Ode to Velocio - Superfly!
Years Riding: I watched Connie Carpenter win her gold medal at the 1984 Olympics on TV and thought to myself, “I want to do that”.
Weight: All muscles and peanut butter!
Riding Type: 150-200 miles/week mostly on the road, including team and friends weekend excursions, and riding to work 3x/week year-round in Seattle.
If you did some quick math above, it will give you an idea I’ve been riding a few decades. That’s a lot of chamois time, and it hasn’t been very often (if ever?) that cycling clothing has bowled me over with its comfort, fit, or attention to women’s specific needs. Women, especially those racing and spending thousands of miles on the bike every year, often pull on men-specific designs and pedal away, accepting the fit and quality they’re given as a kind of good natured slap on the shoulder for belonging in the men’s club.
For two seasons our team’s well known, high-end kit sponsor provided us women-specific jersey and shorts, but it’s like they took a petite woman and just added some girth to the fabric. The bib straps cut me off in the shoulders, the top of the bib cut under my belly, the jersey was so short it would rise up over the bibs, and the fabric and chamois just weren’t freaking comfortable…but we accepted it because this was a top women’s design, right? Oh, and they gave the women’s jersey TWO POCKETS. Who only uses two pockets?!?!! We put in MILES, people! Talk about half the road. Sigh.
This fall I was surprised and excited to find out I won the Ella Cycling Tips/Velocio kit giveaway after filling out an Ella reader survey. I had read Anne-Marije Rook’s rave review of the Superfly bibs and Breton jersey last June and was curious, but dubious as always, that these were transcending, but who doesn’t want to try FREE gear!! Below is my completely unsolicited review of the bibs and jersey. There was absolutely no expectation for a review by Ella or Velocio, but I couldn’t help but want to get the word out about how fantastic they are.
BEST WOMEN'S KIT EVER? YES!
Velocio was extremely generous to send me two pairs of their Superfly Bib Shorts in both black and navy, and their Breton Jersey in a gorgeous shade of spring green. I eagerly kitted up for the ride to work and by the time the maiden voyage was over I realized these bibs were DIFFERENT. They felt like a giant hug for my legs and torso, while other bibs I’ve worn have a lot of movement in the straps and chamois leading to chaffing and saddle sores and a general desire to strip them off as soon as possible. I DO NOT WANT TO TAKE THESE BIBS OFF. They feel customized for my body. And the jersey - it’s like silky lingerie for your bike ride. The fabric is so luxurious, but equally technical. My best test for the jersey was a 60 mile solo ride in fall weather that was supposed to turn sunny, but in typical Seattle style, it stayed cool and foggy. With a base tank underneath and arm warmers, the jersey’s technical fabric added a welcome layer of wind resistance, yet was very breathable so I didn’t stay cold and wet from my effort. If I’d been wearing a jersey with different fabric I would have been left freezing from the wind and fog or forced to put on another top layer (whoops, left that at home), but this jersey was all I needed. It’s billed as a summer jersey, but for transitional weather it would be perfect, too. I can’t imagine the investment, research, and testing Velocio performed to get the design to this level - someone finally got it right and I am so thankful! My top features of note:
1) Sizing - I’m normally a women’s X-Large/men’s Large and was really worried these bibs and jersey would be tiny European sizes I wouldn’t fit into very well. Being tall and muscular doesn’t always add up to a flattering fit, but like Cinderella going to the ball the XL size for both pieces is PERFECT. The bibs aren’t so long in the thigh to look like knickers, but not so short they look like hot pants. My hips slide in like they belong! I feel like these bibs were designed just for my build. In fact, if I wanted an even more compression fit I could probably squeeze into the women’s large. Maybe if I cut back on peanut butter. The jersey is also sized perfectly. It’s long enough to cover my waist, doesn’t ride up in the back when riding, and also accommodates hips! Finally, I have wide shoulders that normally don’t fit into women’s tops, and again I slid into the jersey like it was custom fit for me. Swoon!
2) Fabric - The bibs have a medium weight, compression feel that I can see lasting more than one season unlike many bibs I’ve worn in the past. “High end” fabric doesn’t always mean durable. These bibs have both. And the jersey’s fabric….like buttah.
3) Leg Band - This is always an area of concern for women. The bottom leg band is often thinner and tighter than we’d like. It’s designed for men who have less body fat in this region and results in the horrific “leg chub”. Ladies over 40 - you really know what I’m talking about. Velocio has the nicest leg band I’ve worn. It’s a +1” wide band and made from a thick, but forgiving black material that flatters the leg shape. I can wear these all day and not worry about what’s cutting off my lower leg.
4) Front Mesh Panel - At first I wasn’t sure the purpose of the front mesh panel. My mind wandered and thought, “Haha these are truly women’s-only because the mesh panel would be like a jail sentence for boys who need to pee! Now you have to strip!” After a few rides I came to love how the mesh panel kept the straps in place rather than having them move and droop around my shoulders. Even better, not once while in a riding position have I needed to pull up the front of my bibs that usually sag down under my belly. Brav-O.
5) Superfly Zipper - I was cycling in Italy a few weeks ago, just myself and some men. Not long into one ride I was anxiously looking for where I could pull over to pee. It was fall so I had a few layers on, as well as pockets full of extra clothing, food, phone, ID, etc. One of the things that sucks about needing to pee in the winter is stripping everything off and potentially losing something from your pockets while stripping (Phone? Gone. ID? Gone. Screwed!) I finally told my guide that I needed to pee like a racehorse, which made him crack a smile, and we found a suitable place for me to find relief. If I could relive that ride wearing these amazing bibs, I could have found a discreet place like the men, unzipped the Velocio zipper and squatted without worrying about exposure or stripping everything off and dumping items from my pockets. As for the zipper lying prone in a delicate, prominent area, you have no idea it’s there until you really need it. Easy pee-sy access and brilliant design.
6) Attention to Detail - So many thoughtful details went into the bibs and jersey designs: the small extra zipper pocket for keys or IDs on the middle jersey pocket; the stylish contrasting trim on the sleeves; the rubber gripper on the jersey edge so it doesn’t ride up; the small reflective tags; the zipper keepers. They’re all small, almost unnoticeable features, but they add up to a complete, well thought out package.
7) Navy Colored Bibs - Velocio was gracious enough to send both a black and navy pair of bibs. At first I thought, “Who wears navy?”. But again on my maiden voyage I thought, “”Who wants to wear black??!! This color is amazing!”. The navy isn’t too bright, and adds just the right amount of color to add some flattering style to your kit. They’re my favorite and the black ones whimper to come out to play, too.
GOTTA GO RIDE!
Yes, the best bibs and jersey I’ve ever used and I can’t wait to purchase more Velocio products. When you find a company that has invested in researching and designing successful products for WOMEN, how can you not? This is what we want the future to look like, not a future of more jerseys with two pockets and desperately looking for an old Roman wall to pee behind. Thank you Velocio for investing in us!!