Giro's New Road clothing line is perhaps the worst-kept secret in history. Despite requests from the company to keep the news hush-hush, everybody's been talking about it, tweeting about it and reporting various facts and figures.
But now it's official: Giro has a brand-new clothing collection called New Road. And it is absolutely fantastic.
If you appreciate clothing, and your go-to kit isn't decorated with neon cartoon characters or plastered with the logo of a restaurant that's been out of business for more than a decade, get to the closest shop that carries the stuff and get some. You can thank me later.
Recognizing that there's an ever-growing contingent of road riders who don't necessarily want to look like they're training for the Tour de France, the company from Santa Cruz, California, that defined bicycle helmets has developed New Road as an elegant alternative to traditional race-inspired lycra kits.
Giro is quick to point out that New Road isn't an us-versus-them thing. There's a time for traditional high-performance cycling apparel and we won’t be shelving ours anytime soon—but now there's high-performance road clothing that looks like something you'd wear to work, the store or the pub.
The company enlisted the services of third-generation clothing designer Alex Valdman to make New Road sing. Valdman, whose lengthy résumé includes Levi's commuter line, sought to develop bicycle clothing that had the feel of old-school, hand-made sportswear. Attention to detail is impressive and Valdman's use of fabrics in the New Road line does a nice job of honoring tradition while making the most of modern fabrics and techniques at the same time.
But unless you're simply hoping to look dapper on your three-minute ride to the collect your morning cappuccino, your cycling haberdashery needs to be comfortable while you're actually riding. Right?
Have no fear; New Road is comfortable all day long.
Late last year, a group of Giro folks, a photo and film crew, some cool kids, a guy who won the final stage in the '88 Tour de France and I met up in Booneville, California, to check out this new New Road clothing and ride bikes. For the better part of a week, we were able to "test" various samples from the line and were encouraged to offer our feedback.
Despite the fact that every rider in our group had years of lycra-wearing experience, all of us enjoyed the new look of New Road and largely forgot we were wearing it. And when we sat down at a café for lunch, we didn't draw strange stares from its other customers.
At the time, Giro's samples were so scarce we were requested (read: told) to return every piece of New Road clothing to the care of its product manager. Nothing was to go home with us.
Though years of racing bicycles for a living definitely eroded a bit of my moral fiber, I've typically always been able to follow the rules. But not this time. When no one was looking, I stole a pair of Giro New Road 40M Tech Overshort samples and tucked them into my suitcase.
I've worn them off-road and on-road. I've worn them to bed. And I absolutely love them. Though I obtained mine through thievery, the preferred method of procurement is via select bike shops and at giro.com.