- For most mountain bikers, baggies are better.
- But you want to look like you are going riding, not going to the beach.
- And that's where Velocio's considered design, comes into it.
I turned 40 recently. A pivotal age for cyclists. Especially mountain bikers.
As you enter that fourth decade, you decouple from the anxiety of needing to be fashionable. I'm not. And will never be.
Clothing is purely functional to me. It needs to be comfy. And last. Especially outdoors. And specifically, when I am riding.
Mountain biking is tough on fabrics and stitching. All that material compression and stretching when you pedal and move on the bike, descending singletrack at speed. If a riding top or shorts are poorly designed, you'll chafe. And they'll ruin after a season.
As with most things in cycling, you get what you pay for. But there is premium gear that looks awful, despite using quality fabric.
The value of a proper riding baggy
Vermont cycling brand, Velocio, gets it right. I've spent most of the winter and spring in its trail shorts and Delta long sleeve top.
Unless you are a top ten finisher at most amateur events, it's pointless to mountain bike in a lycra bib. And at 40, I am tragically aware of the misery that middle-aged men in lycra bring to family outdoor venues and coffee shops, on weekends. I choose not to be one of them.
The benefits of riding in baggy shorts are plentiful. Regardless of build, you'll look better. And be served by zipped pockets for your phone, keys and credit card.
Velocio's trail short is classified as a slim baggy. That means it doesn't sit like a pair of boardshorts, which is often the case with many rival mountain bike clothing brands.
Zip pockets for the Smartphone win
Italian professionals have been making and milling textiles for centuries. Velocio respects this and sources a four-way stretch 115gsm fabric from MecTex, in the Como region of Lombardy.
The trail shorts have a great fit. Even after months of rainy and muddy rides, with pockets carrying a Smartphone and tools, there is no fabric sag.
A note on pockets. Velcro doesn't work. It goes to ruin in the mud and rain.Zips are superior and the Velocio trail shorts use proven YKK zippers from Japan.
The pockets are also generously shaped to accommodate large Smartphones, such as an iPhone 8Plus.
Keeping warm, cool and being sun smart
Paired with the Velocio trail shorts, is the Delta long sleeve top. I prefer a long-sleeved jersey year-round, beyond its traditional usefulness in mitigating winter chill, on those early or late rides.
Although it's made from recycled polyester (a green tick for Velocio's product sustainability), the use of PolarTech's Delta fabric creates a garment that is soft to the touch. And terrifically adaptable, in its thermal properties.
After a few rides on very cool mornings, I quickly gained adequate confidence in the Delta top to stop bothering with a base layer.
Conversely, it runs cool enough to be used on a hot day, delivering that crucial UV shielding on the forearms without being poorly ventilated.
Great kit is worth the price
You can ride a R200 000 carbon-fibre dual-suspension mountain bike with the best wireless drivetrain, but if your attire is uncomfortable, the experience is greatly diminished.
Velocio is a rider owned brand. And it shows in the dynamic performance and fit of its gear. It also happens to look good. So people tell me.
All I know is that I feel a very comfortable and inconspicuous 40-year old mountain biker in Velocio gear. And that's a good thing.