Every bike commuter wrestles with the same question: Do I dress for form or function?
I have a seven mile commute to class. Not exactly the Tour de France, but it’s far enough to work up a sweat. It’s also far enough that wearing denim is miserable, especially when I’m climbing the long, steep hill at the end of my ride.
For a while I tried just biking in my bibs and packing a change of clothes. But with my laptop, textbooks, u-lock, and lunch already in my bag, there just isn’t room for anything else. Even if I upgraded to a bigger bag, I don’t think my back could take it.
Next I tried dressing like a proper grad student and biked to class for a whole semester in slim-cut khakis. It was a fairly comfortable ride, but the Dockers just weren’t cut out for the grime of the open road. They showed everything and were awful in wet conditions.
Enter Outlier, a company dedicated to making fashionable clothes for bike commuters (or anyone with an active lifestyle). They have a great line of different technical riding plants, all made in the USA with a special Swiss 4Season fabric. The Nylon, Polyester, Elastane blend is very water resistent and features a four-way stretch that makes riding a breeze.
I’ve been wearing my Climbers in a variety of conditions for 2 months now, and I can’t imagine life with out them. On my bike it feels like wearing a bib (minus the padding), but when I’m out of the saddle they wear like a normal pair of slacks. A coworker only noticed they were a stretch fabric when I bent down to pick something off the ground.
They layer well with thermal underwear for below freezing conditions, and on warmer days they are incredibly breathable. In drizzly conditions they stay very dry. I got them thoroughly soaked in a downpour recently and was pleased to see they were dry in under an hour. That’s also a nice feature considering I hang dry all of my clothes.
The Climbers have an outdoorsy, granola look to them. People with desk jobs might want to stick with the OGs, which are a little more classic. Either way, if you’re a bike commuter and you don’t have a pair of Outliers, you’re seriously missing out.