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Race Face Taperlock Cycling Jeans
Cycling without Lycra?
Recently I had a kind of intellectual breakthrough about cycling: It occurred to me that it might be possible to cycle without lycra.
This was an idea so utterly unorthodox and daring that it almost scared me, but I decided to man up and give it a shot. After all, history shows it has been done before …
My first attempt involved an all-day downtown business meeting. I thought how cool it would be to NOT have to carry business clothes all the way downtown in my panniers. So I cycled 15 km to my meeting in dress pants, dress shirt and smartly polished dress shoes. My only concession to the fact that I was on a bike was to wrap a band around my right shin (to keep my pants from getting trapped in my chain).
To my amazement, it worked perfectly! I might have been slightly slower and statelier, but I got there, and I enjoyed the ride. And I loved being able to just take off my helmet (and the shin strap) and stroll into my meeting. And get out of there like greased lighting at the end of the day …
However, it did occur to me that my dress pants would not stand up to that kind of use on a daily basis. They were just cotton Arnold Palmers, and obviously not designed to do anything more adventurous than sit in a car or on a chair. So I started looking around for options. I found some pretty expensive online options, but decided not to risk spending a fortune on mail order pants that might not fit.
Affordable Cycling Jeans at MEC
But I did find a really interesting option at Mountain Equipment Co-op. Cycling jeans for around $70, made by Race Face (Race Face Taperlock jeans). They actually looked pretty cool – apart from a somewhat dorky pattern on one of the back pockets – so I got a pair and tried them out.
Cycling Jeans that Stretch with You!
I love these cycling jeans. They look good, according to my wife, who NEVER lies about these things – on the contrary, she tends to be brutally honest. As in “You’re not really going out in those droopy-butt pants, are you?”
Better yet, these cycling jeans feel good. The minute I put them on I want to start doing squats, because I feel like I can do anything in them. I manage to resist that stupid urge, but I totally enjoy cycling in them. It’s almost as comfy as cycling in lycra.
And the chief benefit is that when you get wherever you’re going, you’re not wearing lycra – you’re just in jeans, like a regular person.
Cycling Jeans that are as Tough as Bruce
My workplace lets us wear jeans on Fridays, so of course I’ll be wearing my cycling jeans to work every Friday from now on. And I think I’ll be doing it for a long time – because unlike the Arnold Palmer pants, these cycling jeans feel as tough as Bruce Willis in Die Hard.
Details, Details, Details
These Race Face Taperlock cycling jeans have this nifty system where you can button up the bottom of the right leg, to avoid close encounters of the falling-down kind with your bicycle chain. But I’m not crazy about how that system works for me, so I reverted to my trusty florescent shin strap. And of course I wasn’t crazy about the patterned rear pocket either.
On the other hand, one of the butt pockets is zippered, so you could keep your keys safely in them (and your wallet if it was small enough). And you can wear a regular belt with these cycling jeans as well. In short, they’re just like regular jeans, only better.
Ever Wondered what a Gusset is?
I never have … until I started researching cycling pants that are NOT lycra. Race Face Taper Lock cycling jeans come with a gusset. It turns out that a gusset is a triangular piece of fabric inserted into a seam to add width, so as to reduce stress from tight-fitting clothing. So basically at the crotch of the cycling jeans there is a triangle of material, instead of seams. So what, you say?
Well, the brilliant point is that there is plenty of space for your bits, and no uncomfortable seams digging into them. Best invention since bicycles, I’d say …
Also, although I only found Race Face Taperlock cycling jeans for men, my wife liked them so much she brought a pair too – and found that they work just as well for women.
Bottom line on Race Face Taper Lock Cycling Jeans
These jeans are a great alternative to lycra, and something I will be wearing for a long, long time to come. Perfect for the cyclist who wants to just be able to hop on a bike and go, without planning it like a military operation.
UPDATE: It’s come to my attention that these cycling jeans are now incredibly hard to find. Check out Bike to Work Pants to find some alternatives.