Doing it all the hard way...

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Tight but not too tight

Some years ago I was able to watch a stage of the Tour of California. Among the things that struck me was how tight everyone’s kit was.  Tight bibs, tight jerseys, snug arm warmers. Nothing flapped. 

It took me most of the years between then and now to join the club but I am all in (when it comes to cycling).

Like many I tried my bike clothes on and felt comfortable with a street clothes like fit.  Loose but not baggy.  This seemed fine in the store or living room but on the bike it showed many flaws.

First these shortcomings is the belly-boner.  The Jersey sags and bags and bellows out making it look like you have a hidden beer belly or at a minimum a caboner.  Then there is the flapping.  Before you scoff at this it manifests itself with false HR monitor readings, flapping noise and even sore spots where the fabric has spanked you for an hour or more.

The elastic at the waist and arm openings are a lame attempt to compensate for poor fitting clothing.

The problem that makes even the most self-conscience rider decide to wear close fitting clothing is that with loose clothes cold air creeps in where you don’t want it.  Close fitting clothing is warmer in cold conditions. 

In the dead of winter you see bike riders in one of two outfits.  The first is the NOLS rider who has a Showers Pass jacket and rain pants and soccer goalie-sized gloves.  The second is the rider in tight fitting (albeit thick) Lycra with almost no skin exposed.  Booties and gloves and beanies and neck collars give riders almost a Ninja-like appearance. These folks are still warm.
Now you can get that close fit two ways.  The first is to go a size smaller and tolerate the resulting tighter fit.  This works but is inferior to buying something that fits well and is designed to be close fitting.  Rapha and Castelli are two brands that strive to achieve this by design rather than by stretch!

Nearly everything I wear is a size or two smaller than it was seven years ago.  We are all quite simply who we are. Don’t be self-conscience.  Adopt both a Euro look and a Euro attitude.  Snug is good and I am what I am.

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