Why Don't We Do It in the Road?

Blacktop Optional, Part I

Photograph by Eric Swanson    

Assos T Bib Shorts ($130; 847-465-8200, www.ochsnerusa.com)
The T Bib shorts from Assos use a luxurious, multidensity padded insert with tiny perforations that both babies your bottom and lets hot air out. The over-the-shoulder bib design keeps yer britches up without a tight waistband cramping your stomach.

Pearl Izumi Tempo Jersey ($75; 800-328-8488, www.pearlizumi.com)
Leave the baggy jerseys to the mountain bikers—roadies need snug tops that don't flap around in the wind. Pearl Izumi's formfitting Tempo jersey is made from Microsensor, a wispy fabric that lets air pass freely for maximum cooling. A traditional three-bay pocket out back lets you stash a windbreaker.
Giro Pneumo helmet ($160; 831-420-4010, www.giro.com)
All helmets meet the same safety standards, so you just need to think about fit and ventilation. Giro's Pneumo is tops for both. The vents, big enough to stick your hand through, bathe your sweaty scalp in cool air. The strap system cinches to the back of your head and adjusts with the squeeze of a ratcheting buckle.

Ritchey Deep Section WCS wheels ($530; 650-368-4018, www.ritcheylogic.com)
A fresh pair of wheels gets you the feel of a new bike without the cost of a whole new rig. These Ritchey hoops are light, strong, and fast. The weight savings comes from a low spoke count—16 in front, 20 for the rear. Strength comes via an offset rear rim that balances left and right spoke tensions equally for zero "dish," the Achilles' heel of other rear wheels. Fast indeed, the aerodynamic rim and bladed spokes slice through wind.

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