An event to celebrate women’s cycling that is hosted by Assos? Am I dreaming?
As a women’s cycling journalist, I’ve long been aware of cycling clothing brand ASSOS of Switzerland – I’d like to say it was because of the great product, but actually it was because of some of the cringe-worthy imagery that used to be on its website. To sum it up, think ‘Page 3 does bib shorts’.
So notorious was this site that, for me, ASSOS came to represent all that was wrong when it came to marketing our beloved sport to women. We wanted images that reflect the joy of being a female cyclist -ASSOS gave us a topless model in Lycra.
But there was a dilemma too: it would have been easy to ignore ASSOS in the hope that it would just quietly go away, had it not been for the fact that the brand actually makes really great product. They’re not a brand any of us wanted to boycott.
ASSOS was founded in the 1970s, and has always focussed on creating a premium (i.e. great quality but expensive) product based on technical innovation. Most famously, for example, they were the first to use lycra in cycling shorts.
The black and white Swiss giant makes kit for USA cycling, supplies the leaders jerseys for the Cape Epic, and developed specific new products for the Swiss Cycling Federation that helped Fabian Cancellara and Nino Schurter win gold at Rio 2016.
Speaking from rather more humble personal experience, my other-half has owned anASSOS jacket for over ten years. It’s admittedly the most expensive riding garment he’s ever possessed, but it is also the only garment in his kit that has lasted that long, and its still going strong.
So I’m very happy to report that it seems our protestations have not gone unnoticed.