Forget the Stork--it's Sheila Moon who delivers!
Cycling clothing manufacturer Sheila Moon stopped by BicyclingHub.com headquarters last week to show us a sneak preview of her Winter 2011/Spring 2012 collections. Her latest brain-child? A new line of women's maternity cycling clothing, answering an unmet need (and multiple requests from many moms and moms-to-be across the country) who wish to remain active and healthy during their pregnancies and continue to ride their bikes, be it for transportation, exercise or recreation.
What makes women's maternity cycling clothes different than just ordering up a couple sizes--or switching over to an XL men's jersey, for example? When this question was posed, Moon enumerated the key differences:
1. "First of all, when women are pregnant, the size one's back doesn't change. These maternity cycling jerseys still retain their fit in the rear, maintaining a nice shape."
2. "Secondly, most traditional cycling jerseys normally go UP [so as not to hang down when you're folded over the handlebars]. My maternity jerseys are elongated in the front to go DOWN, cupping under the belly and eliminating any gapping between belly and short."
Also new for 2012: the introduction of knicker skorts, providing women an alternative choice with a second layer of fabric (and thus second layer of warmth) once cooler weather arrives. Fans of her traditional knee-length skort (introduced last year) will be pleased to see its return, this time with a bit of extra flair. In addition to the basic black and solid white colorways, Moon now offers a solid skirt overlay with a print pattern underneath (along with matching jerseys to compliment the ensemble): "It's a little kooky, but pretty awesome at the same time," Moon laughs.
Speaking of matching jerseys, come Spring 2012 all summer jerseys from Sheila Moon will offer a new, lightweight waffle fabric that feels and breathes incredibly well. The cycling dress, introduced only last year, is back with the same functional back pockets and five new color patterns and designs. Already on the fast-track to becoming a classic, one can easily transition from the commute into work to a meeting in the boardroom to a casual happy-hour gathering with friends--all without ever having to change your wardrobe.
Loyal fans will be pleased to learn Moon's entire line of cycling shorts, knickers and tights will their form-pleasing fit and non-elastic yoga waistbands will be returning in force. However, she's upped her game with the introduction of Sheila Moon cycling bib shorts for women for Spring 2012. "When I was racing and training a lot, I would always wear men's bibs," Moon recalled. "I couldn't stand the elastic waistband digging into me. For my women's bib shorts, my #1 goal was COMFORT. I designed the bib straps to go around the bust so it's not chafing; it goes around [the torso] as if it were a swimsuit." Unlike men's, these bib shorts were made specifically for women, factoring in female torso lengths and inseams into the equation. Another innovative new feature on these bibs is the IPhone-sized back pocket to stow important valuables.
We have history! Sheila Moon and BicyclingHub.com owner Doug Duguay met 8 years ago at a cyclocross race in Portland and have been doing business ever since. Sheila is one of our favorite suppliers. Both BicyclingHub.com and Sheila Moon have survived many years while other businesses in cycling apparel haven't made it.
Since founding her business in 2003, Sheila Moon Athletic Apparel has enjoyed a steady rise. Indeed, as of August 2011, the first half of the year's sales have equaled all of 2010, with a second production of jerseys needing to be run because they were sold out before May. Moon attributes to her success to reputation, brand recognition, and maintaining competitive pricing while still being based in the San Francisco Bay area. She also recognizes that while she's categorized in the bicycling industry, Moon regards her brand as residing in the apparel industry first and foremost, which guides her decisions on cuts, fabrics and styles. With the advent of the newly launched Women's Lounge at Interbike 2010, Moon feels that additional exposure introduced her to new markets where her brand would would do exceptionally well.
Sheila Moon's target audience for women's specific cycling gear? "Women who are athletes, but still want to look like a girl." Two guiding principles inform all of Sheila Moon's pieces:
1. "It's about FASHION. If you have clothes that are comfortable and make you feel good while riding, you're going to want to ride more."
2. "Women shouldn't be afraid of being strong and competitive while also being feminine. You can wear flowers and still go out and kick some booty."
Most of our 2011 Sheila Moon cycling apparel is currently on sale to make room for next season's arrivals. Check out our clearance items to stock up and save!