Known for riding off the front of group rides only to be caught in the first mile, CJ got back on a road bike and realized he must win the Donut Derby at least once in his life. Regularly pledging he's "not a climber," he can be found as a regular attendee of Trexlertown's Thursday Night Training Criterium or sitting on the couch watching Paris-Roubaix reruns. CJ has been a constant rider of the Hell of Hunterdon in New Jersey and races the Tour of the Battenkill before going into seasonal hiding on cross-country ski trails.

Review: Belgian Boys Club ‘High Tops’ Bundle Socks

Review: Belgian Boys Club ‘High Tops’ Bundle Socks

(2015) On my most recent ride I felt a superb sensation. It was not the feeling of gaining a KOM on Strava, nor was it the result of the setting summer sun, although that was a bonus. Of all things, it was the feeling of a cooling breeze passing through my cycling shoes. I had not felt this sensation in quite a long time; to feel it was cause for rejoicing. The makings of this sensation actually began when I was gifted a three-pack of cycling socks from the Belgian Boys Club. Touted as the ‘Home of Belgian Cycling,’ their website hosts beautiful pictures, cycling-inspired avatars, and some serious merchandise. There were numerous appealing apparels, particularly, at the time, the BBC Koppenberg kit (since sold out). It was an all-black affair with one white cuff on the bibs and jersey, respectively. The collar reminded the rider to go “Full Gas.” The left side was contrasted with the Belgian colors around the bottom of the bibs. The simplicity was attractive. They again lived up to their word ‘Limited Edition Cycling Apparel” with an attractive Belgian-blue “Belgie” jersey. I could see Tom Boonen wearing this while sitting on his back deck sipping coffee and eating frites. I think that’s a complementary combination.

Once the weather turned attractive to wear these well-ventilated socks, I pulled them on with ease. Believe it or not, each sock comes with a label of left and right (written in Belgian), the Lion of Flanders on the top of the foot, and the Belgian flag for the outside of the calf. All three options come with a black toe area and red stripe divider. They come in wit (white), geel (yellow), and/ or zwart (black) options or one can get all three. These socks look great and they feel great, too. When the ride is over, these socks come off with the greatest of ease compared to other brands.

One aspect about these socks is their height. They are tall. On a scale of not visible to Johnny Hoogerland, these socks are right there with Johnny Hoogerland sock height. They rest nearly halfway between the ankle and bottom of the knee. Best of all: they stay there. The compression of the socks doesn’t interfere with the ride. Slip them on and forget about them. After all, they’re socks.

But they remind one of their presence while one is pedaling through farm country and suddenly a breeze filters through the cycling shoe - and ultimately - the sock proper. This is the first time I can remember a sock has provided ventilation such as this. What’s interesting is the fact that an apparel company from Belgium, a country noted for some of the worst riding weather, would create such a comfortable warm weather-riding sock. It was a welcome reminder on warmer days.

The Belgian Boys Club does not stop at socks. This company offers cycling hats, jerseys, base layers, gilets, wind jackets, and occasional bundles with a heavy Belgian theme. They are public about the fact that these items are designed in Belgium but constructed in Italy. It is advised to snatch up whichever item looks appealing as soon as possible. While the socks serve their purpose in the kit rotation, there is an empty hanger in the cycling closet that would have had a powder blue Belgian jersey hanging on it (since sold out). For now, I’d like to think Mr. Boonen grabbed the last one – which wouldn’t be so bad after all.

Review: Castelli’s Formula Full Zip Jersey Gulf Race

Review: Castelli’s Formula Full Zip Jersey Gulf Race

Essay: On the Worst Position in Sport

Essay: On the Worst Position in Sport