The evolution of mountain biking from a Lycra-clad interval-fest to a social event where you collect scars with friends has not only affected the types of bikes we own but also what we wear when we ride them. I’m not talking fixed wheels with one leg of your jeans rolled up, I mean bike gear that shreds but doesn’t look out of place parked up at your local for a well deserved post-ride coffee or beer. This competitive market now has a formidable player: Aspiring Cyclewear. Based in Nelson, Aspiring Cyclewear produces delectable merino woollen tops made from 180 g wool (short sleeves) and 240 g or 300 g wool (long sleeves) for the cooler months. The top I wear is a snug feminine fit (there’s a men’s cut as well), which helps wick the sweat away while the pressure is on but retains the warmth as you chew the fat at the top of the hill. The pockets are designed to hold the essentials of any ride. While the front zip was long enough for me, some may wish for a longer zip to allow for a little more airflow. Most importantly, the whole Aspiring range is old-skool styled. My favourite design is 50s-inspired, with a contrasting band around the chest on which ‘Aspiring Cyclewear’ is written. It comes in a range of colour options. I have had my top for more than a year, with no signs of unusual wear. My most rigorous test involved a three day cycle tour without changing or washing the top for the entire tour. The merino lived up to its reputation and didn’t smell bad at all. I could sometimes smell damp wool, but this odour always left once the top had dried. This is a major consideration for the after-ride social gathering. The short sleeved tops come in at a respectable $155, while the long sleeved versions are $175 and $225. You can buy these tops online at www.aspiringcyclewear.co.nz, where you can also view web specials. And in true Nelson style, you can visit Aspiring Cyclewear’s site at the Nelson markets every Saturday morning. Not only will you get the warm fuzzies from wearing wool, but also from supporting a product that is 100 per cent Kiwi designed and made. CHRIS AND BOB
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