By Molly McCoy
Tucked away in the corner of the Temescal Farmers' Market in Oakland, California, a woman sits at a foot-treadle sewing machine surrounded by handmade articles of clothing. Parked behind her is the Christiania rickshaw in which the machine, clothing, and tent arrived at market. Nan Eastep is a seasoned tailor and clothier who focuses most of her time and energy on creating hand-made apparel and accessories that are tailored specifically for bicycle riding. True to her ideals, her fabrics are sourced sustainably whenever possible and local seamstresses earn a living wage helping her with assembly.
In addition to a stylish application of color, fit, and design, Nan's Joyrider clothing line of commuter bike wear incorporates a surprising level of functionality. She adds attractive pleats for better range of motion, cinches to pants and sleeves, gussets for comfort, and pockets right where you never knew how much you needed one. While her current mainstays are smart wool knickers and waxed cotton rain coats, she also offers recycled wool arm warmers, and an innovative vest pack that distributes weight nicely. New creations are always under way. Years of experience have given Nan a discerning taste in materials: the wool of her knickers is of the highest quality and the waxed cotton she uses seasons with wear.
"If I can use my skills as a clothing maker to do business with an ecological conscience offering a product that seduces people to ride their bikes, I can trust that I am approaching the radicalism of the people who inspired me to do this work in the first place."
Nan is an inspiration to cyclists and others who strive to extract ourselves one bit at a time from an unsustainable culture.