Picking up a new cool weather cycling kit can be a narrow investment. On the one hand, performance is paramount. Staying dry and warm while reaping the benefits of breathability and bike-specific features like considered pocket placement and visibility elements is essential to getting the most out of your riding time. However, it’s a bonus to feel comfortable in your riding gear from a style perspective—something brands are slowly catching on to. With the intention avoid looking like multicolored billboards or astronauts, Nice, France-based Café du Cycliste was created to make gear that performs on the road and while still looking passable when picking up an espresso and pain au chocolat.
The brand was literally founded during a warm-up stop at the company’s namesake Café du Cyclist—a favorite mid-ride coffee spot for riders in the Riviera. “Feeling a little uncomfortable in our usual performance wear amongst this French café crowd, we came to the conclusion that a range of technical and yet elegant cycling apparel was what was needed,” explains co-founder Remi Clermont. The brand recently launched its Autumn/Winter collection for 2014, and the offering stays true to this ethos.
Spanning men’s and women’s collections for road and urban riding, Clermont opts for a muted color palette. Instead of flashes of color, the pieces stand out in material quality, construction and design details. For instance, several of the technical and urban riding jackets feature an asymmetrical front zipper. In addition to making zipping and unzipping easier with one hand, this design reduces chafing on the chin and allows for greater ventilation when opened. The brand’s winter jerseys draw on merino wool, the choice of cool weather cyclists for generations for its natural temperature and moisture management qualities.
“We want our clothing to reflect who our customers actually are instead of who the traditional cycling world is telling them they should be,” Clermont tells CH. “Like most cyclists, we’re not pro riders so we feel no need to buy ‘costumes’ that are supposed to make us look like pros.” Instead, the brand offers clothing that blends more seamlessly into one’s everyday rotation—making Café du Cycliste’s line more versatile than run-of-the-mill bike wear. For dedicated commuters, the pieces are easily worn off the bike and into the office while roadies can sip their espresso a bit more discreetly.
Shop the full collection at the Café du Cycliste webstore and select stockists worldwide. If you happen to be in the South of France with a bike, be sure to read up on all of the Café du Cycliste crew’s favorite rides (and coffee stops) in the region.
Images courtesy of Café du Cycliste