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Early this morning I took a short spin on the American M-16, because everybody needs a sneaker bike:

As I threw on some clothes and headed out the door, I realized that I was, quite by accident, clad head to toe (or at least neck to toe) in clothing that various marketing people have sent to me over the past few months because this is the only bicycle blog remaining on the Internet. (I typed that last part as a joke but now that I think about it I’m pretty sure it’s actually true.) Such is the glamorous life of the world’s last semi-professional bike blogger.

So let’s see how this stuff is holding up, shall we?

First, the Ortovox Civetta rain jacket:

I first tried this jacket last week on a drizzly ride, and since then I find myself throwing it on even when it’s not raining, because when it’s cool but not cold it’s perfect for wearing over a t-shirt. Someone asked about the hood, and if it interfered with peripheral vision; well, I tried it out today, and while I did so loosely and without zipping the jacket all the way up and fastening the collar as you would in a squall, I was able to see just fine.

As for the t-shirt under it, I continue to fall deeper under merino’s thrall, and as usual I was wearing that Vulpine Merino Crew Tee. I don’t know if I should be wearing it for days on end without washing it, but I do, and if nothing else my merino obsession has reduced my laundry volume considerably.

On my bottom half, I’m wearing those Vulpine cycling jeans, which I’ve also been wearing pretty much every day. So far, they’ve proven quite comfortable while pedaling:

In fact, in anything but hot or wet weather I wouldn’t hesitate to head out on a long mixed-terrain ride in them–especially when coupled with a high-quality undergarment. Cycling-specific features include a soft-lined waist that’s designed to keep your ass crack covered when you’re hunched over the long-and-low cockpit of your vintage mountain bike:

A “diamond gusset” to prevent chafing of your inner thigh:

And these “knee darts” to “allow ease of movement:”

I didn’t even know “knee darts” with a thing, but now that I do I’d never, ever consider wearing a pair of pants without them, and I also think anybody who would is a reckless maniac. If this makes you mad, consider it may just be that you’re suffering from chronic inner thigh chafing and it’s making you cranky.

One thing I don’t think they mention amid all the technical jargon is that the pockets are fairly capacious. When I’m riding a sneaker bike it’s important that I’m able to carry a phone, my keys, and my mini pump in my hip pocket, which I’m easily able to do with these. As with any jeans, the real test will be how long it will be before all this crap destroys the pockets. (My mailbox key is particularly jagged and pointy.) We’ll see how it goes.

And yes, when I say I was clad neck to toe in stuff people have sent me, I mean it; I was also wearing Vulpine socks, and the schmatta around my neck is courtesy of Grant Petersen, and I was even wearing a cap Knog sent me back in the heyday of the Hipster Cyst. Basically the only thing I brought to the party was the sneakers.

Speaking of Rivendell, check out this t-shirt I just received today:

This of course refers to the new Platypus, which arrives in late November:

[Photo via Rivendell]

I must admit that the more I ride in “regular” clothes and sneakers the more I begin to question high top tubes. As Rivendell describes it:

In any case, the Platypus, in a few ways, is our most all-around useful, comfortable, democratic bike. Over the next 30 years of your life, it is the bike most likely to be hauled out the front door.

I could see that. And since I’m about 30 years out from the average lifespan of the American male I guess I’m right in the crosshairs of the Platypus demographic. Say what you will about Rivendell, but they’ve managed to pinpoint exactly the age at which you start to ask yourself, “What the hell’s the point of doing this?” as you struggle to hoist a leg over a high top-tubed bicycle.

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