Where did you get all that gear?

It’s amazing how many times I get asked where I find certain bits of gear I use when I’m cycling. I thought everyone was obsessed with finding that PERFECT item for their cycling adventures and scoured the web in search of those elusive items like I do.

Okay, so maybe I spend too much time scouring the web and not doing what I should be doing, but I have managed to find some COOL stuff that might be helpful. Since I seem to get asked the same things over and over, I decided to just blog it all!

Plus Size Rain Jackets and Gear

We have such a range of riders at Wheel Women that come in all shapes and sizes – that’s brilliant because in a way it indicates we are providing a safe place for all women to feel at home when they get on a bike. However, finding the actual gear to make you feel comfortable (physically and mentally) can be tricky…especially if you are what I like to call, elegantly oversized.

We don’t all fit into the pro-forma of standard size ranges from the cycling companies, and for those larger women in our group they often ask where they can at least get a nice jacket without having to look like they are wearing their husband’s gear. I consider myself an expert on this…when I started cycling more seriously around 5 years ago, I was a plus size!

Over time I have gradually reduced in size and now fit into the larger sizes of some standard ranges…that’s what riding does for you! It’s what my good friend Evan at Cyclic Bicyles calls the ‘phenomenon of the amazing shrinking cyclist’. It’s true….keep cycling and you shrink!

I still think the best place for a PLUS size rain jacket is AeroTech Designs. I purchased one of their jackets a few years ago and LOVED the cut and the fit. I have since re-homed it but one of our riders has just purchased a newer model recently and loves it. The cut is flattering and the quality is terrific…at US$39.95 I’d say the price is very cool too!

http://www.aerotechdesigns.com/womens-eco-repel-jacket.html

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The jacket I re-homed was much loved but as I shrunk out of it (sort of the reverse of growing out of a jacket!), I liked it so much I purchased a new one. I wouldn’t say it is the most breathable, but darn it keeps that water out! I also LOVE the ‘illuminite’ fabric that reflects when light hits it…fantastic for low light or night conditions. I have an XL which fits my 41″ bust easily. There is an XXL in that jacket so the sizing is reasonably generous.

I had the pale blue one in this jacket but now have the orange – it’s an awesome colour and isn’t too much of a ‘safety orange’, but more of a fluro coral (photos do make it look very safety-ish, but it’s nicer than that). It really is a great jacket.

http://www.aerotechdesigns.com/womens-reflective-cycling-jacket.html

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Jerseys and Shorts for Plus Sizes

In the past I’ve also owned a few oversized jerseys. Some of my favourite ones came from AeroTech as well and their Chilly Girl Jersey worked a treat. The fabric is soft and the reflective highlights are a really nice touch. What I really liked about the AeroTech gear is that the cut is nice for larger women and really flattering. They aren’t boxy at all…in fact, if you’re plus size, just check out their whole Plus Size range because i think it’s great stuff.

http://www.aerotechdesigns.com/womens-long-sleeve-cycling-jersey-chilly-girl.html

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The other place I always like to have a browse through is Team Estrogen. They have a specific area for Plus Size clothing and carry some great brands. I can certainly vouch for the SheBeest gear as I have owned quite a bit of it. In particular, check out the Bellissima Jersey – great cut (sleeves may be a fraction short) and I still wear mine even if it is a little big. I actually love wearing it on searing hot days because the wind blows through it.

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http://www.teamestrogen.com/prodSB_3206P_0.html

(Unfortunately Team Estrogen don’t seem to have too much in the way of jackets for Plus Sizes, but they do have a pretty good range of bottoms to choose from).

Another great place to look is at Terry Bicycles in the US. Owned by the incredible inspiration in women’s cycling, Georgena Terry, they have a Plus Size section on their website. I have a pair of their Breakaway short and to this day they remain one of my favourite pairs of summer shorts…wide waistband, nice wide leg band, not-shiny lycra and the chamois will see you through 100km rides no problem at all.

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I see, I see….prescription cycling specs

Yes, it’s great to be able to see when I go riding, but the thought of purchasing prescription cycling glasses is enough to make you see red! I’ll admit, I do own a pair of prescription Oakley’s and I’ve gotta say, there is nothing like it to compare! They are brilliant, but they did require close to a second mortgage to purchase them – if you have private health cover, check out your allowance for optical because that can help reduce the cost substantially.

glasses

But there are alternatives – I know some of the optician’s out there might hate me for saying it, but they do offer a great service and great glasses at a fraction of the cost. Many of you have seen me wearing my purple cycling glasses – these came from Vision Direct and cost around $150 with full prescription with multi-focal.I love them!

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I like lots of colour so I went for the Julbo ‘Whoops’ frame with a tinted purple lense. The process was pretty simple. I already knew my prescription and I just chose the frame, entered the script and then chose what lense combo I’d like. It did take a little longer than I wanted it to, but this was apparently because the curvature of the lense required extra time to make. I’m super happy with the result, and though they weren’t the ‘pink’ I selected on the website, they still look nice (the pink is actually a purple!). I love wearing the purple glasses because the lense is so big I can see really well, and having the multi focal means I don’t need the Garmin on a selfie arm to read it!

The other place I can highly recommend for online prescription glasses is Zenni Optical. These were the first cycling glasses I owned and it was great to know I could get something at such a cheap price that did the job. When you jump onto the Zenni site you do need to go to the ‘Goggles’ section to find the prescription cycling gear.

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The Zenni glasses sure are cheap, and they work by having an insert that sits behind the main lense, which isn’t the prescription part. The prescription bit is clear and attaches at the inside bridge of the glasses. They are the budget version, but they work, they look okay and seriously, if you have a habit of losing glasses then these are the go. The good thing about them is that if you need to change prescription, you can just get a new pair for minimal cost.

Did we miss something you’re after?

It goes without saying that I have reduced in size because I cycle lots…and lots and lots! And when I cycle lots I think about what choices I make with my diet too (you may not think so with the amount of muffins I eat on our rides). But riding regularly really is the answer to downsizing your gear. The problem is, I think I actually need to ups-size the wardrobe (stay tuned for my cycling-garage-sale-swap-meet!)

But being comfortable on the bike both in the physical sense and how you feel mentally is so important…who wants to wear a sack, or feel like they are the ‘forgotten’ when it comes to beautiful cycling gear? Stay tuned for some plus sized gear from Wheel Women VERY soon! We want you all to feel like a part of the team…regardless of size or ability.

Have we missed something you’ve asked us about? Let us know…we love helping women cyclists find the good deals!

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