“Designed by Apple in California, Assembled in China”. If you are reading this post on an iPhone or iPad, that is what is printed on the back. The Kindle Fire is not any better with the line “Assembled in China”. Long ago we lost a majority of electronics manufacturing to Asia along with many other goods, but lately if you look at a tag for cycling gear, production for that type of product is also migrating out of the U.S. This is not the case with every company that designs and sells cycling apparel. One company that we have mentioned a few times, Elevengear Cycling Lifestyle, still believes in the concept of designing AND manufacturing their apparel in the same country, not out sourcing to the cheapest sweatshop.
Elevengear, based in Sebastopol, California, has created some very unique designs. They have shunned the idea of licensing past or present team kits and for that matter, any design that resembles a rolling billboard. Their designs are whimsical. Though a few jerseys and shorts appear like they are from a team kit at first, upon closer examination of the subtle message come through. The Republic of Anaerobia National Team Jersey for example seems like it was part of a kit from a former Eastern Bloc country, but look a little closer and the joke becomes clear!
If even appearing like a team rider doesn’t interest you, Elevengear has you covered. From the Haiku jersey that features, as you probably guessed Haikus loosely relating to cycling, to the Beef jersey whose designed was inspired by the brand of the Rocking-11 Ranch, there are a number of choices for riders not wanting to wear just plain black.
Along with their jerseys and shorts that contain cleaver messages, Elevengear also produces some high visibility gear. If you are not a fan of riding in a fluorescent yellow jersey so that automobile drivers can see you better, the Coral Snake or Traffic Master jerseys may be of interest. Both jerseys feature bright, vivid colors in a pattern that draws the eye and features reflective strips when the light level gets really low. These features can help you be even more visible to motorists while out on the road without looking like a highlighter on wheels.
Lastly, and my personal favorite, is their product line under the name Race Numbers. This one is pretty awesome for those of you who have been in many competitions or events where a Tyvek race number is required. Often those numbers are pinned to the wall in your garage or gear room after the event with no real second use in mind. Now you can show them off. Mail in your old Tyvek race numbers and for a fee, Elevengear will sew them into a cycling cap or windbreaker. The cycling cap takes 5 numbers and the windbreaker takes upwards of 50. Don’t have enough? For a little bit more, they will supply the required amount to manufacture the garment. The downside? You might get disqualified for wearing your new jacket at your next event!
The only product that Elevengear sells that is not made in America is their Thermal Mug – that is made in China, but the printing is done in America.. Even their t-shirts and temporary tattoos that are shipped with some jerseys are made somewhere in the U.S. The idea of domestic manufacturing is important to them, just checkout each product page on their website. Somewhere in there you will find where the item is made. But if where a product is made doesn’t concern you, the bottom-line is that Elevengear has some very unique looking items that are stylish and in some cases, help you be more visible at the same time.