The Punter

They say you can measure the quality of a man’s character by his ability to admit when he’s wrong. That in itself seems wrong, since it would obviously be better to be right in the first place, but I’m probably missing the point because I’m Dutch and everyone knows Dutch people are 97% more righter 84% of the time than the rest of the world.

I must confess to a certain hubris when it comes to kitting up for a ride; I’ve been doing this for a long time, and I’ve gotten accustomed to making good decisions about what to wear and how to wear it. But today I strayed from the path: my socks were carefully and deliberately pulled out over the tops of my overshoes. Not only is it the most concrete evidence that my socks are too long, it looked like I had two orange gaskets stuck to my ankles. Not to mention that this resulted in only a tiny amount of my shins being exposed between my knee warmers and socks.

Sometimes we must stray from the Path in order to understand where it lies; today I have wandered far indeed but have found my way back. Do not lose faith and always seek to return to the Path.

VLVV.

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181 Replies to “The Punter”

  1. @wiscot

    A quick Google image search found that shot straight away, and I have several other pics of him in various magazines/posters wearing proper booties to hand. It seems to me as if he wore Belgian overshoes in essentially dry races and proper booties when it was proper raining, although I’ve got a shot of him here in KAS kit with booties and it looks like the middle of summer! He is wearing armwarmers that look like socks though, so perhaps it’s colder than it looks – the Vuelta in April could be ugly.

    I think in those days we all just subscribed to the point of view that cold feet were a very bad thing, but wintergreen and baby oil could take care of the legs. Also, the only knee warmers that were available were surgical bandages, separate leg warmers were non-existent, and full tights were too tricky to deal with in a race…

  2. @Chipomarc

    @sthilzy

    @Chipomarc

    Katusha got Chicked by a mostly warmless wearing bunch

    Katusha guys must have started out on the ride much earlier than the women when it was cold, going to a much higher elevation, et cetera.

    What makes you think that’s what happened? There are a trillion reasons why they might have been chicked and are dressed differently, and most of them are not chauvinistic.

  3. @Teocalli

    @Mike C

    Shorts should be shorts, pants should be full length and worn around the waist. Anything in between seems, well, indecisive…

    Pants should be worn inside your trousers (or shorts) unless you are Superman.

    Tomatoes, tomatoes. Sounds pretty British to my ears.  Or we could get into the ridiculous discussion of why so many products get nicknames that end with this type of sound. The telly, my wellies, sunnies. I could go on about other crazy stuff also but I’m very busy at the moment sitting on my lazy ass, thank you very much.    I know, I know, it’s ARSE!!

    @gilly

    @Mike C

    Could not agree less with this. Knee warmers are my go to through Autumn and Winter. I can’t abide tights, love the look of the EVH’s and it keeps me shaving the guns all year round.

    It’s December 2nd as I respond to your post good sir. The outside temperature at 8:35 pm is around 72* f. My days off riding in cold weather don’t normally start until January. Even then it doesn’t get too darn cold for long. As for keeping the guns shaven all winter, well, that would be mandatory here.

    • You see, right at moment I’m wearing shorts. Short pants. Short trousers, if those exist, though I’ve never heard the term.

    Do they exist? If not then I guess I’m wearing some form of undergarment. See, we’re back to the start of this silly thing about the difference between trousers and pants. I need a recovery ale or three to clear the clutter in my mind

  4. @frank

    @Chipomarc

    @sthilzy

    @Chipomarc

    Katusha got Chicked by a mostly warmless wearing bunch

    Katusha guys must have started out on the ride much earlier than the women when it was cold, going to a much higher elevation, et cetera.

    What makes you think that’s what happened? There are a trillion reasons why they might have been chicked and are dressed differently, and most of them are not chauvinistic.

    Chipomarc has more personnel issues than just his choice of shit beer to drink.

  5. @Oli

    @osbk67

    Erm.

    Well played Oli! It just proves the unthinkable is possible, although I’m not sure that makes it right… If I’ve ever seen that photo before I’ve long since blocked it out…

  6. Here was I thinking Kelly started early in wool and never wavered…

    Photo by E A W Koestal from “Kelly” by David Walsh.

  7. @Oli

    @wiscot

    A quick Google image search found that shot straight away, and I have several other pics of him in various magazines/posters wearing proper booties to hand. It seems to me as if he wore Belgian overshoes in essentially dry races and proper booties when it was proper raining, although I’ve got a shot of him here in KAS kit with booties and it looks like the middle of summer! He is wearing armwarmers that look like socks though, so perhaps it’s colder than it looks – the Vuelta in April could be ugly.

    I think in those days we all just subscribed to the point of view that cold feet were a very bad thing, but wintergreen and baby oil could take care of the legs. Also, the only knee warmers that were available were surgical bandages, separate leg warmers were non-existent, and full tights were too tricky to deal with in a race…

    Surely you had a thick black pair of woollen “Tamahine”? brand made in NZ leg warmers in 1985?

  8. @frank

    If the story of Goldilocks was based on you, it’d be all wrong. ‘Just Right’ in sock-length means it near-touches the calf muscle.

  9. @RobSandy

    take the insoles out and tape the holes underneath, most shoes seem to be made for Italian summers!

    Velotoze are great, but meant only for racing, says on the packaging don’t expect them to last. you also have to put them on before you put your shoes on, still don’t last that long though.

  10. @osbk67

    I had a couple of Tamahine jerseys and a pair of their tights, but I seriously don’t recall any leg warmers. I dropped entirely away from cycling between late ’86 and early ’92 – by the time I realised I was mad and regained my cycling life leg and knee warmers were everywhere…

  11. @Craigyboywonder

    @RobSandy

    take the insoles out and tape the holes underneath, most shoes seem to be made for Italian summers!

    Velotoze are great, but meant only for racing, says on the packaging don’t expect them to last. you also have to put them on before you put your shoes on, still don’t last that long though.

    Yep, done that, water gets around the tape. I wonder if another coat of tape is in order.

    Also, I was expecting Velotoze to be slightly fragile, but I’d also expected them to last more than one ride.

    That goes in the category of ‘not fit for purpose’ to me.

  12. @frank

    @Ron

    I was wondering why my one of my bigger cycling drawers wasn’t didn’t have room for my long sleeve jerseys anymore.

    Apparently this is why.

    That’s amazing. I have 3 pairs of bibs, total, and 1 pair of bib tights.

  13. @Oli

    @wiscot

    A quick Google image search found that shot straight away, and I have several other pics of him in various magazines/posters wearing proper booties to hand. It seems to me as if he wore Belgian overshoes in essentially dry races and proper booties when it was proper raining, although I’ve got a shot of him here in KAS kit with booties and it looks like the middle of summer! He is wearing armwarmers that look like socks though, so perhaps it’s colder than it looks – the Vuelta in April could be ugly.

    I think in those days we all just subscribed to the point of view that cold feet were a very bad thing, but wintergreen and baby oil could take care of the legs. Also, the only knee warmers that were available were surgical bandages, separate leg warmers were non-existent, and full tights were too tricky to deal with in a race…

    Agreed on the wintergreen. My pal John’s Mum worked in a chemists. She made up her own recipe embrocation for us – baby oil, wintergreen and Merckx knows what else. Worked a treat but rather strong smelling to say the least! Knee warmers were unknown to us but leg warmers were – a common style were basically stretchy, ribbed acrylic jobbies with no grippers. Did the job but looked helloish when used with lycra shorts. I don’t think I ever raced in full tights. Overshoes sucked – thin vinyl. Ripped easily and had very little insulation.

  14. @osbk67

    Here was I thinking Kelly started early in wool and never wavered…

    Photo by E A W Koestal from “Kelly” by David Walsh.

    And you didn’t want to get wet wearing that shit. Wait, they’re in Ireland. Rains all the time. What Kelly is wearing on his lower half, I have no idea. Single chainring up front and full mudguards says “winter ride.”

  15. @tessar

    @frank

    If the story of Goldilocks was based on you, it’d be all wrong. ‘Just Right’ in sock-length means it near-touches the calf muscle.

    Oh for fucks sake, what are you on about?

    Who are you, Brad Wiggins? Goldilocks means it comes just over the narrowest part of the ankle.

  16. @Craigyboywonder

    Velotoze are an absolute abomination and one should choose to have their toes frozen and amputated before succumbing to wearing those atrocities.

    @RobSandy

    @Craigyboywonder

    @RobSandy

    take the insoles out and tape the holes underneath, most shoes seem to be made for Italian summers!

    Velotoze are great, but meant only for racing, says on the packaging don’t expect them to last. you also have to put them on before you put your shoes on, still don’t last that long though.

    Yep, done that, water gets around the tape. I wonder if another coat of tape is in order.

    Also, I was expecting Velotoze to be slightly fragile, but I’d also expected them to last more than one ride.

    That goes in the category of ‘not fit for purpose’ to me.

    Sounds like the company understands exactly how shit their product is.

  17. @wiscot

    @osbk67

    Here was I thinking Kelly started early in wool and never wavered…

    Photo by E A W Koestal from “Kelly” by David Walsh.

    And you didn’t want to get wet wearing that shit. Wait, they’re in Ireland. Rains all the time. What Kelly is wearing on his lower half, I have no idea. Single chainring up front and full mudguards says “winter ride.”

    Not to mention that toque!

  18. @frank

    @Craigyboywonder

    Sounds like the company understands exactly how shit their product is.

    Saw them with a decent review in Cycling Weekly, and for £15 I thought they were worth a go. They were so full of holes halfway my first and only ride with them they let the water in anyway. I must admit I was in some doubt about whether they’d work, and am not astonished to find that the answer is that they, in fact, don’t.

  19. @frank

    @wiscot

    @osbk67

    Here was I thinking Kelly started early in wool and never wavered…

    Photo by E A W Koestal from “Kelly” by David Walsh.

    And you didn’t want to get wet wearing that shit. Wait, they’re in Ireland. Rains all the time. What Kelly is wearing on his lower half, I have no idea. Single chainring up front and full mudguards says “winter ride.”

    Not to mention that toque!

    And the both have frame-fit pumps too! However, neither have a bottle – must have only been doing 6-7 hours. Kelly’s bars are pretty rad shallow drop for back in the day.

  20. Any company tossing a “z” into their name/product to sound cute is total bullshit. That means you, Velotoze.

    Sock length. Far before it was stylish, I wore mid-calfs for sports and in the summers. My legs from ankle to calf are chickenesque and I prefer to spare the world from seeing them.

    Kelly looks far from Kingly there. We all have bad days.

  21. @RobSandy

    @frank

    @Craigyboywonder

    Sounds like the company understands exactly how shit their product is.

    Saw them with a decent review in Cycling Weekly, and for £15 I thought they were worth a go. They were so full of holes halfway my first and only ride with them they let the water in anyway. I must admit I was in some doubt about whether they’d work, and am not astonished to find that the answer is that they, in fact, don’t.

    If they had lasted through that first ride, you likely would have cleaned them off on your return home, thereby removing the powdery residue that is key to keeping the latex from sticking to itself, and ensuring that if you tried to use them again it would take nearly 15 minutes to get half way near getting them on…or so I’ve heard.

    I know Apple catches some (well deserved) shit for their inbuilt obsolescence within iProducts, but to design a product as single use & then sell it at that price takes a fair bit of gall.

  22. Knee warmers are your good friend. Keep the Guns happy. A sweaty brow can besmirch the super slick shades, but no Rouleur ever complained about hot knees (especially when not racing).

  23. @RobSandy

    They are some prototypes and then every time we do a run I always order some stuff just to make sure everything is still as I expect it to be. It adds up, apparently.

  24. Well, whoever did the order at the LBS my wife works at ordered the “wrong” shoe covers. Instead of Pearl Izumi Pro Barrier WxB shoe covers, I now have Pearl Izumi Pro Softshell WxB shoe covers. Actually nicer (also pricier). Instead of fleece lining, primaloft lining so should be warmer (supposed to be good for down to the low 30s).. Still screaming yellow (but with more black). Temps for tomorrow morning’s ride are supposed to be in the 40s (won’t get to 50 until after we’re finished) so will see how they work with my toes that get oh so cold oh so easily.

  25. @frank  @Matt, et al….. Really, who cares what a cyclist wears as long as he/s is out there.  The mindless obsession with cycling “fashion” is superfluous and irrelevant – just more marketing for runway wannabes.  Passing motorists could care less; fellow cyclists could care less.  If you crave attention, ride faster.

  26. Oooofff. Terry, you are in the wrong place if you want to carry on about how aesthetic choices don’t matter.

    It’s quite simple, really. A lot of us have class, passion, and honor. That dictates how we carry ourselves on and off the bicycle. Additionally, for many of us cycling is a crucial part of our daily lives, something we happily partake in and which is never far from our minds. As a result, we take it seriously and to do that means we care. We care that our RD is correctly adjusted, we care that our bibs aren’t covered with dog hair, and we care that we’re always in good enough form to head out for a long day in the saddle whenever a mate comes knocking.

    Your belief that I’m going about any of this mindlessly is definitively incorrect.

    As for attention. Not even close. It’s about self-respect and decency. Many of us have high standards and take what we choose to spend our time on seriously. Don’t think you’ll find many half-steppers in the Followers pack. For me, there is no point in getting out of bed in the morning if I’m going to half-heart my way around.

    As a wise Dean once said, “Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son.”

  27. @Terry

    @frank  @Matt, et al….. Really, who cares what a cyclist wears as long as he/s is out there.  The mindless obsession with cycling “fashion” is superfluous and irrelevant – just more marketing for runway wannabes.  Passing motorists could care less; fellow cyclists could care less.  If you crave attention, ride faster.

    I sense a disturbance in the Force.

  28. @Terry

    The mindless obsession with cycling “fashion” is superfluous and irrelevant – just more marketing for runway wannabes.  

    I resemble that statement!

  29. @Ron

    Oooofff. Terry, you are in the wrong place if you want to carry on about how aesthetic choices don’t matter.

    It’s quite simple, really. A lot of us have class, passion, and honor. That dictates how we carry ourselves on and off the bicycle. Additionally, for many of us cycling is a crucial part of our daily lives, something we happily partake in and which is never far from our minds. As a result, we take it seriously and to do that means we care. We care that our RD is correctly adjusted, we care that our bibs aren’t covered with dog hair, and we care that we’re always in good enough form to head out for a long day in the saddle whenever a mate comes knocking.

    Your belief that I’m going about any of this mindlessly is definitively incorrect.

    As for attention. Not even close. It’s about self-respect and decency. Many of us have high standards and take what we choose to spend our time on seriously. Don’t think you’ll find many half-steppers in the Followers pack. For me, there is no point in getting out of bed in the morning if I’m going to half-heart my way around.

    As a wise Dean once said, “Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son.”

    Quite.  In response to the “who cares” the answer is “we care”.  I could not care less about the opinion of the passing driver as long as a) he sees me and b) he misses me.  Mainly coz once one did neither………….

  30. @Ron

    Oooofff. Terry, you are in the wrong place if you want to carry on about how aesthetic choices don’t matter.

    Fair enough, but I think Terry has a point. At one level, we shouldn’t really care about what kind of bike people ride and what they wear while riding … if we believe that more bikes and people riding bikes are “better” than less. At the same time, those of us who take our riding more “seriously” are going to have a different attitude and approach. But I’d be careful about having our noses too far up in the air and looking down at anyone who doesn’t look like us. One of the reasons I quit racing and riding a bike for ~15 years was because of elitism and snobbery … by a whole lot of racers/riders/wannabees who weren’t elite or anywhere close to being such. Yeah, I like looking “the part” when I’m out on a bike. Even then, I’m more than happy to stray from the Rules if it suits my fancy (see my response to @Frank‘s lament about Etixx-Quickstep having blue shorts in 2016). But I’m more than happy to ride with anyone who wants to ride and who wants to learn how to ride well (even if that isn’t fast). If they make “right” aesthetic choices, that’s a bonus but not an absolute requirement.

  31. @Terry

    @frank  @Matt, et al….. Really, who cares what a cyclist wears as long as he/s is out there.  The mindless obsession with cycling “fashion” is superfluous and irrelevant – just more marketing for runway wannabes.  Passing motorists could care less; fellow cyclists could care less.  If you crave attention, ride faster.

    I don’t care what other cyclists wear. I think it’s great any time someone gets on a bike; they can wear a pillowcase with holes cut in it for all I care. But I certainly enjoy kitting up, just for my own satisfaction. I feel good when my Mapei cap matches my jersey. It makes me happy. I didn’t buy that kit because it was marketed to me as making me a faster rider. I just like the old Mapei team and its kit design.

    Most of the discussion of “fashion” around here is taking the piss anyway.

  32. @Terry

    @frank  @Matt, et al….. Really, who cares what a cyclist wears as long as he/s is out there.  The mindless obsession with cycling “fashion” is superfluous and irrelevant – just more marketing for runway wannabes.  Passing motorists could care less; fellow cyclists could care less.  If you crave attention, ride faster.

    I can tell that you are one of those ‘types’ that ride around wearing a orange safety vest and have a mirror stuck to your eyeglasses.

  33. @Ron

    As a wise Dean once said, “Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son.”

    But it’s a hell of a way to go through college!

  34. @Teocalli

    Quite.  In response to the “who cares” the answer is “we care”.  I could not care less about the opinion of the passing driver as long as a) he sees me and b) he misses me.  Mainly coz once one did neither………….

    Sometimes for (a) to happen, you have to make a choice between “aesthetically pleasing” and “being seen.” Hence, neon yellow is often part of my cycling attire if I know I’m going to out in conditions that lend themselves to being less seen than otherwise, e.g., this time of year for those of us in the northern hemisphere. And why even in daylight I turn on my really annoyingly bright Bontrager Flare R blinky light that can be seen from forever away. It’s actually so bright during the day that I had to turn it down to the night setting on one ride because my wife couldn’t stand it riding behind me.

  35. @chuckp

    Well I was not in a YJA but as one of my (non cycling) colleagues said after the incident (and after I had recovered) – holy f*&^ how could he not have seen you, you look like Joseph in the multi colour dream coat.  It was quite few years ago now.

    I tend to eschew fluro but do try to avoid black – though my best rain jacket is black but only because I was given it as part of a corporate package from an event last year.

  36. @Teocalli

    @chuckp

    Well I was not in a YJA but as one of my (non cycling) colleagues said after the incident (and after I had recovered) – holy f*&^ how could he not have seen you, you look like Joseph in the multi colour dream coat.  It was quite few years ago now.

    I tend to eschew fluro but do try to avoid black – though my best rain jacket is black but only because I was given it as part of a corporate package from an event last year.

    How’s this for flouro?

  37. @chuckp

    @Teocalli

    @chuckp

    Well I was not in a YJA but as one of my (non cycling) colleagues said after the incident (and after I had recovered) – holy f*&^ how could he not have seen you, you look like Joseph in the multi colour dream coat.  It was quite few years ago now.

    I tend to eschew fluro but do try to avoid black – though my best rain jacket is black but only because I was given it as part of a corporate package from an event last year.

    How’s this for flouro?

    Well done indeed, and nice to see that she hasn’t spoiled her legs by riding a bike too much.

  38. chuckp – Allow me to clarify. I’m thrilled to see all types of folks out on bikes. I choose to not drive, so I ride a bike everywhere. I ride to work sometimes in a t-shirt and shorts with sneakers. Today I rode in full kit. I also am involved in a local cycling advocacy group. I live in one of the fastest growing areas in the U.S., so bike infrastructure is at the point where we better get it in place now, or it’s never.

    I don’t look down on anyone on a bike, though I do find it hard to not pass judgment on those who have a nice bike and let it get dirty and squeaky. But, that’s just because I grew up with an engineer/handy-man of all sorts father who taught me to properly care for your tools.

    My main point was that I personally care how I look and feel when on/off the bike. I take pride in that. And it would be nice if more people took pride in themselves. I really can’t believe how many people I see going around town in pajamas or sweat pants and then the folks in slippers! It’s pathetic.

    I spend a considerable amount of time trying to get new folks out cycling, as an alternative to using cars. I’m thrilled to see more and more cyclists. But, I won’t hear it that I shouldn’t care how I look. Looking good and feeling good are both things I like to do!

  39. @Ron

    chuckp – Allow me to clarify. I’m thrilled to see all types of folks out on bikes. I choose to not drive, so I ride a bike everywhere. I ride to work sometimes in a t-shirt and shorts with sneakers. Today I rode in full kit. I also am involved in a local cycling advocacy group. I live in one of the fastest growing areas in the U.S., so bike infrastructure is at the point where we better get it in place now, or it’s never.

    I don’t look down on anyone on a bike, though I do find it hard to not pass judgment on those who have a nice bike and let it get dirty and squeaky. But, that’s just because I grew up with an engineer/handy-man of all sorts father who taught me to properly care for your tools.

    My main point was that I personally care how I look and feel when on/off the bike. I take pride in that. And it would be nice if more people took pride in themselves. I really can’t believe how many people I see going around town in pajamas or sweat pants and then the folks in slippers! It’s pathetic.

    I spend a considerable amount of time trying to get new folks out cycling, as an alternative to using cars. I’m thrilled to see more and more cyclists. But, I won’t hear it that I shouldn’t care how I look. Looking good and feeling good are both things I like to do!

    I’m with you about wanting to look good on the bike. Ditto about bicycle care/maintenance. And like you, I marvel at people who don’t seem to care (or know) about either. But I try not to pass judgment on folks and try not to be all high and mighty/superior if they don’t ride/dress as I do. That was mostly my point. Not saying that you should not want to look good. You should! And looking good is in the eye of the beholder. I have a soft spot for what many of my Velominati brethren would consider ugly, e.g., I love the 90s Mapei kit and the Carrera faux denim cycling shorts. But I also love the classic stuff that we all revere. The riders I will pass judgment on, however, are the poseurs, i.e., those who spend a ton of $$$ on their bikes and kit but who just putz around (same true when I used to ride sportbikes) or just ride to the coffee shop. Not that they have to be racers or the fastest in the bunch, but they can’t be total wannabees or quitters.

  40. @Chipomarc

    ‘Legs spoiled by cycling’- that’s the comment you make to a cycling community? Not only sexist but lacking all logic, for surely cycling shaped legs would be appreciated.

    Hopefully you have good form on a bike sir, as you are lacking form in other areas.

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