Shifty clothes on our racks, in the Times

SHIFTY bike fashion's 2010 line of jerseys

Echo Park-based SHIFTY line of cycling jerseys are now available at Flying Pigeon LA

We recently added some ladies cycling gear to our shop from SHIFTY, all of it designed and made in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, and instantly got picked up in an article in the Business section of the LA Times, “Urban cycling spawns its own peddlers” by Cyndia Zwahlen, published on August 30, 2010.

Shifty founder Jen Diamond of Echo Park makes a line of clothing for women that includes stretchy dresses and halter-style tops with reflective ribbon ties and belts.

It’s a contrast to the tight, logo-emblazoned jerseys worn for serious fitness training.

“You don’t have to change out of your bike jersey to feel comfortable in a restaurant,” said Diamond, who has no employees but collaborates on designs with two friends. Her tops sell for $65 online as well as at the Flying Pigeon and Orange 20 Bikes in Los Angeles.

Selling cycling gear is a tricky business in North America. It’s really easy to end up hustling clothes that makes cycling look like an exclusive club for stretchy pants-clad fanatics. These folks do exist, and their dollars do fund the large majority of business in the bike industry. However, our shop is dedicated to something different, something more in line with Mikael Colville-Andersen’s cycle chic or his slow bicycle movement. We feel that this is where cycling is headed – towards the citizen cyclist, running her daily errands, going to work, and being herself. When we carry “bicycle clothes”, like Jen Diamond’s SHIFTY line of jerseys, we’re looking for stuff that is free of … well, perhaps my quote in the article will say it better:

“It allows you to maintain an identity on your bike without having to be subsumed by the sporting image or aggressive-commuter image,” said Josef Bray-Ali, who owns the 2-year-old Flying Pigeon with his brother, Adam.

Which is also why we also carry a nice line of cycle bags from Chicago-based Po Campo; knickers, sweaters and shorts by L.A.-based Bicycle Fixation; t-shirts from J. Knice Clothing; and panniers and bags from Holland’s premier bag manufacturer, Basil.

It’s an exciting time to be involved in the bike industry. Cycling is a transportation solution to so much of what ails us in America’s great cities – and that idea, along with the shift in marketing and commodities that it engenders, is definitely news worth covering.

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3 Comments

  1. Posted September 3, 2010 at 3:57 am | Permalink

    I’m not sure what I think about those clothes: it’s a great idea to try and tackle the casual-cyclers market but people that don’t want to wear lycra to cycle aren’t going to want to ride specific cycle attire either… Those people will just wear their normal clothes on their bikes…

    Interesting to see how well this takes off though because the clothes ARE good!

  2. Posted September 3, 2010 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Yeah, it is a mixed market right now.

    There is room for clothes that is designed around cycling, that does improve your time in the saddle, that doesn’t scream “HELLO I RIDE BIKES”.

    A great example are the wool knickers we carry from Bicycle Fixation. If you ride a lot of miles, and want to take your dignity and a bit of style along for the ride, these are a great option.

    So far, things haven’t exactly been flying out the doors, but we’re seeing a growing number of people interested in cycling as a transportation choice. With that choice will come a shift in the gear (if any) needed to use a bike on a daily basis.

    SHIFTY and Bicycle Fiaxtion’s clothes are designed more for the randonneur, touring bike, long-haul city bike crowd – and that’s who well sell ’em to!

  3. Posted September 15, 2010 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    You surely don’t need to wear bike specific clothes for a casual ride but you can if you want to. I’ve ridden long rides (100+ miles) and short ones in the jerseys I have made. Other times I will wear whatever I have on. It’s the difference between swimming in cut off jeans or a bathing suit. You can swim in whatever you want. I have worn the highest heals riding and I have worn bike shoes. It depends on the day and on the ride. It is nice wearing clothes that are specific to the sport you are doing because someone considered what makes the garment work best for that sport. For biking it’s nice to have pockets, a longer back, quick drying fabric, sturdy, flat seams as well as a nice cut for a woman’s shape instead of man’s. Because I wear my own jerseys I have made adjustments to the patterns to suit my needs.

    Women don’t have as many choices for jerseys as men do which I realized when I was looking for some jerseys for the ALC 2005 ride. I sewed some for myself and then decided to make an entire crop of them. I did several fashion shows for Bike Summer and Bike Winter and mainly sold them and gifted them to friends. I received such a good response from those bike jerseys that I decided to market them to a larger audience.

    I sew the jerseys myself in my studio in Echo Park. I have ridden a bike my entire life. I was a messenger in Boston, New York and Philadelphia in the rain, snow, sleet and hail on and off for ten years. I made many different things to try to keep dry and warm. Now that I live in L.A. I concentrate more on comfort and fashion. I am inspired by Mod, punk and 19th Century women’s bike fashions.

    Jen Diamond
    proprietor SHIFTY