Ride a bike, share your experience and love. When I go biking, I repeat a mantra of the day's sensations: bright sun, blue sky, warm breeze, blue jay's call, ice melting and so on. This helps me transcend the traffic, ignore the clamorings of work, leave all the mind theaters behind and focus on nature instead. I still must abide by the rules of the road, of biking, of gravity. But I am mentally far away from civilization. The world is breaking someone else's heart. ~Diane Ackerman

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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Cold Weather Wear, Bib Tights / Knickers

Saturday I rode up GMR to Mount Baldy and the temperature read 42 degrees on the US Bank electronic sign in La Verne.  Damn it was cold!  I was marginally prepared.  I had my trusted wool socks, full finger GORE Windstopper gloves, a skull cap, long sleeve baselayer and long sleeve jersey.  I was prepared enough, yet the 42 degrees and headwind in the shadows kept me cold, alert and a bit more uncomfortable than I like to be.

As I headed to the base of Glendora Mountain Road many things crossed my mind, “It’s cold, I am cold, and why am I doing this?” was the main theme of my thoughts. Last year, during this time, I pondered the notion of getting tights.  I remember this well because I spent countless visits to my LBS checking them out.

I live in Southern California and more often than not, the weather is amazing!  However, I do ride early, typically on the road by 6 am.  It’s cold at 6 am, and the older I get, my tolerance level to cold weather gets less and less.  

Back to tights. Last year I pondered the idea of buying tights.  I have regular shorts and leg warmers and this combo has worked for many years of riding.  The pros are, I can shed the leg warmers as the temperature rises.  They are also a low cost solution as tights can reach the $200 to $500 range (Think Rapha and Assos). The cons are, I rarely take my leg warmers off while riding, storing them sucks because I have only so many pockets and leg warmers have a tendency to droop.  Also, if you are traveling to a meet up point, they are another item you need to pack or “forget” to pack.

Today (11/30/14), I bought a bunch of Christmas gifts online and while surfing I headed to PerformanceBike.com.  “What can I buy for me?!!”  My cold Saturday ride to Mount Baldy was still fresh in my mind and I found myself looking at tights.  Performance Bike has great deals in general and I decided upon, Castelli Ergo Bib Knickers for 109.99 less 25% off.  Castelli makes great cycling apparel but I wasn’t sure.  These technically aren’t tights but rather ¾ bibs.  The Castelli Egro Bib Tights were the same price and both ended up in my “cart”. Decisions, decisions, which to keep and which to remove from my cart.

Before hitting “Proceed to Checkout” I opened up two additional tabs, one for Rapha and another for the Competitive Cyclist.

We all know Rapha, and their awesome, stylish and pricey apparel.  I found Rapha’s Classic Winter Tights for $260.00.  They were everything I wanted. A chic brand name that will get me copious amounts of EBO (Maslow's esteemed by others) on my group rides, they were stylish and I’m sure at $260.00 the fit would be second to none. After all the reasons WHY I should buy them, I decided against it.  Bottom line, too much money and truthfully my bicycle friends wouldn’t be able to fully appreciate them since I spend most of my time picking up the rear and hanging on to the group for dear life!

Since Rapha was out of the question, I headed over to Competitive Cyclist and found Assos LL.Uno Bib Tight for $248.99.  Assos is a Switzerland brand clothing company whose apparel is extremely expensive.  With the hefty price tag you get, well you get to be the best dressed award among the your friends.  Unfortunately, if you’re going to rock Assos, you also need to have the bike, car, bike accessories, hot girlfriend and/or wife and job to back it up.  You should also be able to ride at the front of the pack as well but bike, car girlfriend/wife and job will make up for it.  

With all that said I didn’t buy the Castelli, Rapha or Assos.  At the last minute, I emptied my shopping cart and decided, if I was going to spend that type of dough, I should head down to my LBS.  Besides it’s Small Business Weekend, and supporting my LBS Incycle was a great alternative to all the online shopping I already did today.

There are a few Incycle Bike Shops in Southern California. My go to shop is in San Dimas.  Incycle recently relocated about 100 feet away from their original location.  Their new shop is beautiful, huge and packed with all types of eye candy. $10K bikes from S-Works, to Colnago to Pinarello and a wall of high end wheelsets.

This is the second time I’ve been in their new shop but everything is laid out well.  A quick scan and I was headed to the clothing section.  Their clothing section is small compared to all the bikes they have in the store.  An employee quickly asked if I needed help and I asked to see their tights.  He lead me to a rather meek selection of tights and I asked if he had anymore.  Unfortunately he said no and that their isn’t much demand.  I get it, it’s Southern California.

Lucky me, they had a limited assortment of brands like Sugoi, Pearl Izumi, and my personal favorite Specialized, and all of them were on sale!  I always have great luck with Specialized accessories and clothing so I decided on their ¾ Knickers.  They were $40.00, so I saved a ton from shopping online and I am supporting my favorite LBS.

I am very pleased with my purchase since I finally pulled the trigger on the tights/knickers I’ve been looking for since the fall/winter of 2013.  I hope my new knickers will add an additional layer of comfort on my cold morning rides.  I will give a ride report and review later.

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