As the days grow longer and the trees begin to show signs of new life, racing and outdoor riding will be upon us before we know it. In anticipation of dusting off the helmets and lubing chains, I have put together a short list of some of our newer apparel and accessories to get you rolling outside and feeling the wind in your face again. For a fresh perspective, this list is somewhat specific for the lady cyclists out there, an often overlooked demographic. However, bear in mind that all of the items in this list are either unisex or available in a men’s equivalent.
Giro’s high end lace up road shoe, the women’s Empire ACC, delivers performance, comfort, and style. Off the bat, this shoe comes in as one of the lightest road shoes (215 grams) available specifically for women. The Easton EC90 carbon sole is stiff and responsive and effectively transfers power to your pedal stroke. The lace up system allows for a nice snug and flexible fit, giving you the ability to tighten and loosen where needed. The sleek upper of the shoe is smooth and simple in design with perforated ventilation and Giro’s logo in a subtle opalescent color. As someone who constantly struggles to keep warm, I enjoy the more minimal ventilation this shoe offers, as opposed to mesh uppers on some shoes. While the material is breathable and perforated for air flow, it prevents the wind from hitting your toes on long descents and brisk spring mornings.
This Italian-made road helmet effortlessly transitions through the seasons, and is incontrovertibly a shop favorite. The KASK Protone boasts sleek aerodynamics, incredible ventilation, and outstanding comfort on nearly every head shape. KASK pays great attention to the finishing details on their helmets, such as the leather chin strap on the Protone which lends itself well to a comfortable and easily adjustable fit. You can rest easily knowing your head is in good hands. Additionally, the Protone comes in a variety of colors to coordinate with any kit or bicycle, though I’m partial to this subtle and classy matte navy blue.
Quality sunglasses can make or break a ride, and Oakley’s new EVZero frame-less sunglasses are first class. These sunglasses are lightweight and comfortable and provide excellent UV protection. The deeper lens increases coverage and the earsocks fit nicely around helmet straps. On sunny days, the darker Prizm Road lens enhances contrast and detail while blocking the rays so you can see easily in bright light. On overcast days or riding on the trails, the Prizm Trail lens increases contrast and excels in changing conditions such as passing cloud cover and riding in and out of the trees. We carry both of these among a selection of other sunglasses in store, so come in to ‘see’ for yourself.
When your ride calls for an emergency layer or you start your ride in cooler weather, the Velocio Women’s Ultralight Vest provides that added protection in a compact package. This vest can be stuffed into a saddle bag or in a jersey pocket and won’t weigh you down. It is a great piece to have on hand when you summit a climb and face chilling winds on the descent. The no-frills design is efficient and effective when you need it the most. The back of the vest features a mesh panel to wick sweat and prevent you from overheating, and the dark blue color goes with everything.
Bib shorts are relatively new territory for many women in cycling, but let me tell you, the comfort of bibs instead of shorts trumps all. All I wear now is bib shorts. The Assos Lady’s T.Laalalai s7 bib short pulls out all the stops to make a high quality bib with a clasp fastener in the front. The fastener facilitates pulling the straps over your head so women can easily use the facilities on a ride without having to wrestle with their kit. Additionally, the chamois is ergonomically shaped for a woman’s body. One of Assos’s best qualities is their use of luxurious fabrics and well-sewn seams strategically placed to avoid any sort of chafing or rubbing. The fabrics they use feel so soft and smooth against the skin, and the cut is flattering on everyone, and I do mean everyone. This bib short can easily transition from cooler weather paired with knee or leg warmers into summer riding.
A great way to get in the spirit of warmer weather riding is to ditch the Merino wool socks and try out these wonderfully soft compression-style socks from Giro. The Giro HRC Team sock is great for everything from casual riding to aggressive racing. It comes in a variety of colors, both flashy and classic, to please any cyclist. I love the 6 inch cuff because it doesn’t fall down into my shoe and leaves some very flattering sock tan lines when I’ve been riding in the sun.
Check out our full inventory of apparel and accessories in store or online and get out there and enjoy the sun!
– Contender Bicycles