Technical sportswear is a relatively recent idea: purpose-built clothing intended to be worn exclusively for the particular demands of a specific activity. Not long ago people wore to play mostly the same things they wore to work, or even at home, sometimes because that’s all they had to wear in the first place, and sometimes because people had to consider social dress codes that meant comfort and performance took back seats to tradition and proprietary.
But let’s not mourn the days when we couldn’t wear shorts in public, or celebrate too loudly that today, not only are jackets not required at dinner, but sometimes sleeves aren’t either. Instead, let us now praise the harmonious marriage of form and function in a line such as Hideto Suzuki’s PEdALED, established in 2007 in Japan to address the needs of the modern cyclist. “I expect my clothes to give me good performance,” says Suzuki. He works to “create outfits that are technical and comfortable. I don’t just stick to natural fiber and a rustic aesthetic when designing. The important thing for me is the harmony of the natural and technological fibers, and outfits that incorporate both.”
In practice, that philosophy means thoughtful functionality in clothes that don’t need to show it off (so, no technical overkill or musty traditionalism). Wool blend jackets with English country DNA, lined with Windstopper fabric. Shirts with ergonomically aware cuts that look appropriate on a leisurely upright ride but won’t bind if you’re in the drops. Accents done in leather from Brooks England, with whom PEdALED has been collaborating since 2010. Many pieces are made in Japan, because “PEdALED was born in Japan. It is important for me to show the world the excellent craftsmanship of Japanese manufacturers.” Suzuki designs PEdALED as “suitable for going to work, popping in at cafes and bars, and short trips over the weekend.”
For those of us on our bikes every day, rain or shine – commuting, working, and training – PEdALED fits like a custom-built frame. For those of us who have a bike, somewhere, in the back of the garage (by the paint cans, I think?) PEdALED works and looks exceptional off the bike, too.