Friday, December 03, 2010

Bicycle apparel for the Top End

Darwin Bicycle Chic
Several months ago while visiting one of the very trendy bicycle shops in town I allowed myself to drift across the shop into the area where they sell all that fancy licra stuff. I'd been reading the Fat Cyclist blog and was half sucked in to buying one of his stylized Fat Cyclist skivvy, skin tight top things. I like the name and thought it would be a laugh... I couldn't believe how much of that stuff they have for sale or how expensive it is!

Having read one or Too Many bicycle blogs I have noticed that some cyclists are really into their gear.
Whether people are into road riding, racing or just hanging out being cool on the street there's a lot of people out there who really want to look cool. Apparently what you wear is important. Whether the intention is to help you go faster or just look good cycling clobber is basically deigned with the idea that it is functional while riding a bicycle. There appears to be a whole world of fashion surrounding bicycle culture so I thought I'd contribute some of my personal preferences to the discussion of appropriate cycling apparel.

Bicycle Clobber Review
Here is my preferred outfit for Cycling in Darwin during the months January - May ..... August - December (June and July get a bit cool so I occasionally wear a T-shirt or even something with long sleeves.)

  • Helmet -  $20 Bought brand new about 5 years ago. The padding has fallen out which caused me to improvise. I now wear a back to front baseball cap under the helmet which provides both padding to my scon and shade to the back of my neck...
  • Vest - $2  These are pretty easy to find in Darwin oppshops and at the tip. This one is actually an ex Anset Airlines vest! (A classic!)It is highly visible in both day and night, loose fitting and has a small pocket just the right size for my music playing thingie.
  • Cammo Shorts - $2 Opp Shop special. I love these shorts but unfortunately the synthetic doesn't stretch to match my rapidly expanding middle. Lots of pockets, cool cammo colour scheme and groovy tie up fly with valcro backup... (OK They don't look great when they're tight or with jelly like flesh hanging over the edges!)
  • Imitation Crocs - $? My mum bought them for me 3 years ago... She thought I liked them... I never really liked them I don't know why she thought I did. I have to admit that I've finally gotten used to wearing them since I accidentally left my thongs somewhere! It is handy to have something on your feet especially if you've got sharp peddles. When I first started wearing these the rubber was really grippy and I kept catching my toe nails on them! It's taken a while to wear them in but I've finally gotten used to them so they will do until I find another pair of thongs.

(See the reflective tape really does shine when there's is a light on it!)

This is by far my favorite cycle gear. It's all synthetic so it's not the 'nicest' stuff to wear but once the sweat starts to flow I don't particularly like wearing wet clingy T-Shirts or having sweaty wet patches in the front or rear of my cotton shorts!

Besides the usual divisions between the 'licra clad' and 'Street-wear crowds, helmeted or non helmeted and so on and so forth etc... etc... I've never quite understood the debate over clipless or non clipless footwear.

What's the deal with that? When my cycle shoes were new they had some clip-on straps across the heal. I used to strap them on but the plastic rivets got bashed off as they brushed against the crank of my bike, so ended up riding without them... I was clipless I suppose.... For goodness sake! It hardly made any difference! but try riding shoeless on Bear Trap peddles!
I don't particularly like riding barefoot, at least not on the peddles that I am currently using. It's a bit like wearing masseur sandals, made of rusty nails!   

Although I prefer to wear thongs I have become used to wearing the rubber clogs. When I ride my road bike I can get them to stick in the toe-clips and I can slide my feet in and out of them when I dismount.

Quite a good cycle shoe.

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