Sea Otter Canada was a big hit from July 4 to 7. At the cycling festival in Blue Mountain, Ont., I took a look at some of excellent women’s specific gear, new and not so new, that was on display in the expo area.
Assos has come a long way throughout the past couple of years when it comes to women’s kit, which you could see in the range showcased at Sea Otter. Once considered somewhat of an afterthought, the women’s line is now launched alongside Assos’s men’s collection. From the race focused Laalalai range to the more casual Uma fit, there is something to suit every kind of rider. I especially liked the Assos Trail women’s short sleeve jersey and women’s XC short sleeve jersey. Available in three colours and focused more on comfort and movement than aerodynamics, the Assos Trail jersey is light, breathable and perfect for hot and sticky weather conditions. Still, trim and flattering, the loose cut is designed to accommodate pads and to move with you as you tackle the toughest of trails.
Sombrio has a full line-up of women’s gear in their 2019 range. With such a huge selection on offer, it was too difficult to choose one piece, so I narrowed it down to three.
The slim-fit Sombrio Valley jersey ($65) uses Chilly Mesh technology to keep you from overheating during glorious summer rides. The perforated fabric is treated with xylitol which actively cools when it comes into contact with your sweat.
Super soft, simple and versatile, the Sombrio Essential Tee ($30) is all that. A go-to basic tee, I’d be happy to have more than one of these in the closet.
We may have mentioned this before, but I simply couldn’t walk away without highlighting the shoes. The breathable, quick-drying, flat-pedal-oriented Sombrio Women’s Sender shoes ($120) will be available from December in Canada and the U.S. Designed with every ride in mind, the super sticky rubber soles keep your foot in place while the reinforced toes and heels offer impact protection and durability.
Osprey has set the bar pretty high with its Raven 14 ($200). As always, the company hasn’t simply made a women’s pack smaller than the men’s, but has designed the ergonomics to ensure greater comfort and stability for women specifically. The internal hydration sleeve and the AirScape ventilated back panel make the Raven 14 perfect for the longer, hot summer days in the saddle and versatile for shorter rides and less kit, too. Osprey seems to have covered everything with this pack; the LidLock helmet attachment will hold both standard and full-face helmets and the many pockets are complemented with a tool pouch and a stretch mesh for extra gear.
To say the Peppermint stand was popular would be an understatement. The Montreal-based brand was a big hit at Sea Otter Canada. Founders Michele and Veronik Bastien were there in person to offer advice and tips, together with their product innovator Laurier Balthazard. Immediately recognizable Peppermint’s colours and designs were vibrant and enticing. From skinsuits to socks, Peppermint showcased its full range at the event and encouraged women to take advantage of the special Sea Otter discount. Which many did. Many women participated in a Saturday-afternoon ride that was organized by Peppermint. Riders showed up in Peppermint’s range of styles and colours, everyone was in high spirits and had positive feedback.