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Gear Guy

Is there an alternative to skin-tight bicycling tights?

I'm 55 and like to ride bikes. Here near Lake Michigan in late spring, it's often sunny and cool. I see a lot of die-hard bikers wearing tights, but I'm not there anything else I can wear? I tried tennis warm-ups, but they're too slippery on the bike seat. Stu Highland Park, Illinois

A: Yeah, but that Spandex is sleek! Makes you go faster! Still, I see your point. It isn't always the most becoming thing to wear.

You do have some options. Probably the best is the Tokyo Tight from Pearl Izumi. It's a mid-weight polyester-Spandex tight suitable for temps in the 30s and 40s—and lower with a light underlayer—but is built more like a pant than a tight, with a somewhat loose fit. You'll look like you're wearing clothes, not a coating of black paint. Price is $80 ( Cloudveil's Highline Tights ($90; are similar in styling, and are made with a new-generation temperature-regulating fabric for comfort across a wide range of temps.

You could also try the Patagonia Jackalope Pant ($85;, a sports-oriented pant that's suitable for bicycling, although it might (emphasis on "might") require an ankle clip to keep the lower part of the pants out of the chainring. Otherwise they're a slim-cut pant designed with active pursuits in mind, made of a very tough and stretchy Cordura twill. Plus, they come in khaki, rather than just black like the Pearl Izumi and Cloudveil tights.

So, don't be shy, go get yourself some nice new tights. You'll look like an adult, but ride and feel like a kid!

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