Defining Moments: My First Kit

Fignon leads the 1989 Giro d’Italia

As children, none of us were given an allowance. Instead, we were taught from a young age that if we wanted to buy something, we had to earn the money in order to do so. To facilitate the model, and possibly to avoid child-labor law infringement, we were paid to do chores around the house in exchange for a cash payment directly proportional but not necessarily related to the amount of time it took us to execute the task. The hourly wage, at it turned out, was at the discretion of the one doing the overseeing and commissioning of the task at hand.

In my view, it worked out very well for us. Coming from a family that was neither wealthy nor poor, it taught us a number of important lessons about life, money, and the important ways the two are separated. It’s one of the fundamental things I’m very glad about regarding my upbringing.

My grandmother, by choice or otherwise, was in on this scheme of leveraging our desire to earn money as a means to achieve her end of having her dog tended to regularly. As grandmothers are wont to do, however, she found ways to be knowingly complicit in circumventing the intended lesson by overpaying us for our labor; she was perhaps too fond of her dog, and I was perhaps too willing to walk it repeatedly and unnecessarily in order to earn my wage.

I don’t remember how old I was, but I was still riding my old Raleigh made of Reynolds 531 tubing and clad in a Weinmann grouppo which I now wish I’d kept; I could have been no more than 10 years old. Nevertheless, I had already made the determination, by studying the pros in the races I watched on scratchy old VHS cassettes, that if I was going to amount to any kind of cyclist, I would require proper cycling kit.

I needed cycling shorts and I needed a cycling jersey; t-shirts and an old pair of lederhosen simply wouldn’t fit the bill. And cycling shorts and cycling jerseys would cost serious money. So off I was, walking my grandmother’s dog fourteen times a day – collecting payment every time – and before very long, I had saved up the money I needed.

I don’t remember the name of the shop, but I do remember on which rack and in which corner of the store it hung. It resembled Laurent Fignon’s System U kit, though I felt a tinge of guilt that it wasn’t as fluorescent as LeMond’s ADR strip. It was nothing compared, however, to the unexpressed guilt I’d felt all year at secretly having hoped Fignon would win the Tour against my countryman.

Riding my trusty Raleigh, I spent the summer of 1989 riding with my left hand on the tops of my handlebars and my right hand on the hoods. I’d spotted a photo in Winning Magazine wherein Laurent Fignon was leading the Giro d’Italia riding in just this position; I summarily emulated him in this regard.

The fact that this was just a moment captured in time as Fignon changed hand position was lost on me; the fact held neither relevance nor value to my view of the world. Fignon rode like this, and so would I. This single photo fueled my desire to ride a bicycle for an entire summer. Up and down the streets I went, imagining myself making history as I left both Fignon and LeMond in my dust and I took off up the road – one hand on the tops, one on the hoods – with Phil Liggett’s voice in my ears as he commended the ferocity of my attacks.

I found daily motivation in riding like Fignon. In rain, in shine; I rode the way the photo I saw showed him riding. Every time I climbed aboard my bike, I wanted to be a better cyclist; I wanted to be more like Fignon. I was nevertheless bound to eventually discover that Fignon didn’t really ride like that; it had been a trick of the camera. By the time I discovered the truth of that photo, I had ridden like that for so long that it felt lop-sided to go back to riding sensibly, with both hands level.

I felt awkward then, riding with both hands in the drops, as I chased my sister down a mountain during a family vacation in New York State. She was in front on her Raleigh with pink  handlebars, and I was frantic at the notion that she was ahead of me. There was no alternative but to beat her through the series of sharp corners coming up ahead on the road we had dubbed “Alpe d’Huez” for its steepness and numerous twists and turns.

There was, of course, a very real alternative to beating her through those corners.

As I laid in the emergency room with the doctor scrubbing furiously at my wounds, he posed several theories that might explain the flawed decision tree that placed me in his care. The prominent thought suffocating my mind was that my cherished kit had been torn apart firstly by the crash and secondly by the doctor – and that neither seemed to hold the garments in the same esteem I did. It was destroyed; a summer of over-paid dog-walking lost.

As a matter of comparison, this commercial, aired during this year’s Tour de France, is exactly how I rode as a kid. In fact, I still do today.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BwnuBVUBsQ[/youtube]

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131 Replies to “Defining Moments: My First Kit”

  1. @the Engine

    We need photos of the PDM kit, matey. Immediately. This kit that I crashed in was also accompanied by white tennis shoes; it wasn’t until several years later that I bought a pair of lace-up Duegi’s which I sewed a leather flap onto to cover the laces and an extra strap sideways to make them look more like LeMond’s shoes.

  2. Winter kit was the great challenge as a youth.  I had shorts.  That I could get help with because I could justify chamois.  T-shirt, true shorts, sneakers strapped down so tight with the toe straps that my pedals cut a line in them.  But winter kit was out of the question monetarily.

    Hell. Kit is still expensive.

  3. @Gary J Boulanger

    ‘Yup,’ he said, as he took my sandwich and walked away.

    Are you allowed to call a kit that young a twat? 

    @minion

    “My grandmother, by choice or otherwise, was in on this scheme of leveraging our desire to earn money as a means to achieve her end of having her dog tended to regularly”.

    I’m never travelling to the country you come from after reading that sentence.

    Deal, you twisted fuck, no one wants you to come here anyway. I’ll also kindly ask you, should I be so lucky as to visit New Zealand, not to take me to one of your strip clubs, OK?

  4. @pistard

    “Francis” was my first Cycling Sensei, and the shop team (a half dozen adolescent kids) thrilled to his tales of racing in Italy in the 60s and 70s and suffered his disdain for riding Raleighs and Peugeots with non-Campy components.

    It was all bullshit, of course “” he’d left Italy as a child, sold a bit of cycling stuff in the family business alongside skis and soccer cleats. But he loved cycling and imparted that passion to at least a few of us kids, some of whom are still unlearning his lessons…

    Sounds like Francis had it going on. Nice, firm opinions planted firmly in the irrational is all anyone can expect from a Sensei.

  5. @pistard

    @Chipomarc

    I still get out a few times with the old kit including the Detto Pietros

    Deltas + period kit = Pure Class. But you need some Professor specs…

    Hold your tongue. Those Briko Stingers are the tits!! Perhaps slighly off-period (a pair of Oakley Factory Pilots would have been more apros pos), but those are some of the coolest shades ever made.

  6. @G’phant

    @all ‘Whatever I wore before The V-Kit is dead to me now. ‘

    Fixed all’s ya posts.

    +1

    @Giles

    I can remember my first road bike – bought with a premium bond win of 50 quid. A Rydal Sportsman, Weinmann centre pulls and 5 speed (suntour I think). That bike lasted me an eternity, and even was used on dirt when friends got into BMX… But more significantly, I do remember my first pair of Knicks, I tried them on in the local halfords, and decided to ride home in them, I remember getting on the bike and just thinking oh my god, why have I never worn these before – I felt 6″³ taller and so pro.

    Great article brings back so many good memories, and it’s all starting again, my 8 year old informed me he wanted a road bike for his birthday, not a BMX, not a mountain bike, “a proper road bike”, and last week requested a “proper helmet like yours, not a kid’s one”. So proud.

    And the cycle continues. Awesomeness. Pure, unbridled awesomeness.

    My Raleigh had centerpulls too; fuck they were hard to adjust. Needed a special tool just to get them tight enough. Converted the levers to aeros at some point, and the pull was way off.

    Ah, no bother, brakes and instruction manuals are strictly for sissies anyway, and I’m no sissy.

  7. @Souleur

    from my point of view, my first kit was not so good.  My taste has taken some time to come of age.  My first was a ‘Post’ Assos jersey and shorts.  It was good of course, but the sad part was I really didn’t appreciate who Assos was, and it was simply a kit that was on sale, so i bought it being dirt poor and in college.

    Now I know.  and I never wear shorts, its bibs only.

    And as for the kit, it has to be a meaningful kit to me, not on sale or just a ‘whatever’ kit

    that being said, my next kit is ‘Velomanti’, saving my do-ra-me up for that baby

    may even go bat-shit-crazy and sign in for a race or two under team ‘Velomantus’ or the ‘keepers of the cog’ team

    Ah, the moment when it dawns on the Velominatus that the kit must, above all, be right and that the sale bin never contains the right kit – not the size, not the color, not the anything.

    This also reminds me that I need to register Velominati with the USCF so we can legally race under the colors in sanctioned events. If I’d have had time to race this year, I’d have found the time to do it, I’m sure…but alas life got in the way this time round.

  8. @Erik

    Winter kit was the great challenge as a youth.  I had shorts.  That I could get help with because I could justify chamois.  T-shirt, true shorts, sneakers strapped down so tight with the toe straps that my pedals cut a line in them.  But winter kit was out of the question monetarily.

    Hell. Kit is still expensive.

    Truedat. Re-experienced that recently after we started Velominati and had the first kit made, it quickly dawned on me that winter would be an injustice as we had not yet had the LS Jersey made.

    As for the sneakers – indeed. I remember the same effect. I had tennis shoes which happened to have a ridge in the right spot. That combined with tightening the toe strap so much that my foot went numb, I could pull on those puppies like nobodies business.

  9. Three years ago, only dimly aware of, and not much caring the concept of Rules, I rode around in cheesy Cannondale shorts and whatever mountain biking jersey struck my fancy – including my favorite Grateful Dead Bertha jersey.

    I bought my current Campy equipped BMC from what I now understand to be a very Rule compliant BMC employee neighbor. Danish born to Sardinian parents, this gentelman eats, lives, and  breaths euro cycling.  As we concluded the transaction, I was sternly admonished in a crisp Italian accent: “On this bicycle, you must NEVER wear that skeleton jersey!” With that, he tossed me a new Campagnolo jersey.

    … and so began my journey to Rule compliance.  Soren, you would be proud of me now, (although I still don’t climb well even for my weight).  I do still wear that Bertha jersey in the dirt though.

  10. @Jamie

    My first “non-freebie” jersey has a Steal Your Face design. At the time, it was the nicest jersey I owned.  Tried it on for laughs the other day – sharp seams, bad pockets, bad fit.  Definitely doesn’t “disappear” when worn.  I keep it around to remind me that the extra cost for great kit is well worth it.

  11. First kit memories? I’m really not sure. I do remember it was all wool. A dark blue long-sleeved jersey and black wool tights with built-in real chamois. My shoes were all black, all leather with a thin leather sole. (I think they were actually touring shoes). They were replaced with a pair of Vittorias with thick leather soles, laces and lots of holes for breathability. They looked so pro!

    What I do remember was getting my first Johnstone Wheelers Cycling Club jersey. White, yellow and blue heavy duty acrylic (panels sewn together, not screen printed or sublimated) with the club name in thick flock lettering. As well fitting as a potato sack but I felt so proud and so pro; I was a member of a club, not just an unaffiliated rider. Wearing it, I rode my way-too-big 24″ red Holdsworth bike that I had built up to replace the enormous 25″ Peugeot my folks had bought me at age 14. You’ll grow into it, the salesman said. (Almost 35 years later I ride a 22″ frame.) The problem with the old acrylic jerseys was, if it got wet and you had anything substantial in the back pockets, the jersey ended up looking like a freaking mini dress because it stretched southwards. That’s why, to this day, I stow my spare tubes, CO2 and levers in a wee saddle bag. I just have recurring visions of my jersey drooping below the back of the saddle if I have too much stuff in there. Rule violation I know, but old habits die hard.

    In the 80s I had a bunch of pro jerseys. La Vie Claire, Seat, Fagor, Carerra, Del Tongo, RMO, Gis-Gelati, Alfa Lum, red and green tour jerseys, Pink Giro jersey. Most are now gone who knows where. Still got the red, green, pink, Alfa Lum and RMO ones. Mostly now I wear gear with as few names/logos on as possible.as little Over the years I’ve seen lycra come in, washable chamois and breathable fabrics. The modern stuff in quality, style and value is amazing. For you young kids out there, you don’t know how good you have it!

  12. @frank

    @Souleur

    from my point of view, my first kit was not so good.  My taste has taken some time to come of age.  My first was a ‘Post’ Assos jersey and shorts.  It was good of course, but the sad part was I really didn’t appreciate who Assos was, and it was simply a kit that was on sale, so i bought it being dirt poor and in college.

    Now I know.  and I never wear shorts, its bibs only.

    And as for the kit, it has to be a meaningful kit to me, not on sale or just a ‘whatever’ kit

    that being said, my next kit is ‘Velomanti’, saving my do-ra-me up for that baby

    may even go bat-shit-crazy and sign in for a race or two under team ‘Velomantus’ or the ‘keepers of the cog’ team

    Ah, the moment when it dawns on the Velominatus that the kit must, above all, be right and that the sale bin never contains the right kit – not the size, not the color, not the anything.

    This also reminds me that I need to register Velominati with the USCF so we can legally race under the colors in sanctioned events. If I’d have had time to race this year, I’d have found the time to do it, I’m sure…but alas life got in the way this time round.

    believe me frank, the locals don’t give a flying freak, they are down with whatever, unless you are of course cat 1 and selling yourself as Team BMC or the like..then produce the goods bro

  13. @frank

    @Erik

    Winter kit was the great challenge as a youth.  I had shorts.  That I could get help with because I could justify chamois.  T-shirt, true shorts, sneakers strapped down so tight with the toe straps that my pedals cut a line in them.  But winter kit was out of the question monetarily.

    Hell. Kit is still expensive.

    Truedat. Re-experienced that recently after we started Velominati and had the first kit made, it quickly dawned on me that winter would be an injustice as we had not yet had the LS Jersey made.

    As for the sneakers – indeed. I remember the same effect. I had tennis shoes which happened to have a ridge in the right spot. That combined with tightening the toe strap so much that my foot went numb, I could pull on those puppies like nobodies business.

    As I think back to my shoes, I think they were flat soled Kaepas that I actually wore a groove in with the pedal.  And as for numb feet, it wasn’t a ride if I could feel my feet.  That is for suckers.

  14. Hell, I only bought my first kit two years ago now. I had enough good sense to at least start with bibs first thing and not screw around with shorts, but I did little else right.

    My first real kit was a pair of black PI bibs, a red LG jersey (too big of course – why would I want something to fit snug??). And of course ankle socks from Target to round out the whole look. Gah.

    Before I bought my real bike and kit, I had been cruising around in normal shorts, a tshirt, a camelbak, and tennis shoes. I don’t know how I cycled around all summer in that without dying of heat stroke.

    I dare say, the V-Kit is the first complete kit I’ve had where I’ve felt totally put together, and I wasn’t just cobbling together what I could find for cheap at the LBS or online.

  15. @frank

    @Gary J Boulanger

    ‘Yup,’ he said, as he took my sandwich and walked away.

    Are you allowed to call a kid that young a twat?

    I’m lucky I was not drinking anything right then or I’d be detailing the mac. That is funny.

  16. @the Engine

    @Chris

    @G’phant With the proviso that if it is a club ride or you are racing then you wear the appropriate kit.

    Nothing fucks up the beauty of a smoothly rotating pace-line like one or two people in kit that doesn’t match. Perhaps there should be an amendment to Rule #17

    Rule #17 // Team kit is for members of the team.
    Wearing Pro team kit is also questionable if you’re not paid to wear it.  If you must fly the colors of Pro teams, all garments should match perfectly, i.e no Mapei jersey with Kelme shorts and Telekom socks.

    If you are riding with or racing for your club, only club kit should be worn. As much care should be given to ensuring one is looking pro as when wearing V-Kit

    Like I said – If they don’t look pro, then you shouldn’t go.

    Can I humbly propose this as a Rule? Or is it merely an observation?

    Most of them do look pro, at least in sort of unenlightened manner that I’ve seen elsewhere, too many European Posterior Man Satchels, too many frame pumps, straps over eye wear and a collective failure to observe Rule #33 (although I mustn’t be too judgmental there) but the club kit is quality stuff and looks good. Having someone in a discordant kit just jars with my sense of coordination way more than all the little rule violations. Doesn’t matter if the offender himself is in accordance with every last rule and can ride the tits off us all, it’s just fucked from the word go.

  17. This brings back a few memories.

    – first nashbar purchase- a cinelli logo white t-shirt and a campy logo yellow, worn to death

    -first actual 3-pocket jersey, also sale bin stuff- long sleeve polypro from performance, butt-ugly purple w yellow n red accents

    -first raleigh- a “sovereign”, in red, summarily stolen. Only had the entry level stuff, had to practically break off the decidedly non-pro hand brake levers, and if iirc tried to replace the hoods with something more fitting.

    -second raleigh- an international, also reynolds 531 w campy dropouts and insane chrome lugs. Had been modified by the lbs owner from a race bike to a triple crank tourer. Traded the fucker for my first mtb. Oy.

  18. @frank

    @the Engine

    We need photos of the PDM kit, matey. Immediately. This kit that I crashed in was also accompanied by white tennis shoes; it wasn’t until several years later that I bought a pair of lace-up Duegi’s which I sewed a leather flap onto to cover the laces and an extra strap sideways to make them look more like LeMond’s shoes.

    Aaaaaaaaaargh! Got back from my post work ride and went to the Man Cave to retrieve 1980’s vestments. VMH came back from Spinning (I know – on a summer evening too – I’m working on getting her on a bike – story for another day) and said – “Ooh, I put all that stuff to the jumble as you said you don’t need it anymore and we need the space.” I could also tell that she was thinking, “Anyway its all too small for you anyway and you look ridiculous when you try and wear it. ”

    I said “Ah”.

    I thought “Fuck”.

    She may be yanking my chain (indeed probably is) but as yet I haven’t got to the bottom of the tottering pile of boxes where I think all my old kit is.

  19. I have a Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here jersey that I never get to wear anymore because of these stupid effing rules.

  20. A follow up to my earlier post. I could probably squeeze into the old 80s gear I have but don’t. I always ride with a helmet and these jerseys are from the pre-helmet era. To me, they’d just look wrong paired with a helmet; a matching cotton cap, yes, a hairnet helmet, yes; a modern helmet, no.

  21. @Bianchi Denti

    Nice article Frink.

    I still have, and occasionally wear, my first jersey (white Ricardo Cycles, with IRC Tyres cloth badge sewn on the left breast). However, modern laundry detergents do seem to have shrunk it in the waist area. Seen below (on left) on 2011 Welli Roubaix, with @Gino on the right.

    First shorts are long gone, as is the Campagnolo cap that I wore for a year with a broken brim, as I couldn’t find another one. I thought it still looked pro…

  22. @the Engine

    This may not be the correct thread but I need to say that the Team GB Cycling Team have been utterly brilliant – chapeau

    Hear hear! Amazing dominance of the competition. Alas, the French seem to think the Brits are using funny wheels leading the sprinter François Pervis to tweet “la sodomie continue.” Interesting turn of phrase to be sure.

  23. @wiscot

    @the Engine

    This may not be the correct thread but I need to say that the Team GB Cycling Team have been utterly brilliant – chapeau

    Hear hear! Amazing dominance of the competition. Alas, the French seem to think the Brits are using funny wheels leading the sprinter François Pervis to tweet “la sodomie continue.” Interesting turn of phrase to be sure.

    Well he certainly had to assume the position.

    My friend Stewart reckons no one can hold a candle to Boom Boom this year though – and he does have a point.

    We did manage to agree that Wayne Rooney is a c*nt though – in fact it was remarkably easy to do that.

  24. @Cyclops

    I have a Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here jersey that I never get to wear anymore because of these stupid effing rules.

    Go ahead….indulge. We won’t tell.

  25. @Bianchi Denti

    @the Engine

    This may not be the correct thread but I need to say that the Team GB Cycling Team have been utterly brilliant – chapeau

    Yep. They ain’t bad.

    And it gets better – Wiggo at a Stone Roses gig with Jimmy Page and Mick Jones (and Jessica Ennis – rowrrrrrrr!).

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/aug/07/jessica-ennis-bradley-wiggins-stone-roses

    Had I known that all it took to meet Jimmy Page was to win the fucking tour and take home a gold in the ITT, I’d have done it ages ago.

  26. @wiscot

    A follow up to my earlier post. I could probably squeeze into the old 80s gear I have but don’t. I always ride with a helmet and these jerseys are from the pre-helmet era. To me, they’d just look wrong paired with a helmet; a matching cotton cap, yes, a hairnet helmet, yes; a modern helmet, no.

    The hairnet is a piece of kit I’ve never owned but hold in highest esteem.

    Amazing, by the way, that for all the class Fignon had, he never could work out how to wear one of those.

  27. @the Engine

    @wiscot

    @the Engine

    This may not be the correct thread but I need to say that the Team GB Cycling Team have been utterly brilliant – chapeau

    Hear hear! Amazing dominance of the competition. Alas, the French seem to think the Brits are using funny wheels leading the sprinter François Pervis to tweet “la sodomie continue.” Interesting turn of phrase to be sure.

    Well he certainly had to assume the position.

    My friend Stewart reckons no one can hold a candle to Boom Boom this year though – and he does have a point.

    We did manage to agree that Wayne Rooney is a c*nt though – in fact it was remarkably easy to do that.

    I’ll agree on Rooney. In fact, I have to say that the Olympics have been full of class acts and sportsmanship – something that is sorely lacking in professional fitba. Eg: Mears and Pendleton on the podium. Wiggins waiting until Faboo finished before celebrating. The athletes waiting for the Chinese hurdler to finish. The attitudes towards Oscar Pistorius. That’s all I’ve got. Anyone else got some fave Olympic moments of class?

  28. @frank

    @Bianchi Denti

    @the Engine

    This may not be the correct thread but I need to say that the Team GB Cycling Team have been utterly brilliant – chapeau

    Yep. They ain’t bad.

    And it gets better – Wiggo at a Stone Roses gig with Jimmy Page and Mick Jones (and Jessica Ennis – rowrrrrrrr!).

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/aug/07/jessica-ennis-bradley-wiggins-stone-roses

    Had I known that all it took to meet Jimmy Page was to win the fucking tour and take home a gold in the ITT, I’d have done it ages ago.

    Wiggo and Paigey have the same physique. Wiggo wins on the sideburns though.

  29. I don’t have any pics of my first real cycling jersey, a purple and yellow woolen one reminiscent of Poulidor’s Mercier one, but here’s the first proper pro jersey I got my hands on. The shorts are NZ made woolen ones that I raced in for a couple of seasons – comfortable unless wet, when the weight of the trapped water would severely compromise the strength of the braces we used to have to wear…

    Despite the Italian mystique of the above jersey, the first jersey I really loved was my Port Nicholson-Poneke club jersey, as shown here before racing the tough Palmerston North-Wellington Classic – note the abundance of bananas and other foods stuffed in my pockets! I think I’m still in wool shorts here too.

  30. @the engine

    “You may well have stumbled upon the reason behind length of Wiggo’s stockings, they’re a either a throw back from days when you needed the length to secure your trousers or they herald a new development in aerotweed skins suits being worked by Brailsford’s secret squirrel department to ensure continued domination over the Aussies.”

    This might be a pisstake, but its on the right track.  Pippi’s long stockings and sleeves are discussed here http://inrng.com/2012/08/british-cycling-funding/

  31. @Brian W

    @the engine

    “You may well have stumbled upon the reason behind length of Wiggo’s stockings, they’re a either a throw back from days when you needed the length to secure your trousers or they herald a new development in aerotweed skins suits being worked by Brailsford’s secret squirrel department to ensure continued domination over the Aussies.”

    This might be a pisstake, but its on the right track.  Pippi’s long stockings and sleeves are discussed here http://inrng.com/2012/08/british-cycling-funding/

    The early attempts at using an arran cable knit to produce a UCI compliant aero profile were doomed to failure and it was only with the introduction of Harris Tweed that progress began to be made.

  32. @Bianchi Denti I’ve had ‘I am the resurrection’ in my head for a while now when I go on particularly hard rides (something about the rhythm seems to work with my cadence) and recently found myself wondering, as a Brit myself, whether Wiggins is a fan of the Stone Roses. Question answered! Wiggins has to be the first cyclist who is both truly gifted and cool.

  33. heh. My first proper cycling jersey was a bright yellow kiwi express jersey that I bought when I was a cycle courier. YJA yellow, leather patches sewn into the shoulders to stop the straps from the bag wearing through the jersey, and a massive Kiwi on it. In winter we had  goretex tramping jackets to wear, which were tolerable to wear for about 40 minutes on the coldest morning of the year and tits on a  bull for the other bajillion work hours.

    No pics cos a) that’s not ghetto and b) they’d possibly be incriminating.

  34. Photo from The Horton Collection: (first this grabbed me)

    Excerpt from an article on James Joyce by John Madruga, Peloton 14 magazine: (then this article stuck – last paragraph)

    Dubliners, Joyce’s collection of 15 short stories, was published in 1914 and depicts the domestic, social and political life of middle-class life in Dublin. Joyce writes in a letter: “My intention was to write a chapter of the moral history of my country and I chose Dublin for the scene because that city seemed to me the centre of paralysis. I have tried to present it to the public under four of its aspects: childhood, adolescence, maturity and public life. The stories are arranged in this order.”

    The naturalistic conditions of the stories (“It is not my fault that the odour of ashpits and old weeds and offal hangs around my stories”)””are offset with Joyce’s notion of epiphany, a sudden moment of inner, felt awareness for something, and out of that moment of merging both the seer and the thing seen (or felt or thought) is changed. Joyce, again through the character of this way: “The radiance … is the scholastic quidditas, the whatness of a thing. This supreme quality is felt by the artist when the esthetic image is first conceived in his imagination. The mind in that mysterious instant Shelley likened beautifully to a fading coal. The instant wherein that supreme quality of beauty, the clear radiance of the esthetic image, is apprehended luminously by the mind which has been arrested by its wholeness and fascinated by its harmony is the luminous, silent stasis of esthetic pleasure, a spiritual state very like to that cardiac condition which the Italian physiologist Luigi Galvani, using a phrase almost as beautiful as Shelley’s, called the enchantment of the hear.”

    After the 41.5-km time trial at this year’s Tour de France, won by Bradley Wiggins, the Team Sky leader expressed a very clear sense of his clock had stopped timing his ride. “I had a great day today,” Wiggins said. “I knew from the first pedal rev that I was on it. Everything felt fantastic.” Of course Wiggins had to turn the cranks, pump the blood and use the oxygen necessary to win the TT, but his comment afterwards suggests that the efficiency of those physiological processes, at least during stage 9 of the Tour, may have been informed by that same “supreme quality felt by the artist” that Joyce speaks of. Is it too much to suggest that Wiggins may have been guided in his ride by his own sense of beauty, wholeness and “aesthetic pleasure” of the act of riding, and that this state of
    awareness/feeling is what elevated him to win the stage? I don’t believe so. “I love this race,” Wiggins continued. “I love this sport and it’s moments like today that make all the hard work worthwhile.” Cycling offers such moments of clarity when we suddenly realize the meaning, the “whatness” of what we are doing (and it’s not simply turning over the cranks) and those moments can change our lives.essence, what is a kind of elaborate parallax machine, something that propels us through space (as we sit still in one place) and offers us the thousands of spectators, there’s a lot of road dividers, and the whole peloton was going fast … it was already hectic a long way before the finish.”

    Peloton 14 issue

    I love this whole notion of James Joyce!

  35. “The radiance … is the scholastic quidditas, the whatness of a thing. This supreme quality is felt by the artist when the esthetic image is first conceived in his imagination. ??? I love it!

  36. I messed up the transfer of text after “…those moments can change our lives.”

  37. @Jamie

    Three years ago, only dimly aware of, and not much caring the concept of Rules, I rode around in cheesy Cannondale shorts and whatever mountain biking jersey struck my fancy – including my favorite Grateful Dead Bertha jersey.

    I bought my current Campy equipped BMC from what I now understand to be a very Rule compliant BMC employee neighbor. Danish born to Sardinian parents, this gentelman eats, lives, and  breaths euro cycling.  As we concluded the transaction, I was sternly admonished in a crisp Italian accent: “On this bicycle, you must NEVER wear that skeleton jersey!” With that, he tossed me a new Campagnolo jersey.

    … and so began my journey to Rule compliance.  Soren, you would be proud of me now, (although I still don’t climb well even for my weight).  I do still wear that Bertha jersey in the dirt though.

    Wow, that is fucking awesome! Very cool story & wonderful that you happened to meet such a person who turned you onto the good stuff, in a good way! Nice.

  38. I’m always really impressed and blown away by how long many of you have been cyclists and Followers and enthusiasts. It’s awesome.

    I hope I can stick with it as long as some of you have, and reap the rewards for so many years…

    Oli – GREAT photos. I’ve really liked my visits to NZed but never done any cycling there. Seeing your photos has me wondering what life was like on a bike in the early 1980s in your part of the world. Very cool!

  39. My first kit was my Central Ontario Racing Cycle Club kit. It was white, turquoise and maroon.  That’s me inhaling wasps on the left beside Super TT specialist Dave S.  Strange combo but sure stood out.  I missed the whole wool shorts period, but had proper chamois that always got a bit stiff after washing.  I would always have to flex it about to soften it up prior to putting it them on to avoid the sensation of sitting on bent cardboard.

  40. thanks for bringing back some fond memories… I too remember my first kit (black shorts and a La Vie Claire) jersey…

  41. My first jersey was a LeCoqSportif wool in blue with a white band around the chest. I’ve hung onto it and 1 each of most of my old team jerseys. Also kept my first Sidi’s. Leather sole, cleat plate nailed on. Size 36 I think. Also the Hinault autographed edition Turbo saddle that shaped me as much as I shaped it as a junior. My kid wore an old hairnet around the house a little and decided his own helmet is way more comfortable than dads’ old one. He’ll never have to wear a V1 Pro! That Specialized commercial was the best part of the Tour this year for me. I grew up on the same roads where the footage of the kid was filmed.  Great post Frank, thanks for stirring up more memories.

  42. @frank

    Love that photo. Bartoli knows that Il Grillo is his bitch. What he doesn’t know is that Il Grillo will go on to eclipse him.

    I loved the Briko stingers – red mirrored frames. I would argue that they looked even more awesome on cross country skiers/biathletes than on the bike. Mine were superseded by some Mapei edition Rudy Project Tayos for when I was pretending to be Andrea Tafi winning Roubaix in the Italian national champions jersey after moving to the UK in 1999. They are still in the shed – they now get used as safety glasses.

    My first jersey was from ZG Mobili, as modelled here http://www.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=http://www.dewielersite.net/db2/wielersite/beeldbank2011/1307130595AndreaFerrigato.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.cyclingarchives.com/beeldfiche.php%3Fbeeldid%3D98003&usg=__ZxPk1_JKVWcvZY4HGBssjhBfBFg=&h=582&w=450&sz=170&hl=en&start=14&zoom=1&tbnid=afw_MXPBXjd6OM:&tbnh=134&tbnw=104&ei=bDEiUNumC4jXsgbWxoDoBw&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dandrea%2Bferrigato%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DX%26rls%3Dcom.microsoft:en-US%26tbm%3Disch&itbs=1 by Andrea Ferrigato. I wore this mountain biking. With a pair of neoprene, Rip Curl board shorts (it was Australia). And a pair of purple Nike Air huaraches (I think). And an enormous red Bell helmet. I still remember the first time I went out to Helensburgh for a weekend ride with the crew who rode out there and being informed – politely – that perhaps I should get some proper tyres, the semi slicks that had come on my Avanti Barracuda not really being up to the job. It was all downhill (figuratively) from there. Ritchey Z Max, SPDs, then the inevitable frame and shock upgrade, the wheel upgrade – 18 years later and I have more bikes than limbs.  And I still don’t ride as much as I’d like.

  43. @Nof Landrien

    @frank

    Love that photo. Bartoli knows that Il Grillo is his bitch. What he doesn’t know is that Il Grillo will go on to eclipse him.

    I loved the Briko stingers – red mirrored frames. I would argue that they looked even more awesome on cross country skiers/biathletes than on the bike. Mine were superseded by some Mapei edition Rudy Project Tayos for when I was pretending to be Andrea Tafi winning Roubaix in the Italian national champions jersey after moving to the UK in 1999. They are still in the shed – they now get used as safety glasses.

    My first jersey was from ZG Mobili, as modelled here http://www.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=http://www.dewielersite.net/db2/wielersite/beeldbank2011/1307130595AndreaFerrigato.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.cyclingarchives.com/beeldfiche.php%3Fbeeldid%3D98003&usg=__ZxPk1_JKVWcvZY4HGBssjhBfBFg=&h=582&w=450&sz=170&hl=en&start=14&zoom=1&tbnid=afw_MXPBXjd6OM:&tbnh=134&tbnw=104&ei=bDEiUNumC4jXsgbWxoDoBw&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dandrea%2Bferrigato%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DX%26rls%3Dcom.microsoft:en-US%26tbm%3Disch&itbs=1 by Andrea Ferrigato. I wore this mountain biking. With a pair of neoprene, Rip Curl board shorts (it was Australia). And a pair of purple Nike Air huaraches (I think). And an enormous red Bell helmet. I still remember the first time I went out to Helensburgh for a weekend ride with the crew who rode out there and being informed – politely – that perhaps I should get some proper tyres, the semi slicks that had come on my Avanti Barracuda not really being up to the job. It was all downhill (figuratively) from there. Ritchey Z Max, SPDs, then the inevitable frame and shock upgrade, the wheel upgrade – 18 years later and I have more bikes than limbs.  And I still don’t ride as much as I’d like.

    On looking at the picture more I couldn’t help but notice that Bartoli is wearing what I could only describe as an “extemporised gilet” fabricated by ripping the sleeves off a jersey. Is this pro? Is there a rule to cover this? Did Sansone the dog rip it off perhaps?

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