Thursday, June 15

My best cycling trousers - from the one pound rail in a charity shop.

I have discovered I am not the only one scouring the internet for the ideal cycling trousers. If you are interested in reading what others have to say on the subject, then have a look at this article "What would your ideal cycle touring clothing collection look like?" on Tom Allen's website, Tom's Bike Trip.

I have looked at so many websites, both general outdoor ones and cycling specific ones, to see if someone makes what I'm looking for, but it seems they don't. I have several pairs of Craghoppers bought in sales, and one pair of zip-offs bought in a charity shop, and that is what I tend to wear on the bike once the weather gets warm, either rolled up or zipped off, but none of them are ideal.

I thought surely I could make some, but I haven't yet found the right pattern. I have a couple of trouser patterns, one of which I tried recently, but unfortunately I made alterations which didn't work, so I'm back to the drawing board.

However, I recently found a pair of M and S cotton trousers on the £1 rail in a local charity shop. I tried them on and they fitted perfectly, so I paid my pound and then walked down to a neighbouring DIY shop (the wonderful sort that sells EVERYTHING!) and bought some olive green dye (the hand dyeing sort) as the trousers were lavender.......

The dyeing necessitated a lot of stirring in a bucket, but was very successful. I then went on to add a zip to one of the pockets for added security, and some tapes to keep the legs in place when rolled up.

Here they are - the lavender tape didn't dye so it must be made of a 100% synthetic fibre. Doesn't matter too much as it won't be seen anyway.

Here's the zip: I didn't have a matching colour amongst my stash of zips so went for a contrast. I'd seen this idea on Youtube and it was easy to do. I find it invaluable to have at least one secure pocket when cycling.

I happened to have some twill tape that I had dyed in the same colour. I stitched it to the inside of the trousers and then stitched some loops in the opposite place on the outside - that was quicker than bothering with buttons and buttonholes and does just as good a job, plus I wanted to wear these the next day!

I did have a look on the M and S website to see if they still do this style, but I couldn't see any trousers resembling them. It didn't matter that they were a short length as I will be "mostly wearing" (remember that chap in The Fast Show - "This month I will be mostly wearing - a thong"? ) them rolled up.

So what's so perfect about these trousers for summer cycling? 

1 They are REALLY comfortable to wear. The 100% cotton fabric is excellent - it's particularly smooth which makes it very cool and also I think means it moves on the legs easily when pedalling. It's a cooler fabric than the cotton mix of my Craghoppers.

2  The part elasticated/part tied waist is very comfortable, and also is not too low. I hate wearing trousers with very low waists and on a bike they're a definite no-no.

3 They are not too wide and not too narrow.

4 They look fine (in my opinion!) both on and off the bike.

I feel like writing to M and S and saying - please make these again! Or better still working with a cycle clothing manufacturer and getting them to produce a cyclists' version. All they really need is perhaps some extra strength in the seat area and the addition of a secure pocket! I don't think M and S would be that interested though..... and actually I rarely buy any new clothing these days. There is so much choice in the charity shops. (And that's a whole subject for debate - just why is there so much clothing being given to charity shops?)

Anyway, I thought I would keep a lookout for this particular style in the charity shops, or anything similar, and would you believe I have found a very similar 3/4 length BHS pair for the grand sum of 50p!! I bought some more dye this morning as these are a rather bright blue - I've bought "Jeans Blue".

I'm going to attempt to draw up a pattern from the M and S ones; I've seen it done on Youtube without taking them apart so will have a go. 

That's all for now.