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INTRODUCING CAFÉ DU CYCLISTE
A TRIED AND TESTED REVIEW OF THE FRENCH CYCLING APPAREL BRAND
Excuse me mate, do you mind me asking where you got your jersey from?" I’m not used to getting complimented on my cycling attire but that’s exactly what happened recently at a popular café in Addingham, North Yorkshire.
'I’d gone out for a Sunday ride on some of the roads used in the Tour de France’s recent UK visit and stopped for a refreshment break en route'
It was a winter morning and the temperature had dropped below 10 degrees for the first time – ideal for test-riding my new Café du Cycliste winter garments.
Café du Cycliste is a French brand carrying a train of thought that; "if you’re spending hours in the saddle, you should look great while you’re doing it", a mantra they’d clearly adhered to with the items I was wearing at the time!
My order had arrived in the post a couple of days earlier in some unique packaging – a wallet style bag with a zipper along one end, decorated in a collage of French themed cycle prints. This was a nice surprise compared to the usual generic plastic bags you usually get from some online retailers.
My previous experience of cycling clothing is wide and varied. I’ve ridden the more cost effective end of the scale right the way through to luxury brands. My expectation of the Café du Cycliste clothing was that it would measure up to the higher end of the market and it certainly didn’t disappoint.
I’d ordered 3 items – the Martine Winter Tights, the Cosette Baselayer Merino and the Yolande Merino Jersey. The trio seemed the perfect fit for winter riding with the upper body items utilising the breathable qualities of merino to wick moisture and regulate body temperature in cold conditions. The winter tights are built of Artic and Thermo-Tech fabric with a fleece finish allowing for freedom of movement and excellent thermal insulation.
From the moment I pulled on the items, you could tell that they had been developed with quality in mind. The tights fitted really well; providing support to the active muscles and sealing themselves perfectly in my cycling shoes with internal stirrups. They also feature a high cut at the front, allowing for extra warmth and also include a zip for what most gents would term as "easy access."
The Cosette Baselayer was of similar quality’ providing a close fit for warmth and moisture transfer but without feeling restricted or tight like many sports baselayers can.
However, the piece de résistance (excuse the French pun), is the Yolander Jersey. Not only did it have all of the features that you could want (3 back pockets including a fourth zipped key pocket, a zipped breast pocket, pump pocket and integrated sleeve loops creating wind seals when ridden with gloves), but it looked like something that would be more at home on the city streets on an autumn afternoon.
Its sleeves include contrast colour elbow pads, and the full body zip ends at the top of an exaggerated t-shirt style collar with a button fastening; keeping my neck warm in the Yorkshire breeze. I’d opted for the blood red version of the jersey which prompted my fellow café dweller to enquire; however it is also available in a striking pistachio green too.
Safety hasn’t been forgotten either with both external garments featuring reflective elements making other road users aware of your presence. Overall, I took in around 65 miles in my Café du Cycliste gear and have absolutely no complaints whatsoever. They stack up favourably against other brands I’ve ridden and also carry an element of sophistication which is not always readily available from other companies. There are no emblazoned logos or fluorescent colours, just understated style blended with luxury quality.
Café du Cyclise have achieved a perfect blend of style and functionality with these items – they may even be able to encourage a few non-cyclists to take up the hobby if they can make them look this good in the saddle!