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Americans, monochrome jerseys and black shoes . . .(21 posts)

Americans, monochrome jerseys and black shoes . . .Look381i
Sep 3, 2002 11:28 AM
I've been lucky enough to have spent portions of the past few summers in Europe, where I noticed some things that puzzle me. At least to the extent that I have been able to determine nationality, the only cyclists I see wearing plain jerseys are Americans. (Of course not all do.) Europeans (and usually Australians), on the other hand, seem always to wear either pro team jerseys or club jerseys. Sometimes the Europeans' kit is truly amazing: During this past TdF, I saw a paceline of some 25 or 30 Telekom supporters riding in complete Telekom kit all with matching Telekom Princes.

My European friends have noticed the same thing. They think Americans are easy to spot because "they don't dress like real cyclists" (!). [By that they probably mean "commuters."]

Black cycling shoes are also rare among Euros, except the few who are still using toe clips and old shoes.

Back in the States, I have the impression that one reason for the sartorial conservatism is that many think pro team jerseys, colorful shoes and painted bikes are over the top, perhaps only used by those they call posers.
I have to admit that in many years of riding, I have accumulated quite a few jerseys, and only one is plain -- a neon yellow that I reserve for foggy mornings. I also have red shoes and various colors of frames, saddles and tires.

Of course, my sample size and methods are suspect, but I still wonder what causes so many Americans to choose conservative jerseys and shoes.

Theories, anyone?
I get solids because my wife gives me grief for anything elsenmbill
Sep 3, 2002 11:34 AM
I don't like being a billboard and not getting paid for it...Gregory Taylor
Sep 3, 2002 11:57 AM I pick my jerseys accordingly. I make an exception for the Lance Armstrong Foundation jerseys that I've snagged by meeting certain fundraising goals. I'm personally involved with that, and it is a good cause. The gang that I ride with put together some neat jerseys that I like to wear as well.

Black shoes? They seem to look nicer longer. That and I don't like wearing clown shoes...
are you calling my shoes clown shoes? well, I resemblebill
Sep 3, 2002 12:07 PM
that remark.
Sidi Shadows, baby. Baby blue and gold. Wowee. Damn comfortable, though.
yeh, yeh, I know. Chicks love Team Lardbutt.
Those ARE some fancy steppers, my man. Clown shoes...Gregory Taylor
Sep 3, 2002 12:33 PM
...on the other hand, appeal to the inner Bozo in all of us.

Remember, this on-the-bike style commentary is being brought to you by a guy who rides around in public with the word "Lardbutt" on his jersey and thinks nothing of it....
"Don't be that guy"Terrapin
Sep 3, 2002 12:25 PM
Was it Denis Leary that said:

"Every concert you go to, you see *that guy* wearing the band's shirt to the band's concert. Don't be that guy."

For Americans, maybe this is the cycling version.
Sep 3, 2002 1:54 PM
droz(jeremy piven) to gutter(jon favreau): "you're wearing the shirt of the band you're going to see? don't be that guy"
Sep 4, 2002 4:42 AM
What don't we eat? MEAT!!!!!
Why don't we eat it? IT'S MURDER!!!!!
My experienceScot_Gore
Sep 3, 2002 12:29 PM
While travelling in Europe this spring I stumbled on "Gore Bike Wear". It's a clothing line only available in Europe. I ordered 3 jerseys out of a German internet bicycle retailer. The European "Gore Bike Wear" jerseys are "Plain Janes" compared to my USA purchased stuff. They are monochrome primary colors with black and white highlighting.

Now, my last name is GORE so I'm not going to pass on having a complete Kit that says "Gore Bike Wear" on it regardless of how plain the design is. But, my Euro purchased stuff is the most bland design wise.

re: Americans, monochrome jerseys and black shoes . . .The Human G-Nome
Sep 3, 2002 12:32 PM
i've noticed the same thing for awhile now. i am definitely NOT into wearing freakin' earthtones on the saddle. black shorts and bland shirts are boring. as i live in the Haight/Ashbury, i'm actually conscience NOT to wear this stuff for fear of being lumped in with the dreaded hippie bikers. on a bicycle, "bright is rite." it's funny that Americans fear looking like a poseur or "over the top" so much. by definition, if you're an American, you ARE over the top already. relax. it's not like you're wearing these clothes out to the nightclub or while hosting your next outdoor barbeque. you're on the saddle for a few hours a day, 5-7 times a week (hopefully!). it's funny, because if i wore an Oakland A's cap, am i going to worry that people may think i'm a poseur? am i fronting that i'm actually a professional baseball player? i just don't get it.

i've heard the "riding billboard" argument ad nauseum. please. give anyone a break. if you're 16 years old and you're drumming for your first punk band, worry about that. if you're in Seattle, rioting against the New World Order, worry about that. but if you're a cyclist, just ride and don't fret. feel confident that you look 300% better then all the other earthtones swarming all around you worried that they don't live up to their clothes or their bicycle (or their life). i will wear my full Bonjour jersey (with matching gloves and socks) with pride. i will gladly pay $35 for team issue Mercatone Uno Knickers ad rather then pay 3 times as much for a comparable product in puck brown at REI. and as for my bright red and silver Northwaves, don't mess with 'em.
The Bonjour colors are very cool...Gregory Taylor
Sep 3, 2002 12:57 PM
And I agree 100% with the "wear whatever the hell that you want, just ride, dammit" sentiment that is lurking in your annoyed-sounding post.

What's the matter, Sparky? All those Phish fans got you cranky? How doing up some bright non-earth tone jerseys that say "Jerry's Dead - Follow Me" on the back?
The Bonjour colors are very cool...The Human G-Nome
Sep 3, 2002 1:07 PM
lol. the Phish fans are much more tolerable then Jerry's kids. when Jerry died, they were shitting and pissing themselves all over the sidewalks (and on my front porch!) one night, some earthtone was playing his bongo drums at about 3 a.m. and i had to chuck a can of Campbell's mushroom soup at him from my apartment window before he'd shut up.

"I have to wake up at 7 tomorrow to ride you bastard!"

that was the worst month my neighborhood as ever seen.
And I get grief for simple jerseysTypeOne
Sep 3, 2002 8:18 PM
Last year, I rode home from work wearing a long-sleeved, yellow jersey with no logos or anything, just a cheap Performance jersey. I had to stop for dozens of Mariner fans doing a mass jaywalk to halt traffic. Some yayhoo in a Mariner jersey said loudly to his friend, "Hey look at that! It's Lance Armstrong!" It wasn't a friendly greeting by any means.
I shouted back, "Hey, it's Ichiro!"
It was a PLAIN jersey. I never hear that crap when I wear my team jersey or a Euro pro jersey. And what's with a dork in a pro baseball replica jersey calling me out as a poseur because I was wearing simple yellow? Nice that LA is associated with yellow, I guess. Maybe everyone's right - just wear whatever you want, flashy as you can stand.
Lance? Ichiro? How about Dexter...klay
Sep 4, 2002 11:10 AM
Out for a spin around the neigborhood (Maple Leaf - other end of Seattle) to iron out some kinks in my bikes shifing when I passed a group of teenagers playing hoop. My kit cosnsisted of: black shorts, black shoes, plain white shirt, regular glasses.

Their response to me going by was to point and yell: "Dexter!" Apparently Dexter is a cartoon boy genius scientist type....

Didn't figure it out till I was surfing the channel a few days later. Kinda funny.

re: Americans, monochrome jerseys and black shoes . . .dave woof
Sep 3, 2002 12:51 PM
I have to add - simple jersies will get you zero respect from passing motorists. When I wore plain jersies and black shorts, I was shouted at or honked off the road many many times. You put on a bright multicolored team jersey and shorts with logos and immediately cars will give you a little more more distance and a hair more resepct. They think you are a pro.

I don't care if I am a cycling billboard. It literally keeps me from getting killed.


I wouldn't mind wearing team outfits if . . .Geardaddy
Sep 3, 2002 12:53 PM
. . . I could find ones only for now defunct teams. I have this thing about dressing up in the current hot team du jour get-up, as then it really makes me feel like a poseur. But, if there was a Motorola, 7-eleven, la Vie Claire, or something like these, I would consider it. They're classics now. I guess Mapei is soon to fit into that category.

Hey, give me a classic Minnesota North Stars Jersey (with the 'N' and the star) rather than the Dallas Stars jersey any day, eh!
Alot of mine are of that variety.look271
Sep 3, 2002 6:50 PM
An old Gieppieme (sp?) jersey (a now defunct level 2 pro team) and my prized possession, a Linda McCartney team jersey. Got 'em cheap and they certainly aren't boring. I wear khaki's to work; I need some color in my life!
Brits are the most conservatively dressed cyclists (nm)SantaCruz
Sep 3, 2002 12:58 PM
re: Americans, monochrome jerseys and black shoes . . .otiebob
Sep 4, 2002 5:19 AM
Logic behind bright, multicolor cycling apparel: BE SEEN BY MOTORISTS.

Logic behind black shorts and plain jerseys: AREN'T RUINED BY OIL/GREASE STAINS.

Personally, the whole roadie fashion sturm und drang gets on my nerves. Wear what you want to and don't judge others for what they wear. I often wear brighter jerseys/shorts on the road in hopes of being noticed by phone-gabbing yuppie SUV-driving a$$holes before they run me over. Offroad on my mtn bike, I tend to eschew the colorful stuff since it gets stained by flying mud/dirt/greasy hands/etc.

I don't expect every cyclist I see swathed in full-USPS gear to be CAT 2 or better and then wisecrack when he/she turns out to be a novice, nor do I assume that the guy with hairy legs, cutoffs and knee-high tube socks automatically sucks - he may be the fastest sprinter in town.

As to why Americans seem to dress more conservatively on the bike - I'm not sure. We certainly aren't inhibited in our dress otherwise (one need only survey the sea of hip-hugger jeans and push-up-bra stuffed tank tops in our malls to see this). My guess is that we don't have the history of professional cycling like Europe and we don't follow it much, but for the TDF in the last few years and when LeMond was winning it. Look at our other sports, though, and you'll see lots of Americans running around in NFL/NBA/MLB Official jerseys. SO, in the future if we get into cycling teams (like many European fans) like we do our NFL/NBA/MLB teams, we will probably wear more bright/garish team kit.

Despite the above info, I still can't see myself donning the leotard from "Cats" getup that super-Mario currently sports on Acqua e Sapone. Your mileage, er, taste, may vary of course...

re: Americans, monochrome jerseys and black shoes . . .Mel Erickson
Sep 4, 2002 5:51 AM
"...nor do I assume that the guy with hairy legs, cutoffs and knee-high tube socks automatically sucks - he may be the fastest sprinter in town."

Reminds me of a 50 mile race I was in many years ago. There I was in the second pack, sucking wind in a fast pace line with about 10 miles to go, when this guy on a Huffy just strolls past us. No shirt, dark tan, cut offs, knee socks, Converse All Stars, seat with springs, etc., you get the picture. He went off the front and bridged to the lead pack like nothing. Later learned this guy was known around the state. Did nothing but ride his bicycle, charity events, citizen races, solo, etc.

Wear what you want, it's your riding that earns respect.
re: Americans, monochrome jerseys and black shoes . . .Steve98501
Sep 4, 2002 4:54 PM
I always thought legible clothing lacked a sense of taste and is a sign of low class. I cannot see spending my good money to advertise by wearing clothes that advertise some one else's product (a baseball team is a product, also). I like the bright colors for safety reasons, but I don't think car drivers would give me more room because the team jersey says "Burrito Heaven" and other sponsors' names on it. However, taste is surely relative; maybe definitions of class are too. I will wear some event jerseys that are legible in part of the design if they are tastefully done. But dressing up like a billboard while riding is off limits to me.