Thursday, October 10, 2013

My Personal Cycling Kit

I have mentioned before that cycling is a sport of gear.  It is also a sport of fashion. There are hundreds of clothing companies and many of them have large custom businesses to appeal to the small teams, clubs, rides, and organizations. If you are like me you want a kit that represents you. There are some sweet matching bib and jersey combinations available.  It gets even better when you are part of a team and you get a team kit. There is something about a team kit that makes you pedal harder and there is nothing cooler than a team working a paceline during a training ride (This is where I would cut to a title sponsor's commercial during the Tour of California where they are trying to justify the massive amounts they spent on a bike racing team). A team kit provides a sense of belonging or reputation. Obviously the best kit is a pro kit as a part of the team. I think a custom kit would be the ultimate. I love the idea of having something unique that completely represents me or the group I like to ride with. I could design every aspect, it would fit my style, and my goals. This may seem like vanity, to an extent it is...ok it totally is. It is cool though.

I know the the kit has no bearing on ability. Different pieces might make you more comfortable on the bike or help you adapt to different weather but ultimately it is the motor in that kit that pushes. I have seen some of the best riders in some of the worst outfits and I have seen some of the nicest kits on the least capable cyclists. A kit is setting a first impression. I have found that with a good group, the only impression that matters in the end is how hard you ride and if you added to the safety and enjoyment of the group.

If I were to take the region that I ride in and the interests that I have off my bike, I am sure my personalized kit would be very, very, unique. I imagine that it would look a lot like Sugoi's Lumberjack jersey with bib-shorts that look an awful lot like Carhartts. I have spent a lot of time working maintenance at camps and resorts in the woods of Wisconsin and this means I get to play with my chainsaw. I have done a lot of manual labor and not much beats Carhartts in toughness.  I found this particular while Ted King was posting pics of a ride on instagram.

Sugoi Lumberjack Jersey

The next feature would be something similar to Axel's Axes, one of the logos found on the Bontrager Cycling Team. It really is unfortunate that this is already a trademarked logo because it is great. I even like the star because it is an unofficial logo of Northern California, the place I was raised.

Axel's Axes
I have played around with some very simple designs and I think the style kit that fits me best is a simple two or three color kit. I picture black, white, and red with very understated logos. I generally like to keep it simple. I would put a name on the back with one or two sponsors on the side pockets with NWC on the left front chest.  The bibs would be black with NWC at the bottom on the sides. Unfortunately, my bike doesn't have understated logos to match. It has roughly a million Fuji name tags.

So this custom kit is a dream, and really always will be. I would love to be in a position where I could design, build, and sell my ideas but that would require me to be super sweet or have an awesome design. Until then, I will pedal in whatever I can get my hands on and I will keep on pushing.

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