The Nine Kit

Riding in bad weather is an incredible experience assuming you don’t fall off and break your hip, or you don’t get hit by a car. Those realities aside, the weather adds a dimension to the ride that you simply don’t have on a sunny day, lovely as they are. The other day I was riding early on a cool morning with a light mist. The humidity in the air seemed to dampen the sounds of the city a bit, and the warm moist air wrapped about me like a cloak. At sea level, it was raining, but the clouds were low enough that as I climbed up away from the coast, I rose out of the rain and into the clouds which seemed to cling to the treetops as they clawed their way along the hillside. The early rays of the sun were trying to penetrate the clouds, and in some spots where the could cover was thinner, the rays burst forth with stunning clarity.

I was in another world entirely.

I keep wearing my S-Works Evade helmet when the weather gets bad outside. And every time, it’s a fresh disappointment that I don’t look like Boonen or Lizzie, who both look amazing in that festering turd of a helmet. But I don’t. I blame my grapefruit-shaped head and the vaguely bewildered look on my face. I’ve thought about ways to make my head look less like a fruit of a popular primary color, but everything I try leaves me with this same stupid round head. If you can’t choose your parents, you should at least be allowed to choose your face; it seems like a basic humanitarian issue.

Ugly as it is, however, it is very warm and keeps the wind off my wet, flowing locks, and it also has enough surface area that I have added various strips of black reflective tape to help make me more visible in order to satisfy to my lingering desire not to end up on a texting-driver’s bumper. (I’ve also covered bits of my Nine Bike with the same tape, and it is awesome.) The Castelli Gabba jersey is the go-to wet weather riding jersey, also with some reflective materials on it, and in Spinal Tap Black it matches the V-Bibs perfectly. This is a jersey that will make even the most stubborn fair-weather rider get excited about rain.

Finally, I’ve been wearing DeFeet’s orange Cyclismo socks in bad weather along with the Orange Damsels, but with the mercury dropping, I’m going to switch over to the orange Slipstreams to keep my feet toasty in the coming cool rain. And, I’m considering designing an all-orange V-Jersey. You heard me.

There is a fine line between being safely visible and looking like a bicycling traffic cone, but the best rides are the rides we come home from. Indulge in the magic that only a Rule #9 ride can bring you, but make sure you stay safe, and keep your Nine Kit in good taste.

Vive la Vie Velominatus.

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77 Replies to “The Nine Kit”

  1. All-orange V-jersey?! Yes! Gabba love. Looking fantastic while staying upright with all your parts working together like they ought to. I love all of this.

  2. At first glance there is a fine line between an Orange V-Jersey and a YJA… but in reality not. The YJA is, well, yellow for a start but more poinently, gawdy loose fitting and flapping about the place resplendant in white reflective tape. A well fitted jersey in a highly visable V-Orange – designed correcty – yes, do that.

  3. weather is in transition mode here too, seriously thinking of putting full-time mud guards (“fenders” to any foreigners ) on my commute bike, even though they’ll make me look like an old lady cycling to church. I’ve decided a dry arse is more important, its a middle-age thing.

    BTW, link to ‘Spinal tap black’ gives: When something can be none more black, like the color of your cables, bars, saddle, tires, or your soul. No more, surely?

  4. Ok, so first things first, no fenders (or mudguards), otherwise you deny your bike the spoils of avvesome that come with a proper Rule #9 ride.

    and when it comes to visibility in poor conditions, Rapha does have some adequately retina searing options available. Have been advised that this combo is visible from nearly a kilometre away in the fog.

  5. last winter, mainly for commuting, I got fed up of shoe covers and got winter shoes. Found that Northwave do three-bolt ones in Goretex.

    Lurid yellow Goretex.

    They’re eye-searing and like all waterproof kit for the feet can’t protect against a full scale downpour, but otherwise they’re one of the best investments I’ve ever made in cycling kit.

    The commuter bike, which was all-black to start with, is almost entirely coated in black reflective tape. If I was ever getting a custom built winter/commuter I’d investigate getting reflective paint

    (and mudguards are mandatory on winter rides in my club, as no-one likes a face full of wheel spray)

  6.  I have added various strips of black reflective tape to help make me more visible in order to satisfy to my lingering desire not to end up on a texting-driver’s bumper. (I’ve also covered bits of my Nine Bike with the same tape, and it is awesome.)

    Get some Nine wheels and lid and reflective tape the shit out of them! Keep your lights charged!

  7. Did an extra-long commute yesterday morning (52kms, to be precise) which involved leaving the house at 6:30 am and for the first time this year the temperature was below 5C.

    Suiting up in my cold-ish (I have some proper cold weather options but they are not required yet) was actually really exciting -SS jersey with a sleeveless vest underneath, arm and knee warmers, full finger gloves, cap and normal footwear. I chucked my fluoro Yellow Gillet of Authority in sharpish as I started out as it was colder than I expect (it’s not flappy and it’s very visible – I don’t trust the drivers around here).

    Apart from slightly cold tootsies I was perfectly comfortable, and apart from it taking pretty much the hwole first hour for my legs to start working the ride was great, and I got to watch the stars fading as the darkness gave way to the expectant deep blue of a perfect autumn morning.

    And when I got to work everyone could see how aVVesome I was.

  8. Having been a long time lover of both Rules #5 and #9, I’ve gotta tell you Frank that this year has been a long year both training and racing. So much so that my V is an all time low, and the mantra is difficult to maintain. However, I’m looking forward to receiving my new V Kit as I’m hoping that will inject some much needed V into my life. It can’t come too soon

  9. Fixin to put a pair of 25mm Open Paves on Fausto and just took delivery of some Grip Grab  over shoes. Made in Denmark so they have to be good right? They look loaded for bear to be sure.

    Right now the arm warmers, gilet, casquette, and diluvio for feet and hands are perfect for commuting around 5-9C. Leaving the guns exposed for now.

    Considering an orange Condor for N+1 Graveur / Audax rig in the New Year. Will be looking for fashion tips accordingly!

  10. I have to admit that in my old age I don’t do a whole lot of #9 riding … at least not intentionally. And about 40F is my lower limit for cold weather riding. My best investment for helping to be seen is a Bontrager Flare R tail light. Even in bright sunlight, visible from 1K+ away. Otherwise, my only “hi-viz” kit is a red Bellwether wind vest that has some reflective piping on it. Oh, and my Lazer Helium helmet has a built-in blinky light.

  11. There is nothing like the transformative rides, whether due to weather, being able to get away from things for a bit, or just one of those awesome rides. I love being out for an hour or two and returning feeling like a new person. (As a Gemini, I guess it’s easy to swap one side for another!)

    When I ride solo in 9 conditions in fall/winter, I go for as bright as possible. The reflective tape idea from Frank is one I started utilizing last year. GREAT idea. And the black tape is hardly noticeable without light shining on it.

    I also really think dual-levels of rear lights are a good idea. I always have one mounted on the bike, but I’ve also mounted one on my helmet. A thin Velcro strap from the hardware store and then a usb-chargeable Planet Bike Superflash Turbo mini go on the back of my helmets. Can’t feel the weight of the light and it stays in place. Plus, I also hope the movement of my head catches drivers too comatose to see the rear light on the bike.

    Can’t wait for winter commuting this year, made some nice pick-ups in the offseason that should keep me dry and warm.

  12. @chuckp

    I have to admit that in my old age I don’t do a whole lot of #9 riding … at least not intentionally. And about 40F is my lower limit for cold weather riding. My best investment for helping to be seen is a Bontrager Flare R tail light. Even in bright sunlight, visible from 1K+ away. Otherwise, my only “hi-viz” kit is a red Bellwether wind vest that has some reflective piping on it. Oh, and my Lazer Helium helmet has a built-in blinky light.

    As I wrote…I’ve been able to attach a Planet Bike Super Flash mini to a variety of helmets, just with a thin Velcro strap routed through the rear vents. Built-in lights are a great idea, but if you don’t have one, this method lets you ride with a second, higher-up light.

  13. I saw this here a while back. It’s my early morning/ late evening/ low light cool weather top. Admittedly it is a bit ‘bicycling traffic cone’ though.

  14. @JohnB

    I saw this here a while back. It’s my early morning/ late evening/ low light cool weather top. Admittedly it is a bit ‘bicycling traffic cone’ though.

    Me likey the traffic cone. :-) My go-to cool weather long-sleeve jersey is an old Kodak/Sierra Nevada team jersey that my wife picked up on closeout somewhere for dirt cheap. It definitely can be seen and I like that it has a soft fleece lining.

  15. @JohnB

    I saw this here a while back. It’s my early morning/ late evening/ low light cool weather top. Admittedly it is a bit ‘bicycling traffic cone’ though.

    Another reason to love the S. Pellegrino jersey.

  16. Being half-Dutch, Orange is always the go-to hi-vis color for Nine bike riding. Also being half-Dutch, living in Seattle and team riding, fenders with mud flaps are mandatory for the Nine bike. Well set up quality fenders can look awesome. Don’t be a douche.

    Fender Zones

  17. I can’t believe it’s still so damn hot here (hovering about 38C),  I’m waiting for it to cool off to reasonable fall temperatures.  No warm kit for me anytime soon.

    @chuckp and anyone else with those nuclear powered rear lights – just be courteous and leave it at home for the club rides.  I was in a group on Sunday, one guy had a retina searing light that was unbearable.  I was tempted to rip it from his seatpost and shove it down his throat.  I’m pretty sure his ass would have lit up from the inside, it was so bright.  Anyway, anger management classes taught me to ignore it and just keep in front of him.

    Otherwise, be bright and be safe out there.

  18. @MangoDave

    I can’t believe it’s still so damn hot here (hovering about 38C),  I’m waiting for it to cool off to reasonable fall temperatures.  No warm kit for me anytime soon.

    @chuckp and anyone else with those nuclear powered rear lights – just be courteous and leave it at home for the club rides.  I was in a group on Sunday, one guy had a retina searing light that was unbearable.  I was tempted to rip it from his seatpost and shove it down his throat.  I’m pretty sure his ass would have lit up from the inside, it was so bright.  Anyway, anger management classes taught me to ignore it and just keep in front of him.

    Otherwise, be bright and be safe out there.

    I hear you. Since I’m no longer racing and just riding to ride, the vast majority of my rides are solo. Any group riding is usually a small group (maybe a half dozen folks) and most everyone has some sort of blinky light. One of the things I like about the Flare R is that it has hi (daylight) and low (nighttime) settings, the latter to avoid blinding drivers and others at night. The nighttime setting is also good for group rides so as to not sear anyone retinas. :-) Or you could just HTFU and ride at the front so as not to have to stare at the blinky light. :-)

  19. @Heusdens

    Being half-Dutch, Orange is always the go-to hi-vis color for Nine bike riding. Also being half-Dutch, living in Seattle and team riding, fenders with mud flaps are mandatory for the Nine bike. Well set up quality fenders can look awesome. Don’t be a douche.

    Fender Zones

    Half Dutch and lives in Seattle? PM me; lets set up a ride. And are you coming to the Whidbey Island Cogal on Saturday?

    As far as fenders go, you can go ride on the front if you don’t want to chew on my rooster tail.

  20. Have to confess: wore the YVA the other week on a very foggy morning; the thing hangs right by the bike, and it just did not seem to make sense not to wear it in those conditions; I’m not proud of it–though I’m not going to apologize either–it only happens once or twice a year.

  21. @frank

    A rule Nine article in anticipation of VVhidbey this Saturday?

    Friday Harbor is looking like three for Saturday.  We’re old guys, as in I may leave my fenders on even though it’s a Velominati ride, but we do stick with it, will finish rain or shine and enjoy a day dedicated to a good tough ride.  The bike demands it!

    Hopefully see you Saturday.

  22. A reader emailed me wondering about my lights, and while I use the Eye of Sauron along with a Lezyne Super Drive on my helmet for my real nightime ride lighting needs, these are the standard-issue lights on my Nine Bike. (Fuck me if I know why the latest iOS on the newest iPhone 6s connected to a WiFi network won’t let me upload a video in HD.)

    I’ll have to look up the flashers in order to recall which they are exactly, but they are rechargeable and I saw a rider in the rain one day and actually stopped him to ask which lights they were; the effect of the strobe on the spokes is virtually um-missable, even by the most staunch texter. I have heard, however, that drunk drivers get a bit fixated on the flashers and they may actually cause them to hit you when they would otherwise have benignly hit a tree and killed only themselves.

  23. @frank

    Please note that all YJA and YVA confessions fall squarely under the Masturbation Principle, people!

    I can confirm that no YJA to be found round these parts.

    Long sleeve black Castelli Gabba and black Castelli Nanoflex bibs all the way here !  Both awesomely comfortable and functional in all weather.  ” Jack of all trades ”  kit.

    Both have enough reflective elements to not need additional colour.

  24. @Heusdens

    Being half-Dutch, Orange is always the go-to hi-vis color for Nine bike riding. Also being half-Dutch, living in Seattle and team riding, fenders with mud flaps are mandatory for the Nine bike. Well set up quality fenders can look awesome. Don’t be a douche.

    Fender Zones

    Orange is always appropriate, except maybe when bright yellow is available.

  25. @frank

    Orange Velotoze.

    Get on it. Forget about Slipstreams as nice as they are, your feet will still be wet.

    Velotoze; toasty dry.

  26. Maybe I’m making this up, but I feel like I once heard a King Kelly quote to the effect of “…in his day, they didn’t have all this foul weather shite to wear…”

    Beyond a blinker (which I feel is the only effective way to get noticed) and my alternate shoes, there is no nine bike kit.

  27. @universo

    @Mikael Liddy

    Oooo, thought the Barbie (Ken) image had been eradicated!

    You can also tell that it’s a photo from last year, as Im willing to punt that with the arrival of twin Velonippers the eyes would be looking alot darker from the sleep deprivation.

    Congrats @Mikael Liddy on the arrival if not already stated somewhere in the depths of another post somewhere.

  28. After an unseasonably warm September it’s beginning to cool down in the UK so the woolly kit was dug out the back of the kit drawer for Sunday’s club run: DeFeet socks, arm and leg warmers and a Rapha base layer. Combined with brand spanking new club kit, it was a pretty fine look.

    Only problem is that, no matter what I do my right leg warmer wants to make a break for my ankles. It doesn’t take too many kilometers for a gap to open up and my handsfree riding isn’t up to rolling up my bibs and resetting a leg warmer.

    I suspect that, as with Rule #65, decorum would dictate that one sits up an allows the group to ride on before making repairs but there hadn’t been a warm up phase to the ride and I was concerned that after closing the gap, I’d never close the gap.

    A couple of hasty grabs did enough to hide the flesh but it wan’t pretty and it wan’t until the cake break that I was able to restore decency fully.

  29. Celebrating L’eroica Brit 2016 entries opening went for a vintage run on The Butler in suitable vintage attire.  Wool jerseys are great right up to the point it starts raining.  It rained.

  30. @osbk67

    Yours is the BFAM (brother from another mother) of my Hollands (not specifically a #9 bike but it’s seen plenty of miles in the wet).

  31. Since we’re talking Rule #9 riding, can someone suggest knee warmers for cool, wet weather? I’m talking about the ones that have a fleece lining and then the sheer protective outside. I have some cheapos for commuting, would like some for actual road riding.

    I have DeFeet Kneekers and those are great in the cold, would like some better suited to the wet. Thanks!

  32. @Ron

    Since we’re talking Rule #9 riding, can someone suggest knee warmers for cool, wet weather? I’m talking about the ones that have a fleece lining and then the sheer protective outside. I have some cheapos for commuting, would like some for actual road riding.

    I have DeFeet Kneekers and those are great in the cold, would like some better suited to the wet. Thanks!

    I’m using Sportful NoRain arm and knee warmers. Good value and seem to work well and shed moisture.  Sizing is skinny.

  33. @chris

    After an unseasonably warm September it’s beginning to cool down in the UK so the woolly kit was dug out the back of the kit drawer for Sunday’s club run: DeFeet socks, arm and leg warmers and a Rapha base layer. Combined with brand spanking new club kit, it was a pretty fine look.

    Only problem is that, no matter what I do my right leg warmer wants to make a break for my ankles. It doesn’t take too many kilometers for a gap to open up and my handsfree riding isn’t up to rolling up my bibs and resetting a leg warmer.

    I suspect that, as with Rule #65, decorum would dictate that one sits up an allows the group to ride on before making repairs but there hadn’t been a warm up phase to the ride and I was concerned that after closing the gap, I’d never close the gap.

    A couple of hasty grabs did enough to hide the flesh but it wan’t pretty and it wan’t until the cake break that I was able to restore decency fully

    Rapha Merino? Go to base layer, superb bit of kit

  34. @gilly

    @chris

    After an unseasonably warm September it’s beginning to cool down in the UK so the woolly kit was dug out the back of the kit drawer for Sunday’s club run: DeFeet socks, arm and leg warmers and a Rapha base layer. Combined with brand spanking new club kit, it was a pretty fine look.

    Only problem is that, no matter what I do my right leg warmer wants to make a break for my ankles. It doesn’t take too many kilometers for a gap to open up and my handsfree riding isn’t up to rolling up my bibs and resetting a leg warmer.

    I suspect that, as with Rule #65, decorum would dictate that one sits up an allows the group to ride on before making repairs but there hadn’t been a warm up phase to the ride and I was concerned that after closing the gap, I’d never close the gap.

    A couple of hasty grabs did enough to hide the flesh but it wan’t pretty and it wan’t until the cake break that I was able to restore decency fully

    Rapha Merino? Go to base layer, superb bit of kit

    Rapha base layer(s) now 25 percent off

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