The gravel scene is a pretty relaxed affair; certainly when compared to road riding, where suffering and sock length both seem to matter more than perhaps they should. Enter the world of gravel and as the terrain gets a little looser, so do the shorts, the rules and the prevailing attitude.
The new range of gravel shirts from Australian brand Cycology should be right at home.
Capturing the devil-may-care spirit of gravel, the range of men's and women's shirts appear to be as versatile as the fatter-tyred gravel bikes themselves. At first glance they look like they’re designed strictly for the after party - something that gravel races are pretty fond of.
With a traditional shirt collar and button up front, featuring a suitably relaxed fit of course, it’s a shirt to kick back in, drink a few beers and reflect on the day’s adventure with friends old and new. The designs, which Cycology describes as ranging from ‘mild’ to ‘wild’, reflect this too.
‘Totally Cactus’ has a certain ‘Fear and Loathing’ vibe, featuring hand drawn spiky succulents, scorpions and skulls, while ‘Tijuana’ eulogizes the Baja border town that certainly knows a thing or two about partying, with a Mexican folk art theme that’s also used for the women’s ‘Frida’ shirt, a nod to legendary Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.
The most overtly two-wheeled design is the ‘Legend’ shirt. Here you'll find depictions of road racing G.O.A.T Eddy Merckx alongside drawings of bikes and other ‘positive cycling affirmations’. The back of the shirt reads, ‘Live 2 Ride. Ride 2 Live’.
And it turns out these shirts are indeed designed for riding, despite first appearances suggesting they might be better suited to propping up bars rather than holding them. Made from a technical fabric that's 90% Denier polyester, 10% spandex, it features a four-way stretch fit that Cycology says “performs beautifully both on and off the bike”.
The shirts also offer attributes found in more traditional cycling jerseys. The aforementioned fabric is designed to be both lightweight and breathable, as well as offering SPF 50+ sun protection, and also has two lower-sided pockets with zips to keep valuables safe and an additional front pocket for further storage. However, unlike a figure hugging Lycra jersey, the duality of the Cycology’s gravel shirt means that when the ride is over, it’s ready to get sociable.
Cycology’s Gravel shirt range features the three new men’s designs mentioned to add to the previous three and a new women’s range, which also features two more designs to go alongside ‘Frida’: ‘Majolica’ is inspired by the blue and white ceramics of Italy and Portugal, while ‘Secret Garden’ is a bright floral pattern, previously used on the brand’s cycling jerseys. Both the men’s and women’s Gravel shirts are available in a wide range of sizes from XS to 2XL.
The shirts, like gravel bikes in general, are likely to divide opinion. A sartorial expression of the freedom of gravel? Or best left for Elvis impersonators and stag parties? We’ll let you be the judge of that.
For more information visit cycologygear.com
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Luke Friend has worked as a writer, editor and copywriter for over twenty years. Across books, magazines and websites, he's covered a broad range of topics for a range of clients including Major League Baseball, the National Trust and the NHS. He has an MA in Professional Writing from Falmouth University and is a qualified bicycle mechanic. He fell in love with cycling at an early age, partly due to watching the Tour de France on TV. He's a passionate follower of bike racing to this day as well an avid road and gravel rider.