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The Discerning Cyclist team recently embarked on a trip. We started in Vancouver, before driving, cycling and in some cases, stumbling across the west coast of America, in a quest to uncover the best locations for cyclists longing for that big city life over the Atlantic.
Despite the endearing rustic and rugged seaside feel to Seattle, the fascinating Portland landscape entrenched in excellent eateries and the mind-blowing beauty of the San Francisco coastline – it was Vancouver that impressed a couple of small-town Brits the most.
We’ll get into why that’s the case later, but this beautiful seaport city also happens to be home to DUER (formerly Dish & Duer), a company making a big splash in the fashion-meets-function apparel industry. Its aim, they say, is to “make life simpler by designing for the modern, active individual who wants to maximize performance without sacrificing style”.
This sounded right up our street, so we dropped by before we headed out on two wheels to explore the city, and had a look behind the scenes at their headquarters to understand more about their approach, what they look for in their products, and how a passion for cycling led founder Gary Lenett to embark on an exciting journey.
The home of DUER is located on 118 West Hastings Street, and, much like you’d expect from an innovative fashion designer, it is unique. Stylish clothes are neatly stored in compact wooden shelf-like compartments, swings hang from wooden beams across the ceiling and cycling memorabilia is dotted around the room to help complete a fulsome homage to the great outdoors.
Whilst being recommended some places to visit (which we’ll get to later), we were invited to test some of their best stuff ahead of our day trip. I was handed a No Sweat Pant Slim, and what hit home first was the flexibility of the fabric, which enabled a comfortable feel. They hugged your skin, but not too tightly, whilst the classic design meant it was hard to believe they would be worn for any other reason than a day at work, or a smart night out on the town.
What was just as impressive though, was the palpable substance behind the aesthetics. Designed from a superior N2X fabric, the pant boasts robust technical functionality and TENCEL fibres, with microscopic pores that absorb any moisture away from the skin and into the fabric.
They looked the part, so after a day on the bike, I tested them out in some of Vancouver’s best bars and restaurants. I felt sharp, and was told I looked so later on by some new friends we had met in our hostel – a timely and welcome boost to the ego if ever there was one.
The other member of the team went for a No Sweat Short in a tobacco colour. Describing it as very stretchy and comfortable, the product appeared to align comfort and practicality with style. The signature invisible DUER seat gusset offers a greater range of motion, which also prevents crotch blow outs. The fabric is reinforced by triple stitched inseams and double layered back pockets, to ensure longevity while moisture-wicking pocket bags are designed to improve comfort.
These, and many of their other garments, appear to heed the vision of the aforementioned founder, Lenett. He singled out versatility as a key element to his products, which would “allow people to take advantage of the outdoors without losing the style points and do all you can do in a day without changing your clothes”.
Heeding those words, we headed out into Vancouver feeling as smart as one could on hired bikes. We were recommended a cycle around Stanley Park, and after a short burst across bike-friendly roads, we were treated to what has to be up there with one of the most stunning cityscapes in the world.
Stretching right around a magnificent green oasis, the park ride combines scenic views of the Salish Sea, incredible mountain ranges, a vibrant wildlife, a variety of cultural landmarks and beautiful beaches. It proved a fantastic way to spend the day.
If that wasn’t enough to win us over, the city boasts an unbelievably eclectic range of restaurants and bars, which can be found in abundance around the Yaletown and Gastown districts. In terms of cycleability, natural surroundings and nightlife, the Discerning Cyclist would be right at home in Vancouver.
Dish & DUER was started in 2013 by Lenett alongside his long-time friend Abid Hafeez. Both had experience at big name companies, including Levi Strauss, and both have helped the company come a long way in a short time. Having launched their first permanent retail store in the heart of Vancouver inn 2016, they secured their first European retailers in July 2017, and claim the ‘best is yet to come’. After what we saw, it is hard to disagree.