It’s been raining for about two days straight here in New York, thanks to Hurricane Zeta, which sounds like a Campy group. Zeta has left severe damage, power outages, and death in its path. But like the selfish person I am, all I care about is how it’s affecting my own riding, and I’ve been sitting here watching the green radar blob so I can finally head out on the bike as soon as the rain passes:
Maybe it’s more of a green globule:
In the meantime, since I’m stuck inside, I figured I might as well take a quick look at a couple of items I recently received thanks to my lofty status as a cycling world influencer. (“Influencer” sounds better than “washed-up bike blogger,” which is technically more accurate.) Firstly, I received this fancy box from Mint:
My wife just assumed it contained a bar of artisanal cacao, but in fact it held a pair of socks in pleasingly autumnal hues:
The best thing about getting new socks in the mail is that you can put off doing laundry for one more day.
(If anybody’s reading this, please send underpants.)
Also, you may recall I’ve been testing (“testing” is technical jargon for “wearing”) a pair of Vulpine cycling jeans. I’ve been wearing them quite often for the past couple months, and have washed them twice. (That’s a lot of washing; I wash my jeans about as often as I change the oil in my car.) They’re extremely comfortable on and off the bike, I like they way they look, and so far they’re holding up well, though the crotchal region is beginning to show signs of saddle wear:
This sort of thing is unavoidable in my experience, so the real question is not how long the crotch remains unblemished, but rather how long it retains its structural integrity.
Anyway, clearly more designers are becoming aware of my my profound insight into cycling jeans, because recently Osloh reached out to me and sent me a pair of their own Denim Lane jeans, price $149:
I received the jeans yesterday, and while I haven’t gotten to ride in them yet, I did wear them to take my kids down to the Museum of Natural History and formed some first impressions. While the Vulpine jeans are simple in design despite having some bike-specific features, the Oslohs have more details than my Jones has braze-ons, and they give a first impression of being overbuilt in a way that makes your Carhartts seem like sweatpants in comparison. Check out the double-button fly, for example:
The hip pockets are also quite deep, and you’ll notice the openings are straight rather than angled, which I assume is to make sure nothing falls out of them while you’re riding. I appreciate this, because I ride with my phone in my hip pocket, and there are certainly pants with which this is an actual concern. (Not the Vulpines, I should make that clear.) Also, as you might expect from someone who is critical of bicycle helmets, I don’t use a phone case; this makes it easier for me to slip my phone into my pocket, but it also makes it easier for the phone to slip out. Anyway, all indications are that the Oslohs should retain my phone like someone with hypertension retains water*.
Here’s a view of the hip. Note the extra pockets, including one with crazy reinforcement, and the offset belt loop for–I dunno, optimizing belt tension when you’re bent over the bars or something?–as well as the adjustable waist:
There’s also a an adjuster to snug up your right pant cuff so it doesn’t snag in the drivetrain of your fixie:
Clearly they thought of everything–and then they thought of even more things.
And here’s the rear:
Why the seams in the crotch? Well, reinforcement, probably–and also these jeans have…a chamois!
Some men dress left, while others dress right. The Osloh jeans are right- and left-specific, and that arrow tells you which way each pair is oriented.
As the sort of person who has been known to ride 40 miles in jeans, I am genuinely curious about the chamois. I can’t imagine you’re meant to go commando in these things, so I’ll have to see whether it’s a boon or a liability when underpants enter the equation. Certainly they added noticeable bulk during normal off-the-bike wear, and while I wouldn’t characterize that as a problem it also wasn’t ideal for a casual garment. However, the jeans aren’t remotely broken in yet, and in any case maybe the chamois will be so useful on the bike that I’ll be willing to excuse it while I’m off of it. TLDR; I’m reserving judgement on the purple pad.
As for the looks, the jeans are quite busy up close, and I worried that I’d need to wear a V-neck sweater with no undershirt and maybe some hair gel in order to pull them off. (Fashion tip: Stan’s makes great styling gel.) Once they’re on, however, they just look like regular jeans, and they slotted right into my normcore “aging dad taking his kids to the museum on a rainy day” look:
I also tried to get an over-the-shoulder shot of the rear, but this is the best I could do:
On the subway, I noted the reinforcement on the inner calf:
This might seem like a bike-specific feature, but it’s also ideal for the subway, because you never know when a rat is going to start gnawing at your ankles. For that matter it’s even ideal just for walking around in New York City in general, since you’re liable to fall into a rat-filled chasm at any moment. (That’s some “Raiders of the Lost Ark” shit right there. And we have the temerity to make fun of the people who live in “flyover states.” God, we’re such assholes.)
Anyway, fortunately we made it down to the museum without being attacked by rats. It was quite rainy and blustery:
The jeans are quite stiff at this point and definitely need breaking in, but I did find myself admiring them in the mirror at the gift shop:
I know it’s weird and possibly disturbing that I’m modeling pants outside of the context of bicycling, but hey, they are cycling jeans. Anyway, what do you want from me? It’s raining out for chrissakes! What else have I got to do?
As for the museum visit, it was the usual routine, by which I mean I scolded the kids for giggling at the artifacts and then surreptitiously took photos of said artifacts while giggling to myself, you know how it goes:
Okay, the rain must be easing up by now. By the time I finish closing all the fasteners on the Oslohs it should be dry enough to ride my fixie. Ride safe, and see you next week!
*Warning: similes may not be medically accurate. If you’re retaining water see your doctor.