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In the Drops: Oakley’s latest sunglasses, Chrome commuter shorts, Pas Normal Studios kit

!!! TGI ItD !!! - because no Friday is complete without our In the Drops kit roundup

James Spender
17 Jun 2022

Tomorrow in 1928, American aviator Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic; in 1815, Napoleon was defeated by Wellington at the Battle of Waterloo; and in 1940, Churchill gave his 'This was their finest hour' speech. And as for me, you may ask, what will I be doing on June 18th 2022? 

Well I will be riding 275km across the belly of Italy, from Cesenatico in the east to Tirrenia in the west. It’s the longest day of the year (ish – summer solstice is actually Tuesday 21st June), and the event is Chase the Sun Italia, and you can guess how it works: ride from sun up and hopefully get back in time for tea/no later than sundown.

We covered the UK South version last year, so I’m hoping for slightly better weather and slightly more bucolic views than Croydon (though I jest, the Chase the Sun UK South route is really very lovely – and much longer, 333km anyone?).

But I digress, because today is Friday 17th, and that means it’s In the Drops! I know, after this week, can you contain yourself either? 

We've revisited the legendary Jacques Anquetil and Raymond Poulidor side-by-side battle on the Puy de Dôme in 1964.  

Emma Cole blessed us with the beauty of her Cannondale R1000 for the latest in our What We Ride series as the new 1,285g Fulcrum Speed 25 climbing wheels dropped. Not literally.

But that was then, this is now, I am still James and here is In the Drops.


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Oakley Sutro Lite Sweep (Vented)

Like Imelda Marcos to a pair of Manolo Blahniks, I’m a sucker for a pair of sunnies, especially if they’re styled on the pair that set the cycling tone back in 1984, the Oakley Factory Pilot Eyeshade.

Sure, I don’t wear them nearly so well as Ol Blue Eyes, but I can but dream and I can but be impressed – yet again – at the incredible clarity of Oakley’s Prizm lenses.

A lot of other companies have since followed suit, but Prizm led the way for ride-tuned lenses, those where specific tints filter certain light wavelengths to boost contrast in certain conditions. As such, a road lens (tarmac being variations on grey) boosts contrast in a different way to an off-road lens (where the dominant colours are brown and green).

However, all this is ultimately by-the-by because the main thing is the Sutro Lite Sweeps are super cool. They’re essentially half frame Sutros (hence the ‘Lite’) with pared back lenses (hence the ‘Sweep’) and they’re vented (in brackets) because look, holes.

My jury’s out as to the efficacy of the holes – do they let rain in? Yes. Do they stop fogging? Maybe. But I do rather like the retro aesthetic. I’m also a big fan of the non-slip arms, where silicone is stuck to the inside of the arms, unlike a regular Sutro where the arms are smooth.

  • Buy Oakley Sutro Lite Sweeps

  

Pas Normal Studios Escapism kit

Go to Denmark where Pas Normal heralds from and Pas Normal Studios is everywhere, and it seems to be gaining ground here too – I’m seeing it more and more and there’s a certain ‘if you know, you know’ look to the riders wearing it.

I’m less of a fan of that kind of perspective, but I can’t fault Pas Normal for it. The kit is downright superb. It is downright expensive, but the feel is opulent without being too chunky-knit and the comfort is up there with the best of ‘em (subjectivity of course being key).

The Escapism kit has a gravel/all-road bent, comprising polyester/wool blend jersey with relaxed cut and high-density weave and bibshorts that promise to be abraision resistant. They also pack thigh pockets because gravel riders are more practical than road riders and like to carry OS maps down their legs. Or something.

I like thigh pockets though, they are really useful when you need them and completely forgettable the rest of the time.

Chrome Industries Folsom 2.0 shorts

Where would summer be without Chrome Industries shorts? I still have a pair from several years back, September 2019 to be precise, the Chrome Natoma. They were very expensive and they have lasted brilliantly, which justifies the £120 pricetag.

However they were blue, and green shorts are in I’m told, so these Chrome Folsom 2.0 shorts in olive have been a wonderful addition to my summer wardrobe. At £126 they’re pricier still, but I’d argue in the context of cycling and lower half coverings, the Folsom 2.0s are reasonable – if these were bibs and cost £126 we’d say that was relatively standard.



And yet, I guarantee these will last longer than any bibshorts. They’re made from a light, robust four-way stretch fabric that flexes when pedalling, and the gusset (read bum bum) is reinforced to make sure you they don’t get holes in after frantically riding to work or trying to catch last orders.

They’re kind of waterproof too in the DWR way, but more’s the point if they do get wet in a sudden downpour (of which I have suffered many) they don’t retain too much moisture and hence dry quickly.

There’s a reinforced beltloop in case you want to carry your D-lock like a messenger, or perhaps you are a messenger. However I’d say as much as these are commuter-aimed, they are brilliant gravel shorts too, such is the degree of flex in the fit and the light yet rip-stop strong quality of the material.

Available in two short leg lengths. 

Now go and enjoy some cycling. I hear it's gonna be hot. Spare a thought for little old me. 

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