For our next topic in the 'On a Fixie' Series, I will be diving right into clothing. That's right... knickers, man-pres as I prefer to call them. Now, before we get into things I'll admit, my knickers are a normal part of my bike attire and am fortunate enough to be able to get away with wearing them at work.
Sure I get interesting looks from customers when they notice them and yes, I'll probably look back on pictures of me 15 to 20 years from now and say... well, at least it's not neon.
My experience with knicker consists of two different brands. Chrome and Wig, there are number of other companies that offer knickers from Portland Cyclewear or Bicycle Fixation which I hope to one day try both of them to really compare more of them. But for now, the Chrome and Wig brand knicker I believe give enough of review on different takes.
The first pair of knickers I had, I recruited my old roommates girlfriend/now wife to alter an old pair of jeans. It worked but really hasn't gotten much ride time because I invested in the Chrome knickers very shortly there after.
So you might be wondering... why knickers in the first place? Well, they are the best 'casual' rider clothing for cycling. Being a commuter, I don't want to lyrca up just to head to work or get a coffee. I get strange enough looks with my MTB shoes on when I'm cruising around the mall or coffee shop. The first thing that becomes an issue when riding 'casually' is the annoyance ones pant leg getting pulled into the drive train, either staining or tearing the pant leg. Simple solution, cut off the part of the pant that isn't needed so it won't get in the way.
I have found that knickers are perfect for commuting. for warmth on the cooler days and a normal look in the summer months. Most companies offer different summer/winter options. Wool always wins, but I suggest them more for the cooler months of course.
But won't I look like a fool? Yes and no, but you're original. By wearing knickers, it's almost an easy way for people to ask, why you're riding? And then we can continue this little revolution and maybe get another person to consider cycling.
Wait, isn't this a Fixie series? I'll admit none of my reasoning has really explained the fascination with knickers and fixies. Answer. For the hipster, it's either knickers or girl pants. =) Knickers start to look a heck of a lot better considering those 2 choices.
Why Chrome? Well, the price is a bit scary. 140 bones. But it's got a number of things going for them, US of A made, 4 way stretch, excellent sized pockets, and the real sealer... a 'lightly padded chamois', not noticeable when wearing them around when off the bike but very noticeable and appreciated when on the saddle.
Why Wig? $57 online... $65 at a certain shop. This is a great two person operation out of Chi-town. Wendy is the main contact there and shes extremely easy to work with. The Wig knickers are altered standard issue army pants. With reinforced knees and seat. The pockets can hold a u-lock and are extremely comfortable. Of course, they don't have the built in padding but bag for your buck, you can't beat them. I have both the black and green pairs.
Another great thing I've found a use for them is during pre and post race attire. I wore a pair during my warm up lap at the cross race this weekend and we perfect for post race hanging out. Extremely easy to get in and out of, and there is no struggle getting feet through. Not to mention I might be sporting a pair for Trans Iowa. We'll see.
One of the regulars on the Saturday Rides made it to the big time, R2 as he's been referred to in past posts got his Masi on fixedgeargallery.com... check it.