In February of this year I became a (nearly) full-time bike commuter – with a scant 2.5 miles from the front door of our apartment to the front door of my office building. Cool weather and an easy commute meant that it was no problem to bike in work attire, save for the wear and tear my Brooks saddle contributed to work pants (but that;s another story).
Fast forward to May, and I found myself signing mortgage papers on a home in northern Baltimore, increasing the commute to between 6 and 7 miles, depending on route and traffic considerations. I tried biking in full work attire for a few days, then switching to baggy shorts an open shirt, before finally realizing that there was no way around it – if I wanted to appear somewhat acceptable in the office, I would need to commute in bike clothing, and change in the office.
No big deal right? Well, mostly – except that I didn’t want to become *that guy*. You know the one. Tight spandex shorts and an awfully garish and poorly fitting top. Showing off lots of parts you don’t need your coworkers to know about. How do you walk down the hallway dressed like that, then expect to pull a full Superman to Clark Kent conversion in the bathroom and expect any sort of respect for the rest of the day?
Fortunately a lot of my biking wardrobe already meets the “subdued and casual” look – few logos, simple colors, baggy to trim fitting – nothing intended to draw attention. But a few new pieces of clothing never hurt – and I was pretty excited when the folks at Road Holland asked me to try out one of their new jerseys. I already owned one of their long-sleeve jerseys, and was familiar with the brand and their general aesthetic – athletic, retro, classic, stylish. That sounds like a good mix to me. And yes – when a whole gaggle of coworkers stormed out of an elevator I was waiting to get into – I didn’t run away and hide. No weird looks or anything from the bunch! Dare I say – a bike jersey that might be flattering on somebody who isn’t stick thin?!
The first thing I noticed about the jersey is the material – a 61% Poly / 39% Merino Wool – very soft to the touch, and feels great when wearing. The fit was trim, but not clingy. My experience is that 100% wool either seems to get saggy or to be very clingy – not the case with this jersey. The full zip (my preference) is a nice touch, and importantly the zipper doesn’t bulge out or lay weirdly like some other manufacturers. On rides into work, with temperatures still in the 70s the jersey feels great, but on the way home with the heat in the 90s and heavy humidity the jersey hasn’t felt gross, but it did get a waterlogged with sweat. Bonus – the wool does seem to keep the “grunge” factor down if it is worn a second or third time before washing (yes, I’ll admit to that, but only for testing purposes).
Sure, the price isn’t bargain basement, but these jerseys are are made in the USA, by regular down-to-earth folks with a passion for having fun while cycling. And to be honest, compared to a lot of other small- to small-ish volume manufacturers of quality cycling apparel, I think they are on the low end of the pricing scale.
Thanks Road Holland for making me an ambassador. If anyone wants more information about my experience with their clothing, send me a message! Also – they’ve got an end-of-summer sale going on right now – some really great deals!