Wednesday, July 04, 2007


Images from Velorution:

Now, I understand the reverse-snobbery appeal this clothing has for people who disdain the very idea of riding a bicycle while wearing clothing designed for the purpose. Those of us from the lycra-and-garish-jersey crowd are somehow traditionalists. Other than graphics, cycling clothes haven't changed significantly since synthetic fabrics replaced wool as the fiber of choice.

But as I said, cycling clothes are primarily functional. The fabric itself is meant to wick away sweat. The tight fit avoids bunching that can lead to saddle sores. It also reduces drag. A tight fitting jersey doesn't flap in the wind, creating both drag and noise.

I get the impression that much of the high-fashion-with-a-bike is just another reason for dressing up nicely, and that the bicycle is merely another fashion accessory. Most - not all - of these people will move on to the Next Big Thing when it arises. It's not unlike the newbie fixed gear riders who just had to have one, but discovered that despite the cool factor inherent in owning a fixed gear bike, actually riding it was something very different.

I'm not alone in thinking that, of course. Bike Snob NYC covers it all in far more snarky fashion than I can.

But time moves on, and clothing fashion changes. As is the case with the Nehru jacket above, we can be very thankful. Today's nattily attired rider in plus fours will be long gone, and some of us will still be on the road, wearing loud jerseys and riding fixed gears. I say that as a guy who uses cycling clothing for its functional aspects. I don't really care about style. In fact, I have no problem wearing plaids with stripes.

But on second thought, do you think that Nehru jacket would go well with those shorts up above?



Blogger Apertome said...

I agree that the fashion/cycling combination can be pretty ridiculous, and that cycling clothing is practical but looks ridiculous.

I wear cycling clothing, but I always feel uncomfortable in it if I have to stop at a convenience store or something. I feel like there must be some sort of middle ground between the Lycra and the fashion-crazy cyclists. For short rides, it's no big deal to wear "normal" clothes, but I wouldn't want to give up the chamois or wicking fabric on longer rides.

There's a "Velocouture" group on Flickr that can be amusing:

3:29 PM  

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