Did I hear you say PINK? Yes?
Well you know I’m a sucker when it comes to a bit of pink cycling gear. I happened to be writing an article for Ride On magazine about finding cycling gear to fit larger bods, so I contacted BBB and they told me they’d send their Alpineshield women’s jacket with some leggings.
What colour way would I like…black and white, or black and HOT PINK? Well duh guys, you know which I’m gonna choose there. So, I was supplied with both the Alpineshield ladies softshell jacket in the black/hot pink colour way, paired with the Ladyshield tights with chamois. The jacket retails for $179.99, while the legs retails for $139.99…both range from S to XXL (and the XXL fits me, with a 40″ bust, just fine).
I didn’t actually get into wearing these for a while because they were just simply too warm to wear in the crazy heat we had in April and May. But come June and July, I’m living in this gear! The BBB gear is now the gear I grab not because it’s on the top of the pile, but because it feels great and works well.
But my body was so well protected in the Alpineshield – the softshell front and arms on the jacket REALLY cut the wind…like, TOTALLY!
I must admit, I’ve often struggled to find a decent jacket for cycling that fits. But I love the BBB gear because it DOES fit, and it’s cut is flattering…according the Australian Bureau of statistics, I am spot on normal for height and just 3kg over on weight, but I’m probably considered no lightweight. I find it a struggle to get gear to fit – most cycling companies evidently consider my size too large to cycle! It’s often the case that the largest women’s size simply comes nowhere close to fitting. The BBB gear does.
So what’s the good ‘stuff’ about the Alpineshield? The back of the jacket is a similar fleece lined fabric as the Ladyshield leggings, so it’s a little lighter on the back and means it wicks the sweat away a little – you just don’t need the softshell on the back. There are 3 rear pockets just like a jersey, and one side zipper pocket for valuables. It has lots of reflective piping – sides, shoulders and a reflective logo on the back. It’s quite long so it keeps my bum warm too…and the fleece lining means I feel toasty all the time. The softshell areas on the jacket also give a little protection from the rain. And need I say more, it comes in black and pink or black and white.
The best bit though… the softshell front and arms on the jacket REALLY cut the wind…like, TOTALLY! Yep, not even a breeze gets through.
So what’s the downside of the Alpineshield jacket? There are a few, but they aren’t enough to stop me wearing it. To be honest, I’m not a big fan of black for cycling gear – I prefer lighter more visible colours for any road riding, so I generally won’t wear the Alpineshield if I’m on the road, unless I attach a light to the back pockets…though the hot pink is pretty visible, there is no reflective piping ACROSS the back, only on the sides. Nor is there any hot pink on the back – it’s limited to the sleeves and side panels. The sleeves are really long for me, but that may not be the case for everyone. I love wearing this jacket though, and I love it so much I bought a second one in the black and white colour way! And I confess, I have been known to wear it with my jeans as well coz it is REALLY pretty.
What’s good about the Ladyshield leggings? If these aren’t heaven in a legging I don’t know what is…I’m not kidding! When BBB sent me the Ladyshield leggings with chamois I was just a bit excited (that means run up and down the house yelling with joy excitement)…you see, there’s a little story behind this. Last year on the Great Victorian Bike Ride, I decided at the last minute to ditch the super warm gear – I wouldn’t need it, it was summer! I couldn’t have made a dumber mistake – after the first days ride, as I pulled into the wet and soaked camp site, frozen to the bone, I headed straight for the on-site cycling shop and grabbed the ONLY pair of warm, long leggings in my size.
Those poor BBB pants…I wore them to bed, I wore them riding, I wore them everywhere! They should have been dead by the end of that ride! But they survived, and now I wear them as my ‘slob around the house’ leggings with my ugg boots…(go on, call me a bogan!) I LOVE them. So when I received a similar but more ‘pro’ pair with chamois for the review…well, you get the picture right! Excited was an understatement.
The Ladyshield tights are made of a similar but slightly heavier glorious, fleecy, toasty fabric as the Great Vic ones that feel so comfortable. But the Ladyshield has a chamois…my Great Vic ones don’t – but the Ladyshield does come in a non-chamois version too (retails at $120). The other cool thing about the Ladyshield is the wider waistband – so much more flattering than the skinny little elastic bands on some ladies leggings that dig in at the waist. There are reflective tags stitched into each leg, and the ankles have a silicone gripper. I’ve worn these in the rain too, and they do provide a little bit of a shield against the wet…but the best thing is, even when I have been wet in these, I’ve been super warm.
I love these BBB leggings so much I have since gone and purchased some BBB long winter bibs with no chamois in the same fabric…I just couldn’t resist them! Seriously, if the ‘designer’ in me didn’t get the better of me all the time, I’d wear these leggings to the supermarket, the school pick-up, meetings, conferences and doing the gardening! (I even bought my husband a pair of the men’s ones, which I hope he rejects and gives to me!)
I think the thing I like so much about the BBB gear is that it is no fuss. I wouldn’t say it has the most exciting designs, but simple and plain which goes with everything. The fit is terrific, especially for larger riders, the quality for the price is better than many other brands, and it’s just so darn practical. It does everything the tags says it does…windproof, water repellant to a degree, fit is ‘anatomical’, it’s soft and warm and it just feels super comfortable. In fact, I like the BBB Alpineshield jacket so much I’ve been considering making it the official Wheel Women jacket…love that pink! And the leggings…well can’t wait to dag around the house in them again tonight! Ooops, I mean, cycle in them again.
PS. A quick call to BBB and I found out that the best places to find BBB ladies gear are (Melbourne recommendations only folks…sorry!): LeKnicks on Beach Road, Black Rock, Bicycle Superstore Mentone and Cecil Walker, Elizabeth St store Melbourne.