighting technical aspects of bicycle touring and advice to help better prepare you for the journey ahead.