Thursday, 21 October 2010

stout's sartorial suggestions

well folks, something needed to be said and although i am normally known for my retiring nature and meek disposition i have decided to speak out. whilst i wouldn't go as far as to label myself a "king of style" i do like to think of myself as slightly innovative in the field of cycling garmentry. perhaps some kind of sartorial archduke, the Framz-Ferdinand of fashion. in cycling fashion, as in all things, you cant go far wrong if you apply Wham lyrics as guiding moral principles so: "if you're gonna do it, do it right".

i thought i would begin with some guiding principles:
1) always wear less on the bottom half of your body than the top. legwarmers and short sleeves is a no-no. Furthermore work from the periphery to the core; armwamrers come before the gilet (not vest people GILET) then come kneewarmers (at this point AND NOT BEFORE) you may wear long gloves, then come legwarmers. Jersey wise, if you think it's funny, it's not it's freldy. if the team is still racing and you aren't on the team, don't wear it. if lance was on the team (it's nothing personal) don't wear it. Stick to club kits, block colours and pro teams over a decade old. the one pro jersey which is still ubr cool is the Mapei one, it says "i was into this before you, hell i was into this before lance Armstrong was riding a tricycle and when Greg lemonds mother was the only one who had to put up with his moaning"

2) helmets - they should be white or team colours. they should be worn when you don't have control over where or with whom you're riding. Peaked lids are absolutely never acceptable on the tarmac, ever. training in an aero helmet is also verboten.

3) bikes - matchy matchy is good but a few rules apply: coloured tyres are garish and nasty, maybe a bit of sidewall style but nothing more please. saddle bags should fit neatly under the saddle, you aren't a camel don't pack like one. Bottles: bring two, they should match, large bottles are not stylish but in a pinch you can bring one, put it on your downtube cage. need more than 2 cages? drink less. bar tape; garish colours ar e not okay unless you're olympic champion stick with white, white with flair stripes or very occasionally blue/red on the right bike. big, cushiony bar tapes are like big cushiony saddles; leave them for your grandpa.

2)accessorize! this is where you take style and make it your own. you can also make riding at this time of year a lot more comfortable this way. taking it from top to toe start with a quality casquette, when training alone favour the cap (if the roads are safe blah blah blah) and in particular the walz cap - with earflaps if it's wet or cold. If it's below 15 celsius (60 'murican degrees cos everything is bigger in America) you shouldn't let your knees or throat go uncovered so break out the buff, i don't mean get naked i mean get one of those tube scarves. they taught us the 15 degree rule in Spain; that's why Bert always sports the buff in the training pictures, giving away all the secrets now, aren't i?

armwarmers should either be white, black or matching your kit. gloves can be long or short fingered, again white, black or matching. i do like the "lobster" style gloves for when it gets below freezing. i'm also not averse to silk undergloves (and socks) for the cold weather riding.

sunglasses; here's the deal, they should either match or clash horribly with your kit/ helmet. the arms go OVER the helmet straps and if it's foggy out i'm a BIG fan of the orange lenses, they make you feel better than amphetamine, i can say that with 0.00000000005% certainty (which as we know is enough to condemn a man so it should be plenty enough to buy some shades)

and finally,socks. my hosier of choice is the sock guy, they give you a chance to express your personality without the need to wear a stupid primal jersey that fits like a parachute and breathes like an asthmatic pensioner. generally socks should be light in colour and team colours/ white. black on the road is a no. the same goes for shoes, white, light colours and NEVER black on the tarmac.

and now the final rule; you'll notice i pretty much flaunt many of the above and here's why: you can break the rules but only if you know you're breaking them. think of me like the velo Vivienne Westwood.


  1. I figure I'd rather be practical than fashionable; if wearing printed jerseys, wear either event jerseys or jerseys showing which teams and causes I support; and where practicable, not clash.

    That said, for me two bottles is about an hour to 90 minutes on the road in the heat of summer.

    Then again, you're not likely to see me racing anywhere (though it may seem like that compared to the hazard-causing new-immigrant locals who wear street clothes while half-heartedly pedaling their cheap mountain bikes on the sidewalk or against traffic).