What choice do ladies have when it comes to cycle clothing?

It’s a well-known fact that many in the cycling industry take a ‘shrink it and pink it’ approach to women’s ranges. First of all we have to wait for new technology to be tested in the male arena, then it has to be feminised. The alternative is to buy unisex, but that often just doesn’t work – us ladies have hips and some of us don’t have enough chest to fit jerseys more suitable for men!

Shrink it and pink it - womens cycle clothing

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not waving a feminist flag, I have no beef with anyone who likes to wear pink (the WyndyMilla team certainly wear it well), I just don’t want to feel that I’m being defined by my gender when I’m out on the road. I want to be, quite simply, a cyclist!

Shorts and tights are pretty easily sorted, black is essentially standard issue. Jerseys are a different story, though. Take a look at any cycle clothing retailer’s range and I’ll bet you see lots of pinks and mauves popping up. Even if there are other colours, there’s almost always a girlie pink option. So thank goodness that some brands are stepping away from cosmetic colours, have cottoned on to the fact that women’s cycling is a seriously fast-growing area and we don’t need to be patronized by being restricted to fuchsia, blush or candy.

Good old Sir Chris Hoy knew to avoid pink when he partnered with Vulpine to create his HOY Vulpine range of clothing. As a relatively new brand, the women’s collection is not extensive but it looks the business. Technical, tailored for the female shape and blue and red are the only shock of colour – colours that anyone could wear, not just the ladies. There is much to like!

2015 also saw the launch of Liv, Giant’s sister brand. Whilst I love my Liv Avail, I’m less keen on the clothing and I don’t feel any immediate need to live the brand. There’s a generous helping of purple and pink in the range but, that said, balance is provided by a lot of predominantly black gear – I’m guessing that the female-led design team at Liv are aiming to cater for women who like more feminine colours, as well as the fussy madams with colour issues such as myself!

But why look anywhere else for a cycling jersey when Summit Different have such a great range (unashamed plug coming up)! I love the wit and freshness of SD’s jerseys – and the fact that there is no differentiation between what’s available for men and women. Us ladies have equal choice AND we get women’s fit! I now have four SD jerseys and I get great pleasure from wearing them.When I go on a club ride, whatever jersey I’m wearing seems to act like a conversation starter if I find myself riding alongside someone I haven’t met before – like the chap who is a big fan of Rubik’s Cube. I couldn’t tell you his name, but we had a lengthy conversation along the way all because of my jersey!

Guest Blogger, Rachel

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