Another Kickstarter – Sassy Cyclist

I first saw, and loved, Sassy Cyclist women’s bicycle jerseys at the National Forum on Women & Bicycles this past March, so when owner Becky Redett approached me last week and asked me if I’d share their Kickstarter, I said, “Of course!”

Love the Sassy Cyclist flow chart at the National Forum on Women & Bicycles!

Sassy Cyclist is a local business, out of Baltimore, MD, designed by women who love riding their bicycles, and who wanted more beautiful jerseys than they could find. I haven’t tried one on, so I can’t speak to the fit and fabric from first hand knowledge. Honestly, it’s the luscious prints that draw me to the jerseys. I’m completely in love with the “In Pursuit of Peonies” jersey – floral print, plum and raspberry… yes, this has my name written all over it. In Pursuit of Peonies Sassy Cyclist JerseySpecial touches that make me appreciate their jerseys even beyond just looks – the clothing measurements they use are intended to correlate more with regular clothing sizing, and they jerseys are cut a bit more relaxed than traditional skin-tight bike jerseys; AND each jersey has a reflective strip going down the entire center back. The hems are elastic-free, hallelujah, and I love the raglan sleeve look. I pretty much assume that any bike clothing company is going to use 4-way stretch, antimicrobial wicking fabric, and having them made in the USA is a nice touch, but what really sells me on these are the fabrics. They are floral but somehow, not too “shrink it and pink it.” Adding blue sleeves to the “Queen of the Road” jersey’s bold red flowers really makes it pop. Sassy Cyclist Queen of the Road

Now Becky has launched a Kickstarter to get her vision off the ground. If I hadn’t just supported Reid Miller’s Kickstarter, I would probably get a short sleeved “In Pursuit of Peonies” jersey, to inspire me to dust off my road bike. Instead, I encourage you, Dear Readers, to check out Sassy Cyclist and support them if you can (or at least follow the company on Twitter). It’s not an easy task, putting your heart and soul and bank account into a product you believe it, and I wish them luck. And I know that I will be mad with jealousy when I see one of these beautiful jerseys out on the roads and trails! Will that person be you? Capture

In Which I Try on Reid Miller Apparel

Last week, Washington DC favorite bike shop Bicycle Space in Adams Morgan hosted an evening for Reid Miller Apparel, so we could go try on the pieces from her Kickstarter collection. Naturally, I was eager to go, and carefully plotted out my Capital Bikeshare route to Adams Morgan. I hadn’t been to the new location, and boy was it beautiful! Bicycle Space Adams MorganReid was there with her display set up right in front, when I arrived, already helping some women try on the tweed blazers.

I’m a sucker for tweed, I confess (raised on BBC murder mysteries. Jeremy Brett is still my god), and I love that Reid is using Harris Tweed for her tweed jacket.

Mmmm... Harris Tweed...

Mmmm… Harris Tweed…

Reid Miller 4

Don’t I look like I should be biking through fall leaves, on my way to pick apples and my Halloween pumpkin?

Even though wearing wool makes my skin itch like  you wouldn’t believe, I tried on everything – the tweed blazer, the merino wool waffle sweater, and the jeans. I love them all – but can only wear the jeans. So please take my comments with a grain of salt – if you love biking in wool, you will love these pieces! Reid Miller 10 Reid Miller 11The jacket is cut large so that it will fit over whatever bulky sweater and scarf you might be wearing, and the sleeves are long, to accommodate your wrists as you reach for the handlebars. I love the zipped pockets, especially the one in the center back. The waffle weave merino sweater is lovely – squishy textured wool in three lovely fall colors; I gravitated towards the burgundy, which coordinated quite well with the purple Danskos I was wearing. I love waffle weave anything, because I like the texture, and this was just thick and sturdy and clearly high quality wool. A classic that I’m sure you’ll return to again and again.

I love the jeans. The sizing and fit survey that Reid sent out earlier this year resulted in this, a pair of skinny jeans that are cut more generously for women with cycling thighs and calves. Several of us tried them on, and we all looked good in them, standing next to each other. The waist is high in the back, and dips slightly in the front – not enough to catch the pooch (not that any of us have that, right?), but not crazy high. The legs are really long, which I love – this means I don’t *have* to cuff the legs to make it less obvious that they are not long enough. The denim is stretchy yet somehow sturdy at the same time, and the fit, well, I was really in love with the fit. I have both the Ligne 8 jeans and the Levi’s Commuter jeans, and I like these better. They are not as tight-skinny as the Levi’s, which ironically I rarely wear while biking because they are too tight. They are stretchier denim than the Ligne 8, and the cut of the waist is more flattering than the Ligne 8s as well. There isn’t any reflective trim on them, but you know me – I almost always have something reflective on anyway, so no loss there.  Oh yes, the jeans also have a reinforced crotch. These jeans I just might wear so often that this feature becomes useful!

There are only a few days left for Reid’s Kickstarter campaign. The garments are expensive, but will last for years of bicycle riding. The jeans are made in El Paso, TX, where my brother and sister-in-law live, which was another reason I backed them (not that either work in the garment industry, but still, it helps their city’s economy); the sweaters in Los Angeles, and the jacket in San Jose, Costa Rica (I can only imagine what they must think of the heavy tweed!). I have my fingers crossed for the continued success of Reid Miller and her apparel line! It’s nice to have one more woman thinking of things women might want when they ride their bicycles, and then try to bring them to the market. I heard whispers of Spring garments and hope to see those out soon too. I wish her well, and look forward to biking around this fall in my Reid Miller jeans!

Good luck, Reid!

Twinsies! Good luck, Reid!

 

 

ICYMI: Reid Miller Apparel on Kickstarter

There’s another bike fashion line in town! Reid Miller Apparel has recently launched on Kickstarter, and Reid will be in Washington, DC, in a few weeks to showcase her line. I’m excited about this line because I met Reid at the National Forum on Women & Bicycling this past March and we talked about the fit of women’s clothing. She conducted a survey on women’s bicycling clothing this spring, complete with detailed measurements, because she knows that the average woman isn’t actually shaped like a fashion model – you can read her thoughts on this here. I don’t know how many responses she got from her measurements, but I hope mine skewed the average on the fuller size. Skinny jeans for not skinny legs? Yes please!

Reid has created three pieces of clothing for her first collection, basics that many women will want in their wardrobe as classics for years to come – jeans, a crew neck sweater, and a tweed blazer – and pieces that can be worn together and stand on their own.

Although I don’t need another pair of bicycle jeans, I want to try these on because I know how much research she’s done on fit and sizing, and has designed skinny jeans that aren’t cut for skinny women (Levi’s Commuter Jeans, I’m looking at you). Also, I really like the stitch detailing on the back pockets. The jeans have a high waist in the back and a reinforced crotch, and are a nice classic dark denim. RMA-112 RMA-113 (1)The sweater looks lovely – except that I can’t wear wool (and before you ask, *yes* I have tried on cashmere and *yes* I have tried on merino and *yes* I’m old enough to know that wearing wool drives me nuts because it is SO ITCHY and I can feel it through linings). I know what many people who bike love wearing wool because it is natural, moisture-wicking and doesn’t hold the stink the way many tech fabrics do. And I love that she chose to go with a waffle weave for some texture. I’m all about texture. Actually, I really love that burgundy color and could see myself wearing that a lot. RMA-070 (3) RMA-081 (4)The most gorgeous piece, however, is the tweed blazer. I have such a weakness for tweed blazers! This one will last forever, because it is made with Harris Tweed, the king of tweeds. Only woven in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, this fabric is worth it’s weight in gold. Smart to create a blazer out of this. Even smarter, though, are some of the bike-friendly details in the coat: longer sleeves, center back box pleat for movement, extra buttons in front to snuggle against the cold and wind, zip pockets in the front, and I especially love the center back pocket – brilliant! RMA-047 (2)I want to try this on as well, because I want to see how it’s lined. Luckily I will soon get a chance to! Reid is doing a trunk show at Bicycle Space, one of the best bike shops in Washington, DC. I haven’t been to the Adams Morgan location yet, which is where the trunk show will be, so I’ll get to cross off another thing from my to-do list. That will be on Thursday, August 13, from 7-9pm, so if you are in the area, come join us! If not, look for a write-up afterwards.

If you don’t need to wait for my thoughts after seeing these pieces in person, get thee to the Kickstarter and pick your prize! There are a range of options (I want the handkerchief just because I like the design), from smaller support amounts to all three pieces at once. The Kickstarter page also has information about the production of each piece, her production timeline, and stretch goals. I’d really love to see what she has up her sleeve for the Spring 2016 line, so let’s help her get there! RMA-090 (1)All photos courtesy of Reid Miller

 

Product Preview: Bicycle Wrap Skirt

I really had planned on being able to do a more in-depth review of this fun skirt, but I haven’t had the time and since the Kickstarter has now launched, I want to get something out there. So please excuse the brevity and poor quality of some of the photos. Stay tuned though! This probably won’t be the only review of this skirt!

I don’t remember exactly how I found about about Lara Neece and her company, Forest and Fin. I did buy my sister-in-law one of her tee shirts for Christmas last year, but that was *after* I read about her plans to design a Bicycle Wrap Skirt. Always interested in helping out designers, especially one doing bike fashion, I reached out to her, and we met for the first time at Northside Social, when she was in town, far away from Savannah, GA. I lured her to the Women’s Bike Summit to introduce her to some people, and have stayed in touch. At last, her Kickstarter launched this week! I’m so excited for her!

Here is Lara herself, modeling the skirt in dreamy Savannah

Here is Lara herself, modeling the skirt in dreamy Savannah

But about the skirt – It’s seriously the perfect summer bike skirt. Lara focuses on earth-friendly materials and production, and come up with a linen/cotton blend that is machine-washable. It has a high waist that is flattering on almost every woman, but the best part is the wrap. How many of you have wrap skirts and dresses that expose way more leg than you want? Yup, we’ve all been there, and some of us are not comfortable with that kind of exposure. But the Forest and Fin Bicycle Wrap Skirt wraps and wraps and wraps! So much coverage! It has some clever hidden fastenings in the hem to keep it from flying up, but it’s probably not necessary.

Wearing the Bicycle Wrap Skirt in Shepherdstown, WV

Wearing the Bicycle Wrap Skirt in Shepherdstown, WV

Other cool features include a hidden side pocket and two different lengths, a regular and a tall, which is 2″ longer. She has come up with a fun way to clip the skirt a bit on the sides, so if you don’t like the skirt fluttering around while you are biking, you can rein it in. The detachable pouch is adorable and yes, fits an iPhone 6.

More lovely Savannah shots of Forest and Fin models

More lovely Savannah shots of Forest and Fin models

Lara sent me a prototype (in the tall length) to wear on Bike to Work Day, a few weeks ago. Alas, it was a bit cooler than expected/hoped, so I had to put a jacket on over it. But I modeled it for a few women who stopped to chat. Then I wore it while I biked to several different schools around Arlington, so I had the opportunity to get some real testing done.

Then I continued to wear it when we drove to Shepherdstown, before the CASA River Ride. We took our road bikes and our commuter bikes, and scooted around town on our commuter bike, so the skirt was the perfect thing to wear that evening. Alas, we were having so much fun we didn’t get too many photos, and the ones we did get are blurry. I’m sharing them anyway, but with apologies….

Here are my initial thoughts:

  1. I love it. It’s so full that it feels romantic and summery. I love full skirts, so I’m totally a fan.
  2. As I mentioned earlier, the wrap is so full, I didn’t feel I needed any other “modesty” help, but I like the side clips and the sneaky snap tape. While biking my errands, I tried wearing it every way, unclipped, clipped, snapped and clipped… The clips do make a huge difference, since I was afraid the skirt would flap into the wheels (if I didn’t have skirt guards, at least). Looking at the photos later, I realized that the tall length is still short enough that it wouldn’t get interfere with the bike.
  3. The side pocket is great, and I love the little pouch, but I’m not sure I’d wear that too often. I usually always have a purse or at least my front basket to carry stuff.
  4. The tall length was perfect on me; I wouldn’t want it shorter. But it would be super cute shorter, as well. (I think it made my legs look good!)
  5. I wore my Bikie Girl Bloomers under this, but they really aren’t necessary. I never worried that it would blow up. I just like to wear “bloomers.”
  6. If you live anywhere that is humid in the summer, this is the garment for you!
  7. I support Lara’s sustainability goals, and want to support this product in part because of that. I know it’s being made in this country, with eco-friendly fabrics and dyes, and they will donate part of the post-Kickstarter profiles to ocean and forest conservation organizations. Part of practicing what you preach. I say Amen!

I’m not getting paid to say this, but I strongly encourage you to head on over to the Bicycle Wrap Skirt Kickstarter page and pre-order now! Forest and Fin Bicycle Wrap Skirt Press Photo 2