Upright Cyclist is a Boulder-based apparel brand with a clear cut mission, “To design functional commuting apparel and accessories that perform like bike clothes when called upon, but look and feel like everyday clothes.” In other words, these are real clothes for people who ride bikes, not cycling apparel that looks like everyday street wear. Although these items were just released publicly last week, I’ve had samples for two months. Here are my impressions.
The Lakeshore Jacket looks and feels like a high-end workwear jacket. It’s built from cotton-blend Cordura, a fabric that’s tough enough to be used on a backpack, but designed to look and feel good as apparel. The jacket features stretchable nylon side panels for breathability and flexibility, wind-blocking interior panels, and a two-way zipper that allows for ventilation options.
Though it looks tough enough for the job site, the Lakeshore jacket is undeniably designed for cycling. The sleeves and tail are cut long for reaching forward, and the pockets, especially the breast pockets, are designed for on the bike access. The sleeves feature hidden cuffs that help seal out the cold, and if you’re not the tallest guy on the block you can cuff the ends of the sleeves inward.
The jacket is cut reasonably loose, but not as generously as most workwear, as to still look stylish and modern. In my experience it’s been just right for the fall weather when paired with a lightweight top, and with proper layering I expect to get a fair amount of use out of it in the winter. And while it’s not a raincoat, it does have some water resistance.
The construction quality is spot on, which is not surprising considering the current state of Chinese manufacturing. I’ve got just one nit to pick with the Lakeshore Jacket, and that is the lack of a loop inside the collar for hanging. I suppose Upright Cyclist might be sending a message, though, that a $249 jacket deserves a proper hanger.
You could say that denim was the original technical fabric, and while it’s seldom seen in the athletic apparel world anymore, it’s still a pretty good choice for people who spend time in the saddle (millions of cowboys can’t be wrong).
Upright Cyclist’s 12.5 OZ Riding Denim are 100% American-made. Sewn in Los Angeles from Cone Denim woven in North Carolina, these classically styled jeans have a few bike-specific touches that set them apart from the pack. Most notably, they have a reflective stripe integrated into the inside of the lower leg. When cuffed, the reflective panel can be seen. Every time I would wear these to work, a handful of people would stop me and ask about my pants. They would usually also comment that they’re good-looking jeans.
They also feature a high rear waist to avoid that plumber’s crack look. All of the sizes come pre-hemmed for a 34” inseam. Although they’re tapered to the cuff, cutting and hemming them all the way down to a 30” inseam did not seem to have an adverse effect on the fit.
Speaking of fit, I have to say this might be the first pair of casual cycling pants that I’ve had that really seem to fit. Most are too tight, obviously designed with hipsters in mind, and a few are just too roomy, which doesn’t really work well on the bike. $119 might be a little more than you paid for your last pair of pants, but quality and American craftsmanship don’t come cheap.
Check out www.uprightcyclist.com
Photos by Jeremy J Matthews, jeremyjmatthews.virb.com