Archive for category clothing
I seem to be on a visibility kick, I know, but really I just happened to see this over at Swissmiss. It’s a good idea, I guess. Not nearly as ugly as some of the hi-vis yellow clothing I see out on the road. But it seems you could just make one yourself and save $80.
It’s dark at 6:00 am (and cold, but that’s a different story). The darkness (and the cold) has thinned out the already svelte bike commuting crowd. Of the bike commuters left, I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who refuses to wear a neon yellow top. I have my reasons.
And, I’m not even sure hi-vis jackets and vests work all that much better than other visibility solutions. There doesn’t seem to be much out on the interwebs linking blindingly yellow clothing to cycling safety, “there seems to be even less research on the effectiveness of high-visibility clothing for the bicyclist than for the motorcyclist.”
Much of the clothing I wear is black or gray but also has built in sections of reflecting fabric making me, at least somewhat, visible in the dark. But, more than that, the flashing white headlamp and the red taillight I ride with in low light should do more to make me visible than even the brightest yellow (and unlike reflective clothing, my lights don’t rely on others having their lights on).
Many cyclists out there probably look at my refusal to wear hi-vis clothing and think it’s foolish (much the same way I look at people who eschew helmets). In fact, one thing “research” turned up was a high number of websites suggesting, with no data to support the claim, that wearing hi-vis clothing is a must. Some may even feel that Hi-Vis clothing is the most stylish and fashionable trend in cycling since spider helmet covers. Which helps explain the guy I saw this morning in a bright yellow jacket without any lights on his bike.
I’m not convinced on either count.
At Levi’s Gran Fondo I saw more than one cyclist with bags just about everywhere you could imagine putting one – for example at least two bikes had the following set-up: a saddle bag, a bento box on the top tube, a triangular bag under the top tube, and a handle bar bag (the only thing missing was a fanny pack).
I could carry two of everything I’d stuffed in my pockets (which were full) and still not need <em>that many</em> bags. And, this was a fully supported ride with rest stops every 20 miles or so. I just didn’t get it.
Of course, it was a long a ride with changing weather conditions and I could see the need for adding a saddle bag so one might have room for some arm warmers and a gilet (the one I borrowed from Sera without her knowledge never left my back). So, I was willing to suspend strict enforcement of Rule #29. But I’m pretty sure some people brought every bicycle accessory they owned (this might also explain the handful of people I saw on the side of the road using floor pumps).
For the first few years I rode, I used a saddle bag (a small one that barely fit a tube, a CO2 canister, levers, & a mini-tool). It was terrified of forgetting something when I went out for a ride and the bag, which never left my saddle, was an easy way to ensure everything was always there. Now, the only bag I ride with is the Chrome Citizen I wear on my back when I commute. There have been times, particularly when I’m hauling my coffee press home for a ride in the dishwasher, when the bag has seemed to gather more than I need and I’m forced to parse some of the items I’m carrying, but mostly, it only contains what I absolutely need for the day.
So, I was a little shocked with I saw this:
Now, I don’t want to pick on Ted – I very much enjoy Commute By Bike – but that photo came after he’d written this:
I’m also not getting enough exercise from my puny bike commute — less than two miles when I take the shortcuts. I never even work up enough sweat to worry about changing clothes. I just commute in the same clothes that I will wear all day.
I just can’t help thinking, If he’s wearing the clothes he plans to wear all day, what’s in all those bags?
I ask, not because I find Ted’s style particularly offensive or because I think The Rules should be seriously enforced. I ask because, like my opting to wear Lycra to work, I wonder if commuters who need to carry 3 bags to work daily, might make commuting look difficult and out of reach for the general public. There are plenty of things that bug me about the cycle chic movement (women pedaling in high-heels, for instance) but at least those people look like they woke up, got dressed (picked out something they felt was stylish even) and got on a bike. Photos like this (image from Sac Cycle Chic):
make cycling look accessible and fun.
I wouldn’t say the same thing about a photo of me in the drops with a 17 pound bag on my back or the photo of Ted’s seemingly overloaded commute bike.
High-end British cycling clothier Rapha has expanded its collection for 2011 with several cold-weather items, including the Pro Team Jacket, which will be available at the end of October and the Hooded Top, new for November. Also launching this month is a new zip-through cardigan-style Track Top, which adds to the line of city cycling jerseys, jeans and tops which the company has been rolling out over the last 18 months.
The new Pro Team Jacket is a high-performance softshell made from the proprietary Polartec membrane, which is windproof and water-repellent while remaining breathable and lightweight. The rear panels are constructed of Super-Roubaix fabric, providing essential wicking performance and insulation for cold-weather riding. Of the striking new color, which is new to the Rapha range of classic, muted hues, the company claims:
Scientific research shows the Chartreuse colourway offers exceptional visibility in low light. Though not technically fluorescent, studies have found that the rods in the retina – the part of the eye that work best in low light – are particularly receptive to the yellow/green color. As a result, chartreuse is increasingly used around the world for emergency vehicles.
The jacket – which is also available in black – features reflective side and rear trim, and the iconic Rapha armband is also reflective. It will be available late-October from the company website and will cost $275.
The Hooded Top is a clever mix of Merino for warmth, plus windproof panels to improve insulation. A close-fitting hood adds a contemporary edge to the top, and front and rear pockets add versatility. The Hooded Top will be available mid-November, and will sell for $195.
The Track Top is a characteristically low-key, elegant cardigan with a full-length zipper and subtle styling. Intended for wearing as a removable outer-layer in cool weather, the Track Top is constructed of 100% Merino wool, and is knitted – not stitched – together. It comes in charcoal gray or burgundy, and will sell for $165.
Already available, but new to the Rapha range, the Merino Roll Neck is a lightweight but high-performance woolen cycling jersey in the style of the classic jerseys worn by pro-riders in the early years of the 20th Century. Close-fitting, with a tall roll-neck and chest-level striping, the stylish jersey is available in one color – the popular Rapha black.
Rapha was recently named one of the fastest-growing UK companies by the Sunday Times in Britain. The company was founded in 2004, and has steadily built up a devoted following among cyclists in Europe and the US by offering low-key, classically-styled clothing of high-quality. A office in Portland, Oregon oversees the US market, which is increasingly receptive to the Rapha brand of old-school English tailoring. The company also sells high-performance waterproofs, shorts, accessories and a range of cosmetics and luggage.
The bike lane, anywhere on the road, really, is not a garbage can.
It seems that there’s a trend out there to discard trash in the bike lane. This is annoying and gross and makes your neighborhood look, well, trashy. My real problem though, isn’t the litter – that’s just annoying and thoughtless – it’s with the glass. It is true a beer bottle will break when tossed from a moving vehicle onto the road and very few things are as joyful as the experience of hurling a glass bottle and watching it explode, I know. But all that green and brown glass eventually ends up in my tire and, while my Gatorskins are durable, inevitably one shard will make it through to the sensitive inner tube and I’ll end up on the side of the road trying to look like I know what I’m doing as I change tubes.
You’ll probably get a good view of my Lycra clad butt, which, for all I know, is what you were after when you threw the bottle there in the first place.
Today is sports jersey day at the office. As it turns out I’m the only person in a cycling jersey – surprise! Here’s a list of things I want to do while I’m wearing it.
- While in a meeting, about half way through, reach into my jersey pocket, pull out GU packet, rip into it with my teeth, spit the foil, and suck down the contents.
- Have someone come into the meeting urgently and hand me a water bottle they’ve stuffed down the back of their shirt.
- With just a couple of minutes left in the meeting take a big gulp from my water bottle then throw it to the side of the room.
- Either at my cubicle or in a meeting, have the wheel on my chair fall off, I’d throw my hand in the air and someone would run up behind me with a new chair. Depending on how long it took, I may or may not throw my broken chair on the ground.
- Sit inches behind a co-worker while they work.
- Yell at someone in Italian when they won’t do what I’ve asked.
- Have someone hand me a musette as I walk down the hall.
- Look through the mussette putting things I want in my jersey pockets discarding the rest with a frown.
- Change the sign on the restroom to read “Doping Control”.
- Have someone run around next to me waving a giant Californian flag.
- Pass someone on the stairs and give them “the look.”
We will be reviewing a pair of these shortly, check back for it!
Every weekday – or nearly every – I pull on my Lycra shorts and jersey and I ride my bike into the office. At first, I think I mentioned, it made me a little self-conscious, the Lycra at work situation. It’s not like I wear my cycling shorts all day and wander around sitting on my co-worker’s desks to have a chat. No, like any normal person wearing Lycra to work, I head from the bike locker to the locker room and change as quickly as possible. But I still bump into people I know and they still look at me funny.
I see some people nod to their friends to look as they grin stupidly, holding back giggles.
At first it bothered me. I even toyed with the idea of wearing street clothes on the bike but decided wearing sweaty clothes all day and being uncomfortable on the bike wasn’t an option for me. I just decided I was dressed appropriately for what I was doing, riding my bike, which is more than I can say for some of the things people here wear to work.
Also, I thought about baseball pants and football pants and my old track singlet and shorts and realized that almost nobody talks about those things as too tight or embarrassing (of course, I admit that if someone showed up to work in football pants he’d probably be stared at).
Today I read this gem from BSNYC:
For example, the kinds of people who throw stuff at cyclists in form-fitting Lycra are perfectly comfortable cheering football players who wear pretty much the same thing—even though football players also spend like half the game lying on top of each other. So you’d think that if people can handle the spectacle of beefy men in tights humping as long as it’s on a gridiron, then at least in the context of elite competition—in particular the Tour de France—America’s “sporting industrial complex” could also treat cycling with a tiny bit of respect.
The snob was talking about some unfortunate comments made by a more influential and more famous Michael Smith, of ESPN, not specifically about the challenges of wearing cycling specific (read form fitting) clothing in public places, but the sentiment obviously stands.
I’ve had trouble writing this post. It’s one of those things that’s important to me but that’s difficult to make interesting. But this week I finally removed my arm warmers (hopefully for the remainder of the summer) and now I feel like it’s timely.
So. Here it goes.
I’m a skin cancer survivor.
Ok, so that’s a little misleading, I think. When you put the words “cancer” and “survivor” in that order, it tends to conjure images of chemo therapy, hair loss, weight loss and suffering. I went to a dermatologist and he said, “you have skin cancer.” Then “scraped and burned” it off – an unpleasant experience but only slightly.
My tumor was Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC). When I started researching for this article (we do sometimes do research around here) I was surprised to find that BCC is the most common kind of cancer. It’s slow growing and rarely, if ever metastasizes, and is, mostly, caused by exposure to harmful UV rays.
As a cyclist I spend a lot of time in the sun. So a skin cancer diagnosis was a bit of a wake-up call. I find that I rarely get a sunburn from being on the bike. Instead, I spend most of the summer watching my arms, face and neck get darker and darker. So, sunscreen was one of those things I might use, sometimes, on a long ride, if I remembered. Sometimes I’d actually avoid sunscreen, citing all the standard excuses: it’s too greasy, it smells, it makes my hands slippery, etc.
I do a little better now. One of the many things I pack in my commute bag is sunscreen and, almost every sleeveless afternoon, I put on the recommended amount of sunscreen (2 tablespoons). And I wear a hat. And sunglasses. I’m not perfect, but I’m getting better. I’ve found that I prefer “physical block” sunscreens to “chemical blocks”. The physical blocks generally contain a combination of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide – I find the lotion less greasy and less irritating.
If you can’t find a sunscreen that works for you, you can always try clothing. With summer highs in the 100s, it’s hard for me to imagine sporting sun sleeves like the ones offered by Pearl Izumi here in Sacramento, but it could be a great option for those of you lucky enough to live near the coast.
So, it’s June. The sun is out and you’re at risk. Do us a favor. Cover up.
For more information.
Local sartorialists Sacramento Tweed will stage an informal group ride on Sunday, June 26th at 11am in downtown Sacramento. The event will incorporate a picnic in Land Park, a tour of the Crocker Art Museum, and a post-ride tipple at DeVeere’s Irish Pub.
Originally scheduled for the weekend of the 3rd June, the ride was postponed due to the filthy weather. Forecasts are much more favorable for the coming weeks, promising a warm and dry day of cycling-related revelry and Edwardian fashion.
Fans of classic European fabrics will rejoice at the event, which will offer riders the opportunity to showcase their finest seersucker suits. The organization’s blog briefly outlines a suggested dress-code, emphasising a ”spirit of inclusiveness and conviviality, which means we don’t care about what you wear (although please wear something appropriate for warm weather–no heavy tweed, please!), or what you ride. All we want is that you wear a smile, and ride what you’re happiest riding.”
The ride begins at 11am in front of Revolution Wines. The shop, located at 29 & S St, will be open an hour early to service the congregated houndstooth enthusiasts in the form of handmade sandwiches for the picnic. Riders will depart and observe a leisurely pace south towards Land Park, where several hours have been set aside for communal luncheon. Cupcakes and iced popsicles will be made available by local retailers for those riders with a sweet tooth.
Post-picnic, aesthetes will again mount their cycles and head to the Crocker, where a special group rate for admission has been offered by the gallery. The thirsty may adjourn to the cafe for a glass of pinot gris, or wait until the group reaches its final destination, DeVeere’s Irish Pub on 15th & L Street. Live music has been promised, the genre of which is yet to be announced. At least one accordion would be appropriate, and no doubt greatly appreciated by the cyclists.
Sacramento Tweed encourages all participants to observe contemporary highway bylaws, while maintaining a certain historic perspective. Cellphones have not been banned, but would probably impinge upon the authenticity of the event.
For more information, visit Sacramento Tweed.