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.