Wearing Team Kit on the Bike

Whilst out on a recovery ride the other day i overtook a rider in full sky team kit, riding a pinarello in sky colours. i thought for a moment it might be one of the continental pros, back doing a bit of a loosener, visiting the family in bristol before heading up north for the national road race championships. however, he climbed like a sack of potatoes and rode like a crab. so i guessed at this point that it wasn’t geraint thomas.

the benefits of wearing teamkit:

it will be generally quite well made. there might be an exciting ‘colourway’.

the pitfalls of wearing teamkit:

1. you might find yourself drawn to a lovely jersey, perhaps a nice lurid astana number, only to watch aghast as the team you are proudly representing on the mean streets of aztec west descend into some kind of sordid drugs scandal, thus tainting you by association. similarly, if you’re knocking around in discovery kit with a pair of spangly yellow oakley jawbones because you think Lance was the chosen one and rode on bread and water,  you may come in for a bit of stick.

2. the polka dot/rainbow jersey conundrum – it’s not strictly teamkit, but you do see more than a few riders sporting either the rainbow bands or the polka dots. i guess this is because they are aesthetically not too bad, although one of the key aspects of becoming a cyclist is that aesthetics tend to go out the window when wearing lycra shorts showing a shadowed outline of your crown jewels to the awe-struck hoi-polloi during the walk of shame*. but anyway, if you opt for the polka dots you better make sure you’re a proper mountain goat at the very least, or face tittering and comments of ‘allez lucien‘ as others pass you. i draw the line at the rainbow bands. these are for world champions. you shouldn’t be wearing this stuff unless you’re a world champion. one way around it might be to draw up a starkly irregular distance time trial, say, the 7.543 mile, designate it the world championship race, then ride off with the spoils.

3. whilst out in your sky teamkit you may come up against a team sky rider in their teamkit. unlikely i know, but certainly a possibility. i’d find this more than a bit embarrassing. you could always hop on their wheel and cling on until you have a hernia and cough up your left ventricle at the same time. once, when riding the parcours of paris-roubaix (bit of  name-drop there, i was out to watch the race and rode a bit the day before) i came across a line of cervelo test team riders. from afar i twitched with excitement, it was the real team! on the road! and yet as i got closer there was no roger hammond, no thor hushovd, in fact, i didn’t recognise any of them. and then i began to question just why i was able to overtake. at which point i realised it was a bunch of portly merchant bankers on some kind of hospitality junket. my dreams were crushed.

4. cycling is an aesthetic endeavour. decisions are often made on aesthetics alone. when kitting out my cervelo, i have to admit that some of the decisions were taken with ‘how will it look’ as one of the factors. this means it’s fairly snobby. i’m kind of snobby about team kit. incidentally, i’m not snobby about DhB kit, which is cheap and great. i’m just the tip of the iceberg in terms of cycling snobbiness. if you don’t want to be bullied for wearing team kit, then i suggest you either don’t wear it, or get to such a stage that you are riding for the aforementioned team. there is a simple solution to all of this; join a club and wear their jersey with pride (there is some irony in this last bit).

alternatively, just ignore the haters and enjoy yourself. at the very least your goochular region should be free from chafage.

* walk of shame – or the perp walk, the distance between the bike shed and the changing room (or toilet/cupboard) that must be travelled in cyclo-fetish gear. the longer the distance, the more likely a colleague may benefit from a proper lycra floor show at 7.30am.

5 thoughts on “Wearing Team Kit on the Bike

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  1. Same sort of person that wears a club football shirt, with someone else name on the back and a 42 inch waist in front. Any sort of club kit only looks good if under 15 years old.

  2. The wearing of the rainbow, yellow, pink, green and polka dot jerseys really bugs me, I know it shouldn’t but it does. Only the person who has earned the right to wear them should be pulling them on.

    One time (at band camp) there was a rider parading round pre-race in the rainbow jersey, with me thinking all sorts of unprintable thoughts about him. I later found out it was Darren Kenny, multiple gold medal and world championship winning rider. I was very glad that I had kept my feelings to myself!

    On a similar theme, the yellow jersey wearer should only be in a yellow jersey, not yellow shorts, shoes, gloves and on a yellow-painted bike as well. Again, I know that shouldn’t make me angry but it does.

  3. I disagree completely and find this post somewhat offensive. It is a wholesale example of what is truly wrong with bike riding in the UK . Frankly, it has become apparent by reading this blog that you are a very capable bike rider who has ability to turn circles in a way others can only dream of. However, people can live that dream – even if it is solely based on the visuals of a team kit that may make that person feel good about themselves, inspired, happy, crab like or not.

    Team kits are aspirational too, and most if not all know that they will never ever have the ability to wear one as a team member but they can still ride with the wind at their backs wishing that they could ride like ‘a pro’. In these dull times, fantasy is all some of us have.

    The lamentable argument you have regurgitated here is out of date (I am aware you wrote this in mid 2011) , outmoded and with teams such as SKY / GARMIN trying to emulate football clubs in kit sales to generate revenue I say good luck to them and the person buying/wearing it.

    Perhaps there in-lies the issue in that the average football fan can barely grunt an argument – but your average well educated Times reading bike rider often has, much like you, overly verbose vernacular to talk tripe and fall into the cliched trap that others so often do. That said, I do find your blog wonderfully written to I commend you on that.

    Reading between the lines I believe you are a teacher? If yes, shame on you! Whilst educating our future politicians, look up the word humility and try, in the least, to use it. Had you stopped to say hello you may well have discovered that the person in SKY kit was actually a decent fellow.

    All the best, stay safe out there. And say hello next time you pass me on my Pinarello. Finally, I have never ever completed the Times crossword. Epic fail as the Youth might say….

    1. hi joe,

      thank you for taking the time to write this post. good for you with the cycling dreams, the joy of riding fast, and so on. good luck to people wearing team kit. however, i feel you’ve missed the point a bit here. i do mention cycling snobbishness, repeatedly, and have my tongue firmly in cheek. i avoid the clichés and instead aim for the funny bone. and i’m sorry, but it’s really not ‘a wholesale example of what is truly wrong with bike riding in the UK’, that’s reckless hyperbolé.

      i presume you’ve read the rest of this blog, and i presume therefore that by reading between lines you’ll be able to infer that i am humble, and in fact, often very very self-deprecating. i don’t read the times and have never started or completed the times crossword. you’ll also realise that i have had issues in the past with my club kit, hence the reference to irony near the end.

      but really, ultimately, this post is simply not offensive. i can do offensive, quite easily, and i choose not to.

      happy cycling,


      1. Perhaps that is the American in me then? (go Lance).

        I missed the subtle irony as it sounded like an assault on the people who choose to wear team kit. Also, I was surprised to find you ride with someone who wears a set of the rather odd and overpriced Jawbone glasses.

        I hope you give him suitable grief and perhaps call him Jeff Goldblum?

        In the meantime, I do appreciate your reply. As I have said, you clearly are a wordsmith and I wish not to get drawn into an argument as my intellect is limited at best. I do however like self-deprecating humour too. I understand Les Dawson was very good at it. I met Bob Monkhouse once. He was an arrogant man. Vic Reeves often makes me laugh out loud.

        Anyway, so long as people enjoy riding and our sport continues to grow, great news, irrespective of the choice of kit though one hopes we don’t see a rash of Mark Cavendish look-a-likes as one pro scally is more than enough.

        I have really enjoyed your blog from start to finish and there are some truly great words on here which bizarrely enough may indeed help me finish The Times crossword. I usually just put naughts and crosses in when on the mechanical dragon to London Town. By the way, they have a Rapha shop in London. Check it out, lovely kit, but bloody expensive.

        Be safe out there – and for reference when I see you on the road, be warned, you will be dropped (on the flat only though, I climb like a crab) ha ha ha. x

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