Slave to fashion?

Today was my first group bicycle ride.  A friend from my running club invited me along to a new group that had formed as part of a local “wellness” initiative.  Ever game to meet new folks, I hurried on over (but was still slightly late).

My friend mentioned the ride was 8 miles or so.  I wanted more mileage, so I decided to cycle to the meet up and back instead of packing up the bike in the car.  I gotta say, since I’ve been on this running hiatus, my distance-o-meter (in which I accurately judge distances) is way off.  I figured the meet up spot was about 2 miles from home.  It was 3.5. Thus my arriving late.

Anyways, the group cycle was fantastic!  We did nearly a 10 mile loop (so 17 miles total for me) through some awesome neighborhoods.

Here’s where I get confused.  Cycling clothing.  I like to look the part.  That’s true in all aspects of my life.  I love putting together outfits, especially for specific occasions, like “board member coming to visit my work,” (professional with a slightly creative edge) or “commuting to work in the City” (eclectic, yet polished, so that I’m not taken for the typical ‘bridge and tunnel’ crowd).

The same with my workout clothes.  It took me a while to figure out “my look.”  And there were lots of rules, like “cotton is rotten” and new terms (wicking, performance wear, reflective) Given that this clothing is never cheap, I’ve been judicious in my purchases.  But now after a few years of running, I’ve got a fairly nice selection of clothing for all seasons.

But what about cycling?  Lots of my running clothes cross over.  I’ve no need yet for the fancy shirts with the pockets on the back (although I do LOVE how cycling shirts are longer in the back–at 5’11”, I’ve got a tough time finding long enough shirts). Also, I don’t want to look like a newbie–for crying out loud, my recently tuned-up bike is sparkly enough.  But after two consecutive rides last week, I definitely understand the need for those attractive padded shorts, too.  So I figured as I get more into this, I’ll st

But on today’s group ride, one of the leaders threw a wrench into my vision of “what constitutes a cycling kit.”  First, this guy must know what he’s doing (he is the group’s leader) because he had one of those bikes that actually STOPS when you stop pedaling! (again, totally blowing my mind: until this point I was thinking that cycling totally rocked over running because when your feet stop when you run, your body stops as well.  But when your feet stop when you’re cycling. . .how cow! Your body keeps moving forward! Bonus!)

AND…said leader was wearing…these beautiful dark wash Japanese selvedge jeans and two-toned leather oxfords.  Absolutely beautiful shoes. which fit very nicely into his pedal clips. on that fancy don’t-even-think-of-not-pedaling bike.  And jeans.

Yep, cotton is rotten.  And lycra’s for losers?  I want me some dark wash Japanese selvedge jeans and two-toned oxfords for my next ride…



  1. I had to look up what selvedge denim was lol. I did see that is said Japanese selvedge denim was the rarest …. it used to be considered that ‘regular’ denim was superior, but now the other train of thought, that selvedge denim is the better quality…something about how it is produced on a loom. (I could not quite follow ack!) But this is off topic … I was just curious …

    Soo….back to the bicylcing portion of my comment *grins*…

    Didn’t he get hot wearing jeans? Even on cooler days, once I get warmed up (takes about 2 or 3 miles of riding for me)…I tend to not be cold, with the excpetion of my hands and face/ears/nose.

    If you do end up riding lots and lots, especially if the weather starts getting warmer, you’ll find the riding jerseys more comfortable, as they breath a lot better (wicks moisture away while also keeping you cooler.) The long back is good definately! Oh… I tend to try to get jesery’s with a collar on it that can zip up…in rainy weather it helps so that water does not run down the back of your neck.

    And …. the ride leader has a fixed gear bike?!?!?! I thought those were only for racing at the olympics or something. I think they use them in the velodrome or something where they are going for pure speed … but I am not sure. How does he stop quicky???

    • Lots of questions! If you can ever find a pair of selvedge denim jeans–grab ’em. They’re beautiful and the color wears so nicely!

      And I don’t think he got hot. First, we probably weren’t going all that fast, and second, it was only about 45F.

      I like the idea of a collar on the jerseys–boy, the wind is never-ending on a bike.

      Yes, a fixed gear bike! And he went slowly enough for us, but obviously not too slowly as to fall off. It must take a lot of talent and balance. I’m going to ask him more questions next week!

  2. I returned to cycling in my early 30’s and have been cycling regularily for past 22 years. During the lst decade, I did not want to look like a cycling poseur, so I wore T-shirts. Even on our long 1,000+ km. bike trip in Canadian Maritime provinces.

    But jerseys, are more comfortable. I just can’t cycle in my business or street clothing : I’m petite size and it’s hard enough to find fashion clothing that fits me for my age bracket (50’s). So I need to preserve my non-cycling clothing.

    I really do respect women who can cycle in their high heel boots/shoes and grind up a long hill!

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