I love riding bikes but I don’t like to look like I ride bikes, at least not clothing-wise. Of course, because of my job, I end up just as lycra-and-logo-clad as anyone else, and I wear the stuff because I’m picky but not THAT picky. I don’t love the clothes but I’ve got them so I might as well wear them. However, I’ve long thought (and discussed) that the bike industry’s fascination with supertight, superbright clothing is a real turnoff to the many people who don’t really love that stuff.
So, imagine my joy when I got a sample package from Zoic – a newish clothing company that makes bike clothing for the real world. Nothing was super tight (except the chamois undershorts) and everything looked casual and cool; stuff you could wear around town without looking too “bikey.” I received and tried out the following:
OK, so it’s bad when the name of a product makes you cringe. “Neveah” is “heaven” backwards, and it’s what really unimaginative people name their kids these days according to STFU, Parents. I grudgingly admit that a) I’m happy these aren’t called the odious and overused product name of “Diva” and b) these shorts really do deserve the name of “heaven.” I love them. I’ve never before found a pair of baggy/nontight bike shorts that fit well but these are super great. They have adjustments on the waistband so you don’t get that gap in the back, but I didn’t really need the adjustments because the shorts are cut correctly for women. They’re a nice long length so they won’t ride up when you ride your bike, and they are completely normal looking so you can use them for hiking and hanging around town as well. Love these. They come with the RPL Essential liner (see below) which I also like. Love them!
This was my go-to all summer because I just loved it. It’s very thin so not as cushy as other chamois I have, but that didn’t seem to matter much. I didn’t experience as much chafing with this chamois as I do with others, which is always a win. This is not a liner I would wear as shorts because…it’s pretty tiny, as in, very short. It probably has a 5″ inseam and, in size small, was pretty snug so I would have felt pretty self conscious in just those little shorts. But that’s OK, cuz I had the long Neveah shorts to put over it! One super great thing about this liner is that it’s inexpensive – only $35. This is an amazing price for anything decent involving bikes.
Sick of tight jerseys with that weird array of pockets on the back? Me too. Mountain bikers rarely need those pockets; most of us ride with backpacks. The Carissa is a very cool flannel jersey with stretch-knit panels under the arms for comfort and breathability. It’s got snap closures, and is fitted but not tight.
Look familiar? Very similar to the Carissa, the Encore is the same basic idea, just has a zip closure instead of snaps.
So, this is basically just a hoody, but it’s a nice one. The length is long for comfort and it’s a lightweight fleece so it’s great for those slightly chilly but not really cold days. I admit, I wear mine more around town than I do riding bikes, but that’s the point; this clothing line can be worn in “normal” situations as well as biking ones.
All in all, I really appreciate having bike clothing options that aren’t just more of the same. If you, too, are tired of logos and funny looking spandex (it’s funny looking. Just admit it. Tight pants with a diaper sewn in – it’s never going to look good) you might want to give the Zoic line a look. There are other designs for shorts, a few capris, some skirts – lots of great stuff to choose from.