fancy cyclist

Fancy Cyclist, Part 9: A reflection on wool and knickers after a decade or so.

Hellooo folks. It’s been about eight years since I did a “Fancy Bicyclist” post, where I go off (or on) about my certain esoteric cycling culture tastes. I still consider myself to be a Fancy Cyclist to a degree, but not to the degree that I was over the first half of the ‘teens.

I will say this: I still am a big proponent of wool, especially merino. It’s itch-free, odor-resistant, and temperature regulating. I still use merino wool as my primary base layer, and have a love of sweaters and tweed jackets and caps. That probably won’t change for a bit. But I’m not swathed head-to-toe in wool as I had been in the past.

The biggest change is my pants. For awhile, the only “long” pants I owned were all knickers. I liked these shorter pants, as they were definitely nicer for biking: no cuffs to get caught in a chain, and a great way to show off long socks. But my stock of knickers has dwindled to one pair. All of my pants now are of your standard-length variety. And none wool. Why?

Well, there are two big reasons:

  • Since I started to work for Emee a few years back, I needed to update my clothing game for the semi-professional work environment I found myself in. Long pants were now required.
  • The selection of knickers for men has dwindled. It seemed like around 2010 there were quite a few offerings, now it’s practically nothing. And what I’ve found is pretty much always on the slim fit side, and I don’t do slim fit. I want my knickers to be roomy for my thick legs, roomy for the demands of biking.

I even had two (two!) pairs of wool knickers custom made for me several years back. They were nice, but did not survive. Wool doesn’t survive abrasion well, so the constant thigh rub against the saddle eventually causes the inside of the pants to “blow out”. This isn’t limited to wool, eventually even denim jeans will do the same. It just takes longer. Now if I had these wool pants built again, I’d have the crotch area be gusseted and made of durable synthetic material. But I’m not in any position to get custom pants soon. I can do what I have done in the past: Find wool slacks at Goodwill and have some length taken off. But that doesn’t excite me as much as it used to. I’ll just cuff up my regular pants instead.

So for now I’ll have to be satisfied with my one token pair of knickers, plus my regular pants. For now, they’re fine. But a boy can dream…

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