Why yes, I am wearing my bicycle pants to the office…and hiking…and camping…A review of Bluff Works adventure-ready pantsby Samuel Hagler
You know those guys who go a year without breaking a sweat? You’ve seen them walking, bellies a swingin’, from one boring meeting to the next in some sprawling city where people get lost in thoughts about whether there is more to life than this. Well, unfortunately, you can do that in these pants if you want, and nobody would give you a second look. But if that’s all you’re going to do, you might as well go to the mall. Tell it hi for me. I’ll be the one on my bike— sprinting, braking, glancing over my shoulder, cursing, laughing, forgiving drivers, hoping they forgive me, and fighting for my little place in rush hour traffic.
I have a confession to make: I don’t much care about looking swanky. In fact, as a wilderness guide I get a secret satisfaction from watching my clients learn why. Maybe one of my clients ripped his Tommy vest on an Ocotillo thorn. Maybe his wife dropped her Coach purse in the mud at camp. Regardless, I love witnessing that moment when people realize their possessions should do more than advertise the fact that they spent a lot of money at the store a celebrity was paid to recommend.
The truth is, these Bluff Works slim-fittin’ trousers earn me all the love and respect that I couldn’t care less about from folks who spend their mornings tying uncomfortable double windsor cloths around their professional necks. But here’s the kicker: Underneath this charcoal-colored layer of relatively preppy pants, I have no problem maintaining spandex svelteness when necessary, not unlike you ladies who get a rush from wearing red thongs under your business suits. I feel like an off-duty superhero with an exciting secret.
Maybe you’ve heard about the guy who tried to marry his car. How romantic. Well, I can’t say I am enough of a buster to marry a piece of Bluff Works clothing, but I do recommend getting in their pants. They are simultaneously professional, athletic, attractive, and durable as a mother. During this review I did days of off-trail backpacking in the Grand Canyon, brushing up against spiny plants and climbing 40-grit sandstone without issue. I slept in them, woke up in them, rode my bike to meetings without changing clothes, and even went on a real life mountain bike ride in them. After a few days, they smelled like a sweaty campfire but looked like a million bucks. Yup, these are either the nicest looking athletic pants or the toughest fancypants I have ever worn.
Here are some details that normally wouldn’t matter much to me, but add up to give me my new favorite pair o’ pantalones:
1) Lighweight, breathable, quick-drying material that seriously doesn’t wrinkle.
2) A couple of optional zipper pockets. Keep the pocket-within-a-pocket zipped for one normal pocket, or unzip for a second pocket that can hold wily thangs more securely than Jesus’ tomb.
3) Quite simply a comfortable, ridiculously good looking fit.
4) Strong stitching and darn durable material. None of those buttons you see on other pants that are just held on by two threads. This is a strong, metal button. Same with the zipper. Real pants made to last in a made-to-break society? Rebels.
5) There’s just something about them. My new favorite hiking pants are also my new favorite meeting pants.
I know I’m just a random writer/rider to you. I know you have very little reason to trust what I say. So, here’s my story: I ride like there’s no tomorrow and I may even be one of those big-dreaming cyclists who thinks bikes can help play a part in ensuring there is a tomorrow. Magical qualities, indeed. I could hardly care less about the fancy factor of the clothes I wear, because I’m probably going to destroy them soon anyway. That’s what my clothes are for—living. The more extravagant the clothes, the more they hold me back in the ways that matter most to me. But these pants? I love these pants. Twofers. Suddenly I care about my clothes.
Never have I reviewed an item and immediately gone out to buy another of the thing I’m reviewing, but this time that’s exactly what is about to happen.
Samuel Hagler is a returned Peace Corps volunteer and founder of the Ride for Good Foundation. He is a master’s candidate studying Bicycle Activism in the M.A. Sustainable Communities program at Northern Arizona University, and enjoys mountain biking, commuting, and traveling the world by bicycle.