The First Ascent Journey Cargo Bibs are more than just bibshorts with cleverly located pockets, they’re super comfortable too writes Seamus Allardice.
I’ve had the First Ascent Podium Cycling Bibs for a while and my first thought when pulling the Journey Cargo Bibs on was that they were pretty much the same, but with pockets. This is a great thing because the Podium Cycling Bibs are among the most comfortable bibshorts I’ve ever worn. And the bibs they’re competing with cost at least R1 000 more.
Upon closer inspection the reason for the similar feeling between the Podium and Journey Cargo bibs is the cut and the ultra-comfortable GTR-3D chamois. The chamois is the definite highlight of both First Ascent bibs and after hundreds of kilometres with it protecting my most sensitive areas, I can honestly highly recommend it. In addition to that key feature the Journey Cargo Bib boasts an teVolé Elastane construction and moisture wicking technology. The elastane provides a good, compression, feel on the legs and the mesh back combined with the moisture wicking fabric throughout ensures you remain cool on the bike.
The main point of difference between the Podium and Journey Cargo bibs is of course the latter’s pockets. They have a mesh pocket on each leg, located on the outside of your quads, and two back pockets, nestled on your lower back. The leg pockets are super easy to reach and I used them to carry my GoPro and snack bars during a couple of bikepacking trips. For someone who takes a lot of photos and videos from the bike not having to reach into a back pocket for my action camera was a great relief. I’ve crashed many-a-time taking photos, but never reaching for a camera. I have felt it’s only a matter of time though… so the Journey Cargo bibs are likely to save me from future scrapes and bruises at the very least.
The back pockets are a little harder to reach. As you would expect. But they’re ideal for storing things you need less frequently on a ride, like your cell phone. The difficulty of reaching the back pocket is increased or decreased based on your choice of riding top. As someone who like to bikepack in a First Ascent Nueva Long Sleeve Shirt this isn’t a particularly big issue, as the loose and billowy shirt allows easy access to the pockets. A tighter t-shirt may make reaching into them a little harder. But if you’re adventuring, you’re in no rush anyway. So, stop and dig what you need out of the back pockets with your feet securely on the ground.
That said more bibs need back pockets. Trail shirts typically only have one small pocket which struggle to fit a phone. This makes the Journey Cargo Bib ideal for trail riders, who don’t like wearing traditional Lycra cycling tops. Or for riders who prefer to wear t-shirts.
All told the First Ascent Journey Cargo Bibs are definite winners. They’re comfortable and functional (without being unfashionable). Check them out on the First Ascent website: www.firstascent.co.za. At the time of writing (March 2021) they retailed for R2 499 and were only available in a men’s cut. First Ascent assure me that a women’s version is in the pipeline, if the market proves receptive to the men’s Journey Cargo Bibs.