Style AND Substance 1

In the world where we want to ride, where we dream we ride, the sun is shining, the roads are smooth, the views are beautiful, and we pass through with effortless grace.

If you’re going to do a job in this world, it is best done with the correct equipment. You wouldn’t change the wheel on your Ferrari with an adjustable spanner, you shouldn’t ride your pristine steed in a knock off team kit, see Rule 17.

Ride clothing is an area in which Le Sportif has considerable expertise, having invested heavily in stylish and functional clothing, possibly even to excess. This stems, as with many issues, from childhood, or at least, teens, when cycling clothes were scratchy, baggy in the wet, and waterproof only in an extremely light shower. A reaction to too many days cold in the saddle.

As capitalism pries open the doors in any and every market place, choice is, initially at least, to the benefit of the consumer. And so to the point. With the rise of the fashionability of cycling there is a corresponding rise in the fashion of cycling. The fashion of cycling, however, is, by definition, tested in an environment more demanding than the high street.

So it is, with no more preamble, that Le Sportif begins a process of investigation into the world of boutique cycle clothing. The pertinent question being, does the clothing represent form over function - in which case it belongs in the city, the ride to the shops or the pub - or does it survive out on the mountain top, in the conditions for which it is designed?

As the first stop on this tour of fashion and cycling Le Sportif was lead to Cafe du Cycliste - French of course.

The Cote d’Azur is the enviable home of this pioneer of two wheeled chic. This is no pedal powered Stella Artois, but true artisan production. Casual and cycling clothing to make the most of the market place and give the best chance for survival. The true genius of Cafe du Cycliste is something else.

The mass of the cycling world are proud proponents of the Y chromosome, and this therefore results in some degree of bias in the marketplace. However, in recent times it has been realised by some marketing experts within the cycling world that there is another aspect to the species, and, as a result a plethora of female specific ideas have come to the fore. Some successful, some not so much. Steering clear of pink, or butterflies, or flowers has proven more tricky than negotiating a Welsh mountain road.

For the first time Cafe du Cycliste have shown that this is not a difficult proposition, but have simply recognised that true style overrides the stereotypes of sex. The secret of style and cycling clothes is that they should make you feel and look as good as you think you are. To be complemented on recognised, expensive brands is a nod to your income, to be complemented on less obvious choices is the recognition of something more difficult to attain, taste.

Le Sportif, as a paying customer, has had only positive experience of the Cafe du Cycliste Yolande Woman’s Jersey, which you see in the images. Merino sports wool with careful detailing and accurate stitching can only make this jersey stand out. In the parlance of another of the Le Sportif favoured brands, this jersey works perfectly for intermediate conditions, and with the extended drag of winter into spring of this year, it has seen more than expected use. If you want an assured, quality choice and not pseudo racer make Cafe du Cycliste your fashion house!