Winner on the road, loser in the mirror. Photo: Gian Mattia D'Alberto

The Mirror

The Mirror

by / / 139 posts

Have you ever been told to take a good look at yourself? Usually it infers that you need to smarten up your ideas, get your shit together, shape up or ship out. If Viagra eyedrops had an advertising campaign, (or indeed existed), their tagline would be: “Take a long, hard look at yourself.”

Most Cyclists need to take a long hard look at themselves. Ourselves. We could do a lot better in the public relations sphere if we took more care to use our playgrounds, ie the roads, as road users rather than pseudo-racers. And we need to take a long, hard look at ourselves every time we kit up and head out the door for a ride. Because what you see in the mirror is what others see also, and we should present ourselves as smart, tidy and sensible, rather than walking fluoro billboards or wannabe Pros.

The mirror is one of the most overlooked pieces of a Cyclist’s kit, and one that needs to be looked into a whole lot more than I suspect it is, going by the rolling messes I see out on the roads on every ride. Of course I’m not endorsing a Rule #66 violation, no sir. Offensive attire isn’t exclusive to the slovenly who go shopping in their tracky pants and Crocs, or the mostly smartly-dressed professionals who top off their neat-pressed pants or skirts with a fucking sleeping bag. You’re not George Costanza, so don’t bother.

It shouldn’t be necessary to tell you how to dress for the ride; you should know that yourself. That’s why The Rules were forged; to educate, yet sometimes to berate is necessary. If you are too clueless to put a helmet on your head level, to wear clean and matching kit, or to buy a pair of socks that don’t expose your fucking ankles, you’re either a hopelessly sloppy individual or a completely lost cause. These are the type of people who go out to dinner with their partner or take long haul flights while wearing rolled-up denim shorts, boat shoes and a t-shirt. Even if you have such little respect for yourself, you, as a member of society, should at least show some for those who have to encounter you.

Let’s smarten things up people. I know for the main part I’m preaching to the converted here, but it’s our duty to spread the knowledge and help ourselves by helping others within our ranks. It’s easy. Pick and choose kit carefully, pre-plan well in advance so you don’t end up just throwing whatever isn’t dirty on, and make sure it’s all adjusted properly. And if you’re in with a show of winning a Monument, straighten up that goddamn helmet!

 

// Accessories and Gear // Etiquette // La Vie Velominatus // Look Pro // Riding Ugly

  1. @andrew

    Speaking of style, taste, and premium all-matching kits for all weathers, may I present one of the locals (not my photo, not my ride!)

    I like Rapha and have a few bits, but there’s Good Rapha, and there’s Bad Rapha.

    If the level of V he inflicts on above ride approaches superhuman, I’m fine with it.

  2. @andrew

    Speaking of style, taste, and premium all-matching kits for all weathers, may I present one of the locals (not my photo, not my ride!)

    I like Rapha and have a few bits, but there’s Good Rapha, and there’s Bad Rapha.

    Sweet baby Merckx.

    @barracuda See, that’s what I’m talkin bout.

  3. @Nik

    If the level of V he inflicts on above ride approaches superhuman, I’m fine with it.

    No doubt, but he has set himself an awfully high bar.

  4. @andrew

    @Nik

    If the level of V he inflicts on above ride approaches superhuman, I’m fine with it.

    No doubt, but he has set himself an awfully high bar.

    Agreed.

  5. @ChrissyOne

    This is what I get for calling out somebody who races motorcycles.

  6. @andrew

    Speaking of style, taste, and premium all-matching kits for all weathers, may I present one of the locals (not my photo, not my ride!)

    I like Rapha and have a few bits, but there’s Good Rapha, and there’s Bad Rapha.

    This really looks wrong — the stance too.

  7. @wiscot

    Excellent stuff! Looking good should be as important as a well-maintained machine. It’s really not that difficult to do a bit of coordination – you simply buy clothing/gear based on a few colors/patters, etc.

    This extends beyond the bike. I regularly wear a suit and tie and feel damn comfortable doing so. Whether “smart” or “casual” well-fitting clothes are comfortable. I hate the excuse that baggy, formless shit is “comfortable” if worn in public. No, it’s just lazy. Many airport users never fail to stun me with their slovenliness. To paraphrase David Sedaries who was talking about an American couple on the Paris metro, “Never visit someone else’s country dressed as if you’ve come to mow the lawn.”

    Agree completely- although I am a late convert to this line of reasoning- A backpacking trip to Greece convinced me of the slovenliness in the USA.  My friends and I were woefully underdressed most evenings- cargo pants and t-shirts. We were often embarrassed to go out in the evenings amongst the locals who were always sharply dressed, but we were too cheap to buy a nicer set of clothes.  It was most apparent when we flew back in and had a layover in Dallas. The horror of what we saw walking and waiting around there is seared into my memory.

  8. @PeakInTwoYears

    @ChrissyOne

    This is what I get for calling out somebody who races motorcycles.

    And I’m thinking she is lighter now than when you were lighter then.

  9. @unversio

    @andrew

    Speaking of style, taste, and premium all-matching kits for all weathers, may I present one of the locals (not my photo, not my ride!)

    I like Rapha and have a few bits, but there’s Good Rapha, and there’s Bad Rapha.

    This really looks wrong — the stance too.

    @unversio

    @andrew

    Speaking of style, taste, and premium all-matching kits for all weathers, may I present one of the locals (not my photo, not my ride!)

    I like Rapha and have a few bits, but there’s Good Rapha, and there’s Bad Rapha.

    This really looks wrong — the stance too.

    What’s happened to his head, hands and feet in picture #3? They look like they’ve become very swollen. Looks painful . . .

  10. @VirenqueForever

    @ChrisO

    Speaking of Boonen, have you seen this.

    How can someone have so much style and class on the bike and so little off it.

    Looks like Jesus didn’t like the paint job either and gave him a flat…Voir l'image sur Twitter

    Jesus Wept

  11. @ChrisO

    Speaking of Boonen, have you seen this.

    How can someone have so much style and class on the bike and so little off it.

    When riding and see that, it makes me want to swerve and hit it.

  12. @PeakInTwoYears

    @ChrissyOne

    @Mike_P

    I’ve just noticed the rider second in line behind @ChrissyOne, adjusting his Oakley’s for the photo. Good job you didn’t feather your brakes Chrissy.

    I know it’s difficult to tell, as we’re all looking so Casually Deliberate, but we’re moving along at a healthy clip here – a good 30 kmh at least. Panic braking would have meant certain disaster.

    If you’d been there, you would’ve decided that with this group there was nothing problematic being done in that photo. The guy behind Chrissy had fantastic bike handling skills, and Chrissy wasn’t about to do anything squirrelly. It was a Good Ride.

    I’m not complaining. Merely making an observation on what I see.

  13. @Buck Rogers

    @ChrisO

    Speaking of Boonen, have you seen this.

    How can someone have so much style and class on the bike and so little off it.

    He said that he gave an artist free rein for a charity cause. I pray to the LORD that he did not actually ask for dolphins and his faced airbrushed onto it!

    Yeah, sounds like it was done to raise awareness of theMove to Improve charity, which is supported by Boonen. It’s also the beneficiary of  his Boonen and Friends cyclocross race in the winter. http://www.movetoimprove.be/

    So I’ll let him off as it’s for a good cause. And as he says, it doesn’t see much street action.

  14. Might I suggest that the issue is less the wonky lid and more that he went out of the house in a Bongo Hat in the first place? It’s depressing how many Freds are turning up in these things these days, ditto that Specialneeds abomination – Terpstra is literally the first person I’ve seen carry off the look without looking like an extra from a B-movie.

  15. @sthilzy

    @Ccos It’s the real deal!

    Well Cippo got paid to wear his kit.

    Cippo can wear Whatever TF he wants.  Doesn’t get any cooler….ever! He can even wear white (also known as ‘never’ for us mortals!

  16. @andrew, @Nik, @ChrisO, @universio

    I’m really interested to understand what you see as the main crime being committed by the ‘Bad Rapha’ fella above. Don’t you like the pink jersey? Or is that OK but the matching oversocks make it too much? Or is it the Rapha shorts & knee warmers? Or is it the too-conservative black helmet, when a pink Kask would be a better match?

    Would you consider that look to be OK in another colour – say chartreuse, white, V orange?

  17. @ChrisO Damn…now I have to sell my Rapha shit.  I loved that stuff until today.

  18. @scaler911

    @Rules Be Damned

    I do get a laugh sometimes with earnestness shown by many on this site around the importance of The Rules. Trust me Brett, no one in their car thinks about what we cyclists wear beyond “lyrca” and the last thing that Kristoff should be thinking about during a sprint finish for a Monument is whether his helmet or any other part of his kit is up to Velominati standards. Lighten up and ride more. The ride is always greater than the kit.

    Well, Niki managed to keep it straight, and he FUCKING KILLED IT the last 6K last Sunday.

    Thank the sweet baby Jeebus for Scaler. After wandering dangerously through the minefields of bowties, trackie dackies and cargo trousers, the Velominati decided to commit mass – satorial – hari – kari by string singlet. And then, BOOM Scaler does us all proud. No-one gives a shit about what labels, brands, the mud, whatever, it’s the combination of all the right components in just the right way. It’s the ineffable elements of style that we’re trying to find but by definition can’t grasp.

  19. @Geraint

    @andrew, @Nik, @ChrisO, @universio

    I’m really interested to understand what you see as the main crime being committed by the ‘Bad Rapha’ fella above. Don’t you like the pink jersey? Or is that OK but the matching oversocks make it too much? Or is it the Rapha shorts & knee warmers? Or is it the too-conservative black helmet, when a pink Kask would be a better match?

    Would you consider that look to be OK in another colour – say chartreuse, white, V orange?

    For me it’s “too much”. Gilding the lily is the phrase that comes to mind.

    Part of that “too much” is the colour I think. One of those pieces might work if the rest was all black, or white but the totality is just horrific.

    There’s another dimension which is I just don’t think the individual can carry it off. Like the difference between the guy in front of his garage door in the zebra suit compared to Cipollini.

  20. @Geraint

    @andrew, @Nik, @ChrisO, @universio

    I’m really interested to understand what you see as the main crime being committed by the ‘Bad Rapha’ fella above. Don’t you like the pink jersey? Or is that OK but the matching oversocks make it too much? Or is it the Rapha shorts & knee warmers? Or is it the too-conservative black helmet, when a pink Kask would be a better match?

    Would you consider that look to be OK in another colour – say chartreuse, white, V orange?

    Even Rapha on their website hasn’t managed to photograph anyone actually looking good all  in hot pink.  Black with pink highlights, yes, but not like this.  Chartreuse is just a fancy name for hi-viz fluoro yellow and isn’t any better.  This is just ostentatiously loud.  As Nik wrote, if he can ride everyone off his wheel like Cipo on a good day, great, but he doesn’t have Cipo’s lion-like presence to carry it off vaguely well even then.

    It sort of fits one of my theories about Germans. They don’t like change much, but if they decide to get into (or out of) something, they will do it to the absolute nth degree.  Cheesy pop music?  They have the cheesiest.  Declining interest in bike racing following doping scandals?  It’s like a media black-out.  Quality control for breweries?  World’s oldest still-valid purity law.  Matching bike kit?  See above.  I think it’s what makes them stereotypically good engineers.

    Anyway, time for an espresso and a bike ride.

  21. @unversio I’m really sorry, I try to be level when I post, but seriously What The Fuck!

  22. @Mike_P

    @PeakInTwoYears

    @ChrissyOne

    @Mike_P

    I’ve just noticed the rider second in line behind @ChrissyOne, adjusting his Oakley’s for the photo. Good job you didn’t feather your brakes Chrissy.

    I know it’s difficult to tell, as we’re all looking so Casually Deliberate, but we’re moving along at a healthy clip here – a good 30 kmh at least. Panic braking would have meant certain disaster.

    If you’d been there, you would’ve decided that with this group there was nothing problematic being done in that photo. The guy behind Chrissy had fantastic bike handling skills, and Chrissy wasn’t about to do anything squirrelly. It was a Good Ride.

    I’m not complaining. Merely making an observation on what I see.

    Yeah, I’ve seen that dude pull a no hands track stand at a traffic light. Bit of a real deal right there.

  23. A long weekend in the hills meant I missed this one.  Perfect sentiments.  This photo pretty much captures it all….and not a team or brand name in sight!

  24. Mr Gruber takes a fine shot of how a cap n helmet should be worn!  Tro-Bro Leon winner does it in style

  25. @andrew

    @Teocalli In my mind it’s so much more likePro Team Base Layer

    but you’re probably right!

    Aussie owner of North Side wheelers I believe

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