As a proud cycling father that has managed to turn 3 of his brood into cyclists, just like my own dad did, I’m constantly on the look out for children’s kit that works. A recent 10 mile family ride proved that Daddy was right when he said “wear your cycling shorts!”, to the six year old rebel. A lovely rash made said child realise that maybe, just maybe Dad knew what he was talking about.
And the shorts that he should have been wearing? They were part of a set from new kid on the block, Pere Performance Wear. Pere, named after the Peregrine falcon – the fastest member of the animal kingdom in case you were wondering – is the brainchild of Jackie Prothero and Lynne Karp. They have set out to produce quality sports clothing for children 5-12 years old.
With all the attention that cycling has been getting here in the UK, it’s not just mum and dad that are dusting off their bikes. Kids have started to catch the cycling bug too and with British Cycling providing plenty of opportunities for them to emulate their heroes, it’s not long before they want to look like them too. Finding good quality children’s cycle clothing has always been a bit hit and miss; not everyone carries it and if they do, its in limited supply. Things are getting better and with Pere entering the arena, that equals another available source of clothing.
Which brings us onto what the kit was like? Well it passed the first test, which was to see if the kids would wear it and it that passed that with flying colours, my 6 year old declaring that he would be wearing them to bed as well! The green to blue fade was a bit loud for me, but to be honest, I’m hardly the target audience at 47!
The jersey is made from polyester, with 3 rear pockets, gripper tape on the hem and a dropped lower back; all that you would expect on your own kit. The full length zip made getting it on and off a wriggling child easy and allowed him to get some cooling air while tackling hot, summer trails.
The shorts are made from a technical nylon stretch, pro fabric with flat lock seams, reflective logo, a cool-max pad and silicone leg grippers. The legs are cut a little high compared to adult shorts, similar to some women’s shorts, and the leg grippers are very grippy; so much so that you had to make a point of getting them up the thigh, otherwise they caused some comical baggyness!
Quality of the Pere clothing is high. They’ve survived a couple of cross races, various family rides and some tree climbing sessions, which has caused some piling and thread catching on the shorts. To be fair they aren’t advertised as climbing gear but you try telling that to my kids!
The only down side to Pere’s cycling kit that I can see is the price. At £34 for the shorts and £45 for the jersey, they’re aiming at the top end of the market. Most of the time my kids will be riding in ‘normal’ clothes, on the school run or out with mates. ‘Proper’ cycling kit is reserved for club sessions, races or long family rides, which would mean maybe 2 or 3 times a month and being summer gear, that’s not a lot of use, especially as kids have an annoying tendency to grow out of clothes very quickly. If you’re fortunate enough to have loads of kids that ride, then you can resort to hand-me-downs, but even so at this price these are a premium item. You could always buy a larger size and hope to get 2 seasons out of them, but that is a bit of a gamble.
The main thing for my kids was that they loved having ‘real’ cycling kit, just like dad’s, and getting them to wear it was never a problem, which for any parent is a major plus point.