It was during a a rigorous Tuesday laundry session that I noticed my jeans are getting to a state much like that of tissue paper, mostly in the area that sees the most contact with my saddle. My rule with jeans is that if I can see through them, it's time for a new pair, and I'd heard some buzz from various other blogs about cycling jeans made by various companies, so I decided to spend a little time digging up reviews.
There's definitely a group of people who think cycling jeans are stupid and unnecessary, and while I do somewhat agree and think any clothing is good for riding, there are three little words that get me to sway the other direction: seamless, reinforced crotch. Seamless.
Plus, the little add-ons: reflection, stretchiness, and knee room, amongst others, had me intrigued. Jeans are expensive, and if I'm going to be spending an arm and a leg anyway, why not opt for something more beneficial to me than just pants?
So in my research, I found two things:
- (Most) Cycling jeans are actually pretty freaking awesome
- Nobody makes them for women
Reiterating on that:
NOBODY MAKES CYCLING JEANS FOR WOMEN.
Now, I would venture to say that a few years ago there wasn't quite as much of a market for women's cycling jeans - not that the market was by any means non-existent, it just hadn't exploded like is has in recent years. And still it is male dominated, but not nearly as much as it used to be - come to SF, we've got plenty of lady riders out here.
That aside, the fact is that nearly half of the ridership I see these days is female, and many of them (myself often included) ride in street clothes. There are a few companies that make cycling knickers for women, and as nice as that is, it sure as hell ain't optimal for the low thirties we've been getting here in the mornings, not to mention winter in general. But I guess there's some sort of predisposition that everyone at these companies thinks women who do ride only ride in cute skirts or sundresses or similar bullshit (nothing against skirts or dresses - you get my point), and, well, not jeans.
"But," I've been asked, as I tend to complain about this to everyone who will listen, "why not just get a pair of the men's style?" And as much as I would like to be able to, seeing as I've been told the Rapha Jeans are life-changing and bring you eternal happiness, I have an ass. And hips. Which equates to a combination that doesn't work with men's clothing - believe me, I've tried.
The closest equivalent I've found are Hincapie Athletic Jeans, which at least get a shout out for having a women's line, but aren't cycling jeans per se. I've been told there are small companies that do make them for women, but I haven't been able to find anything.
The point here though is less about jeans, and more about the blatant sexism in assuming only men rides bikes.
And I am not alone in my rage.
I did write to Levi's, and they did say they would pass their message onto their marketing department, which I'd like to be optimistic about. I am also planning to write to Rapha, Muxu, SWRVE, and a few others. A few other bloggers have also inquired, some who received the response that there wasn't enough of a market.
Maybe there isn't enough of a market because the market is so damn sexist. Maybe.
I would really like to hope that Levi's claim that they were just "testing the market" is true, but this advert seems so blatantly geared towards men (not even anyone riding with a girlfriend? Come on!) that I don't know.
I could go on, but it's all been said, and I've probably been beating a dead horse for the past three paragraphs anyway.
So this weekend when I go out to replace my disintegrating jeans, it looks like I won't be getting to replace them with the same style my male friends have been able to.
My dreams of a seamless crotch seem to far away.