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Bicycle Fixation Knickers
by Dennis Bean-Larson
The "Final Cut" on this new design wasn't done in time for our review of the other knickers but I assured Richard Risemburg that he'd get plenty of viewers of these fine pants. First off, let's clarify some things. These are the first 3/4 pants that I've worn in the Modern Era. Nope ... I never even cut off a pair of regular pants and I didn't wear any of the others that have been reviewed on the Gallery.
The first pants I'd even seen like this were at the '05 Symposium - worn by Andy Lambert from Peace Coffee in Minneapolis. Culture Shock hits Northern Michigan.
Of course I'd seen rapper's big baggy bball shorts, and then there were the clam-diggers that were cool when I was in 6th Grade and tan corduroy ski knickers were all the rage when I was in high school. How style-prophetic those corduroy knickers were: zip side and rear pockets, double seat, belt loops, and ooooo! wool knee socks. Boy, I wish I still had mine - Retro Chic - mine were probably even made by the French company Bogner. Y'all would drool.
Anyway these pants from Bicycle Fixation arrived in Traverse City right along with the snow and serious winter. Shit, maybe I'd have to go south to wear them! I wore them around the building the day they arrived, and then 4-5 days later - well, lookee 40F.
Wool Gabardine is a tightly woven worsted wool fabric that I always associate with British military uniforms - wears like iron. These aren't too wool-scratchy and the charcoal color will go with about anything. Mine were among the final prototypes that Richard did. Lest you think makin' up a pair like these is a simple process, you just don't go down to Joanne's Fabrics and grab a pattern for cycling knickers. You have to work with a clothing designer, a pattern maker, and the production people. These are cut just a bit higher in the back - not enough to really tell in these photos, but certainly enough to keep my 'plumber's butt' out of view. 36" waist are what these have, and it ain't summer, so these are just a touch tight around my waist. By the time I get in 500 miles they'll be just perfect.
Richard says the final production pants will be cut just a bit fuller through the knee and calf in the 36 and larger sizes, and you can see that I had these on the last button. The slightly fuller cut would put mine on the middle button - just right.
Belt loops and elastic in the back keep them snug. There are two angled side-pockets (right hand has what I thought was a little coin pocket inside - Richard says it's for your cell phone - keeps it up higher- yeah, it does!) ). In back there are two patch pockets. A more stylish approach might have been with set-in rear pockets with a buttoned flap, but there has to be a limit somewhere.
I was SO happy that the weather cooperated today, I rode around town a bit, the roads were just dry enough to ride sans fenders, I wouldn't want to get these pants all salty and muddy. (wool=dry clean or read about other ways at BF's website!) Hey, it's hard to find knee socks these days, but I found these black over-the-calf socks at Macy's for 3 pr for $12. After a steady diet of Smartwool socks these were a pleasant relief for my checkbook.
You'll wear these alot, there's no double seat that looks like you're wearing a diaper, no obvious cycling pockets all over or embroidered logos, just the jaunty satin-like magenta panel at the side gusset. You could wear these most anywhere - even if you were covering some Senate hearings ... though probably not to your 8-4 job at the steel mill.
These are available in charcoal and black right now, in the first production run of a hundred pairs - tho another 150 are already in the works for mid-January. Richard told me about two other designs that he has in the works for us cyclists to waer - but I'll let him tell you about them himself.
Ride safe and far,