Sunday, 20 February 2011
lookin' buff like 'Bert
As cyclists many of us fetishise that "euro" look. The desire to appear "PRO" (and yes it seems obligatory to capitalise it) often far supercedes the need to steer your bike properly, ride it efficiently or sit on it comfortably. This cycling equivalent of 9 inch stilletos finds its apex on facebook where people who spend hours ont he internet pass judgement on people who spend hours on their bikes. Fortunatley this trend has yet to spread to Europe. You're unlikley to see an Italian chastising people for wearing socks which don't match their gloves, using "unnapproved" apparel or for running a japanese groupset on a European bike (which they're PAID to ride mr dentist who crossed 3 lanes of traffic to judge me last week).
Anyway i would like to share with you an element of European cycling fashion which has yet to make it into the hallowed halls of a facebook group pertaining which can be edited by students in the US (including one who goes to a university called "American"). This item is more metro than the manbag (or murse if you will) more practical that the lobster glove and better at keeping the bugs at bay than Intravenous Echinacea. Ladies and Gents i give you the neckerchief, marketed in the US as the "buff".
It serves 2 vital functions: it keeps the upper respiratory tract warm and prevents you getting a cold AND it looks dashing as buggery (i mean come on, it's halfway between a ruff like one of the 3 musketeers might wear and a cravat which is the very definition of dashing). When it's really cold, putting the fabric over your nose and mouth can really help prevent the horrible burning sensation as the blood vessels in your throat burst thanks to the temperature differential between the air and your innards. It's also great for looking like a dayglo terrorist when it's too cold and snowy to even ride at all.
Now first of all is hould outline that the MOST euro of neckgaiters is not the buff but the etxeondo product. handmade by basque Shepherd's wives using Iban Mayo's pubic hairs (ok so some of that isn't true). Featuring a toggle at one end and a fleece lined tube of fabric it can serve as a hat, a neckerchief and a nosewarming/rebreathing device in extreme conditions. There are other notable brands and types of neckgaiter avaliable, the buff itslef is rather lightweight and works for warmer temps in the 5-15 degree range (Celsius people, it's sooo euro), below these temperatures i favour a full fleece unit or at least a thermal buff. Many colours and patterns are available and it seems to be the case that one can clash such an accessory with one's kit without fear of offending the style gurus who lurk behind the tubes of the internet being that they are yet to learn of the existence of such neckwear.
I myself was spotted sporting a rather dashing white fleecy neckgaiter at Today's CBR bicycle race (sadly about the only thing i did to distinguish myself today) and my good friend Bert the beefeater is such a fan he often sports two simultaneously.
Now all i need is a bright pink model......