Why are all biking tights and shorts black? I'm not in mourning! Where can I get more colorful red or blue ones? Rob Fairbanks, Alaska
These days, bikes are generally much more reliableone can ride for many days without having to repair a broken chain or even fix a flat. So black shorts are much less of a necessity, although I prefer them simply because they match everything. I do have some khaki touring and mountain-bike shorts, however, and they look a little more stylish. And khaki still seems to be the preferred "alternative" color for most loose-fitting mountain-bike shorts, such as the Zoic Calavares ($70; www.zoic.com). And they're nice shortslow-bulk liner, pockets for stuff such as energy gels, tough cotton twill, gussetted crotch.
On the other hand, Zoic's Yuba shorts ($45) come in a dark blue, so that might cheer your spirits a little. And there's also the Nema Stone shorts ($75; www.nema-usa.com), which are black with dark red panels on the side for some real color. So it doesn't have to be black or khakia few makers are adding a little color to mountain-bike shorts.
Check out Outside's Gear of the Year winners in the 2005 Buyer's Guide, then get yourself a copy of the issue, on newsstands now!