As roadcc's senior trouser tester you can imagine my excitement when British cycle outfitters, Vulpine, sent us what they dub their Tailored Trouser, their 'first line of smart-casual cycling trousers, for life in the country pub, a Friday night gig or for wear on the open trail', better still they sent us two pairs so junior trouser tester Vecchiojo got to have a go too.
Women's cycling trousers are as rare as the proverbials of rocking horses, so in desperation I tried a pair of more general outdoor and walking trousers, in the theory that they were made of softshell fabric and looked pretty low key and also had a gusseted crotch meaning they should do the trick when on the bike.
The howies Chada Chinos are a cool, stretchy pair of trousers that are at home on the bike or around town. Having said that, they probably won't stand up to endless cycle trips.
My first thoughts when pulling these latte coloured chinos on was that I needed to update the age on my road.cc profile status as I had got a year older and these strides are maybe for someone a bit more youthful and spunky (or whatever the term is nowadays).
Rapha Softshell Trousers feel like riding in your favourite pyjama bottoms - only more weatherproof and well suited to cycling in the UK weather.
Don't quote me on this but I think softshells were invented by the same people who make spaceships. The material seems to posses mystical powers that manage to moderate what the weather gods hurl at us while we try and enjoy cycling in the bi-polar British climate.
These Fusion SO Lady Pants from Gore Bike Wear – also available in a men's version- are along the lines of the zip-off walking trousers hikers will be familiar with.
Cycling specific trousers are a tricky area at the best of times. There are a few companies offering jeans and casual trews for urban hipsters to ride in, and a few offering more technical loose fit pants, but they are quite thin on the ground, especially for women. It's a tall order to provide riding comfort in something that looks OK for wearing about town.
Rainlegs wind and waterproof leg covers are a quirky, yet surprisingly effective solutions to the problem of keeping the upper legs dry during those unpredictable spring showers without resorting to full-blown over-trousers.
Showers Pass Hybrid zip-off pant is two very competent bits of clothing in one and arguably the most innovative take on the street smart, bike practical leg wear brief. Versatile enough for general riding, cantering across town for those straight to business meets and a spot of touring too thanks to their cut, convertible nature and host of civilian practicalities.
Gusset. Go on, say it with me. It is not, let's face it, the most inviting word in the English language. But for cyclists who want to wear jeans (which includes most of us at one time or another), it's a very welcome concept. Normal jeans don't have one, you see; specially tailored cycling jeans like these from Swrve do. And a gusset (say it again) transforms a usually restrictive item of clothing into one that moves and performs much better.
New York's Outlier are not the only brand offering tailored city cycling clothing out there, but their take on it bring a distinctively American preppy-meets-hipster style. These Climber Pants fit the bill: smart, hard-wearing and 'reassuringly' expensive.
That's knicker as in three-quarter length cycling trousers. They're a godsend for the commuter, tourer or recreational cyclist, combining a relaxed look with long-term riding comfort - when they're well designed. Bontrager's Commuting WSD Knicker looks to be just that.