Does everything have to match?

Does everything have to match?  Does your kit match your bike?

This never used to be of interest to me.  I wore whatever was comfortable; whatever was clean; and, sometimes what was in the laundry basket, if necessary.  The clothes didn’t match the bike.  It was never a consideration.  Why would it matter?

One day, something changed.  My bikes got prettier.  Lots of colourful graphics.  And, the cycling “kits” followed suit.  Bikes and kits began to match and, members of racing teams wore the same kit and, the kits were filled with sponsors’ logos.  Cycling became mainstream.  Like football (i.e. soccer), the kits changed every season, a proven recipe for selling more kits.

Today, I stopped to fill my bottle and empty my bladder as usual at Third Beach on the way home from a 75 km ride to Horseshoe Bay and back.  While sitting on the bench looking out into the harbour, I noticed everything on me matched my bike – jersey, bib, socks, shoes, gloves and bottle.  Black.  White.  And, a splash of red.  I didn’t plan this.  It is what I wear on this bike.  My sunglasses and helmet also match but were out of the shot.  Not only do they match but the jersey and bibs are made by the same company that make the bike.

Matchy matchy!

I like cycling clothing.  It is comfortable.  Particularly the bibs.  But come on, does it all have to match?  What’s wrong if something is out of step, a different colour?

I sometimes think it is too much.  I am not on a racing team.  I don’t even race.  What happened to the days when I simply jumped on my bike and went for a ride.  I gave little, if any, thought to my clothes.  I simply wanted to ride.  Now, I dress for the bike.  I have 3 different bikes and, I have different kits for each.

My bibs and jerseys are bike specific.  What would happen if I wore my Garneau kit on my Roberts bike?  Would I ride better?  Climb and descend faster?  Would I even notice a difference?  Probably not.  Would others notice?  Maybe.  But, I have to admit, I feel better in a matching kit, feel more like a cyclist.

We cyclists have become slaves to the fashion gods.

This got me to thinking.  Why do I need a different kit for each bike?  I prefer to wear bibs and a cycling jersey (i.e. pockets in the back) whenever I ride.  Why can’t I find a colour combination that matches all the bikes?

Each bike has black and grey on it.  Only the Garneau has a splash of red.  The Roberts frame is predominantly green and, the Kuwahara is black and grey.  From here on in, I am going to select black and grey kits with little, if any, lettering, sponsor logos or graphics.  This way, I can wear the kit on any of the bikes, mix and match bibs, jerseys, socks and gloves to make even more combinations and, more importantly, need fewer kits.  I’ll still feel good on the bike but save a lot of money.

It just makes sense.

5 gift ideas …

I stopped at the beach on the way home from the office today.

I often stop for water after each lap around the park.  It was sunny but windy and, I was cold.  I stopped to put on arm and leg warmers.  I got to thinking.

I cycle in the city with a small back pack.  It is easier and more convenient than a pannier and, the pack always contains the following items:

  1. Padded cycling gloves
  2. Sun glasses
  3. Leg warmers
  4. Arm warmers
  5. Cycling cap

These items are small, light and easily packed.  I am always prepared for a change of weather.  In this part of the world, the mornings are often cool and overcast and, the afternoons sunny, warm and sometimes windy.

When I was a “newbie”, I didn’t own this clothing.  I didn’t know they existed.  These days, I don’t leave the house without them if I know I will be out more than a few hours.

If you are looking for a gift for a cycling friend or partner, consider giving warmers, gloves, a cap or tinted sunglasses.  They make a perfect gift and are items a “newbie” may not purchase for themselves.