“Does this cycling jersey need washing at 30 degrees” shouts my wife from the laundry room, where she’s trying to categorise fabrics and colours for the next few washes.
As the saying goes “you’ve got to go there to come back”, and thats exactly what has happened to cycling jerseys over the years. From wool to polyester, to lycra and back to blended wool mixes with super-lycra. So here’s the question, when a cyclist has to vacate his/her nose/throat of S&S (spit & snot), which fabric reacts the best way towards it? Let’s face it, upper arm sleeves, and gloves for that matter, are very vulnerable to flying S&S, and I’ve never seen any mention of this in any of the cycling clothing adverts or any claims made by manufacturers regarding S&S. Maybe its something the marketeers stay well clear of. Imagine one of the top cycling clothing brands advertising their latest C21st performance fabrics with the marketing slogan ‘large or small, big or tall, our jerseys repel S&S best of all’. Would it sell or kill the brand?
The other question about cycling jerseys is ‘how well do they score on the cool-ometer? This seasons fashion colour direction seems to have gone ‘back to black’ (also the name of a great Amy Winehouse album). This seems to also be in relation towards the trend of having non-shiny black framed bikes as well. So, black is obviously, this seasons fashion black, but does it hide the stains of a days ridings S&S?
The Professional teams change their kit design every year, which also reflects on the rider in the street, because wearing last years kit is well, so very last year! Not cool! However, wearing a kit from 3 years+ ago is cool AND in some cases, you can get modern fabric recreations of them. The other thing is ‘pocket size’. In the last century, a cyclist had three good sized pockets on the back of the jersey to stash things in, and a well organised cyclist could pack enough gear in them for a weekend away. Todays pockets cater for rain jackets which roll up into a match box, credit cards and a phone, which is also inside a waterproof sachet.
The length of sleeves on short sleeved off-the-peg jerseys vary, particularly as they have to cater for stick thin ‘roadie’ arms to those of bar-bending track cyclists. Be vigilant when buying short sleeved jerseys from different manufactures because apart from the danger of your sun tan line showing too much because one jersey has shorter sleeves than the other, you have to consider whether your skin or the jersey sleeve will be in the firing line for that S&S ejection. Skin is obviously ‘easy-wipe’, but the jersey is a different thing.
The other thing about jersey fashion is the club jersey. A club jersey bonds you to the group which you pay your annual membership fee to, with both pride and to the ancient cycle-club-tribal frontiers. Its always interesting to watch the social dynamics at a local club time trial when the club allows other ‘affiliated riders’ from another club, to race in their event. Another clubs jersey in the event spells ‘outsider’ and he/she must be beaten at all costs. Fortunately, and unlike football fans of the past (and maybe a few today), cyclists don’t tie their club scarves to their wrists in an act of plain aggression.
So this brings me to ponder my final question, did football supporters wear their scarves in this way because it was a good way place wipe unwanted S&S. Maybe. This tribal scarf fashion would never be found in cycling, because a scarf would very likely get caught up in your chain, or worse still, by flying in the wind, it might catch your riding partners flying S&S!
Photo by Rodrigo Macip