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The Cycle of Style

The Cycle of Style

by / / 253 posts

There are two ways in life to be good at something. The first way is the most obvious, which is to actually be good at something. This is harder than it sounds because you need things like skills, talent, fortitude, and light sabers. The other way doesn’t require those things but it has its own challenges; basically, you have to be holistically awful at the sort of levels that make all the suck turn inside out on itself until it becomes awesome. American Flyers did that, and the fashion industry routinely uses this principle to their advantage, regurgitating fads and styles first as kitschy retro cool and then tricking us into thinking it actually looks good.

Cycling has happily been immune to this because our aesthetics were driven by function first through advances in technology; never in our history have we been so advanced that we felt the inclination to revert a step or two simply for the novelty of going backwards. The Velominatus may well be inclined to look to steel frames and three-cross box-section wheelsets for their durability and ride quality, but that is a luxury that we as amateurs enjoy without the demands of racing at the top level of our sport where events are won by fractions of percents gained through marginal advances in technology.

But apparently we’ve reached the stage now where Cycling style is being influenced by kids helmets and skateboard attire. I went for a ride with a good friend a few weeks back who was riding in Giro’s new baggy line of clothing. It flopped around like a sail in the wind generated by our own speed, and basically sent him backwards in the breeze that was blowing in along the coast. It looked good in the café before the ride, I have to admit, but last time I checked, Cycling clothing was supposed to be designed for Looking Fantastic while riding, not while sipping a doppio macchiato. (But let’s not understate the importance of looking good while sipping an espresso. We are not animals.)

And the helmets. There are accounts supported by doctored photographs floating around the internet of me wearing an ugly helmet, something I categorically deny ever happened. Nevertheless, let the record show that the lids the Pros are wearing these days are an abomination of style, culture, aesthetics, and progress. My Aeon is so light that I had to put on a few extra pounds just to make sure it doesn’t carry me off when I go outside. And guess what? It’s actually well-ventilated which means my sweet shades don’t fog up when I climb like the Evade makes them do. (Theoretically, of course. Because those photos are fakes.) And speaking of shades, I’m wearing a pair of Oakleys with photosensitive lenses that go from completely clear to black anodized depending on the light conditions. Also well-ventilated. That’s progress right there.

Riding a bike wearing an ice bucket on your head in baggy shorts and shirts with aviator sunglasses isn’t fashion forward, it’s Cycling – the most aesthetically independent sport in history – taking its cues from kids who think a long skateboard is an effective way to navigate through traffic. There may well be white space in the market for it, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be filled. We are the Velominati and we have standards, for Merckx’s sake.

Oh, and seriously, enough with the fucking beards. Rule #50, people. Sometimes you’ve just got to stand up and say we look like hell and I’m not gonna take it any more!

// Irreverence // La Vie Velominatus // Look Pro // Nostalgia

  1. @Chris

    @wiscot Surely a day out at Murrayfield can’t be that expensive these days. I don’t think it would be controversial to say that Scotland are so shite that no one will pay Twickenham prices to watch them.

    I also went to Murrayfield a lot in the 80′s with school. Happy days. Except maybe the day a couple of us sold our tickets, brought a half bottle of voddy each and started taking the piss out of all the Irish fans around the Haymarket. Turned out it was a trainload of Celtic fans from Glasgow.

    Chris, Good point on actually paying to see Scotland’s rugby team. Same goes for the fitba team too. I’m not sure what 5 briefs for Murrayfield costs these days, but a quick search on the interwebs says briefs for Tonga for next year are around 50 quid, the All Blacks near a hundred. 5 of those will dent the bank balance!

    Glad to see you survived your “encounter” with the Hoops fans. Could have been dangerous!

  2. @frank

    @Minnesota Expat

    The difference between a rider like Merckx and a rider like Wiggins is Merckx didn’t have to give up on all his other ambitions to be good at just one thing. Same for Hinault and to a lesser extend LeMond.

    To suggest Wiggins might be the greatest of all time is perhaps the most laughable thing said here, and that include my articles and anything Minion has ever posted in response to Marcus.

    Easy folks. I’m just poking the bear, or perhaps the Badger, with a stick. I think the real issue is the extreme specialization of modern elite athletes and I remain unconvinced that even Merckx all-around skills could win 525 races in the 21st Century. Undeniably, Wiggins and a few others (yes, we count Cadel’s MTB career wins) demonstrate those same all-around skills.

    Oh, and surely no one thinks Wiggins has given up on his “other” ambitions as a GT rider by riding the cobble stones this spring? Of course not (his TdS performance aside). He still has to be considered one of the top five or ten GC riders in the peloton, even while considering a return to the track for the 2016 Olympics.

  3. @Beers

    @Mikael Liddy

    @Puffy

    @minion

    You folically gifted bastards can cram it.

    Yeah that makes a LOT of sense. Buy a $1000 skin suit (long armed so you don’t have to shave your arms) with magic wind cheating properties, aero frame, $2000 worth of aero wheels, shave your legs but have a massive beard cartching the wind either side of your face….

    At least he doesn’t have an areo helmet but I’m guessing by the vintage of the photo they weren’t around then

    See that raised arm? That kinda means that the beard didn’t stop him crushing fools.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sean_Eadie

    From said wiki:

    “he was asked if it was counter-aerodynamic to shave his legs but not his face. He said he had “won the team sprint and went 10.14 in Manchester, won the world’s – wasn’t too counter productive!” He said he shaved his legs “because it feels great in bed.””

    Awesome!

    Also http://www.youtube.com/embed/FkmCLOjk2h8

    I dislike small S (refuse to consider them big, their tactics are small minded), but results very interesting as in, not as much of an effect as you would think.

    Disclaimer: though I can and have harvested some solid chin fodder in the past, I will save it for when I need to hide a chin keel.

    Around half a watt is the difference a beard makes. That’s less than not lubing your chain every ride, carrying a bidon, and being as fat as I am. (Its winter and I’m living in one of the coldest parts of Australia). It’s negligible in terms of the awesomeness of having a beard (which is also, incidentally, shit I can get away with now I’m married).

  4. It also seems that Pez reads Velominati, beards in the bunch…

    http://www.pezcyclingnews.com/page/latestnews/?id=129713

  5. @minion

    @Beers

    @Mikael Liddy

    @Puffy

    @minion

    You folically gifted bastards can cram it.

    Yeah that makes a LOT of sense. Buy a $1000 skin suit (long armed so you don’t have to shave your arms) with magic wind cheating properties, aero frame, $2000 worth of aero wheels, shave your legs but have a massive beard cartching the wind either side of your face….

    At least he doesn’t have an areo helmet but I’m guessing by the vintage of the photo they weren’t around then

    See that raised arm? That kinda means that the beard didn’t stop him crushing fools.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sean_Eadie

    From said wiki:

    “he was asked if it was counter-aerodynamic to shave his legs but not his face. He said he had “won the team sprint and went 10.14 in Manchester, won the world’s – wasn’t too counter productive!” He said he shaved his legs “because it feels great in bed.””

    Awesome!

    Also http://www.youtube.com/embed/FkmCLOjk2h8

    I dislike small S (refuse to consider them big, their tactics are small minded), but results very interesting as in, not as much of an effect as you would think.

    Disclaimer: though I can and have harvested some solid chin fodder in the past, I will save it for when I need to hide a chin keel.

    Around half a watt is the difference a beard makes. That’s less than not lubing your chain every ride, carrying a bidon, and being as fat as I am. (Its winter and I’m living in one of the coldest parts of Australia). It’s negligible in terms of the awesomeness of having a beard (which is also, incidentally, shit I can get away with now I’m married).

    Simple….just lube the beard and all will be well!

  6. Look who’s wearing an orange POC helmet;

    From Greg LeMond’s Facebook page.

  7. @Minnesota Expat

    Look who’s wearing an orange POC helmet;

    From Greg LeMond’s Facebook page.

    Maybe it’s Marko’s helmet? Maybe he and LeMan are hanging out up dere in Minnesota? A little POC community?

  8. @wiscot

    Maybe it’s Marko’s helmet? Maybe he and LeMan are hanging out up dere in Minnesota? A little POC community?

    I think so. A pod of POC wearing cyclists. Here’s a another one. That’s a bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis.

    Also from Greg LeMond’s Facebook page.

  9. @Minnesota Expat

    @wiscot

    Maybe it’s Marko’s helmet? Maybe he and LeMan are hanging out up dere in Minnesota? A little POC community?

    I think so. A pod of POC wearing cyclists. Here’s a another one. That’s a bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis.

    Also from Greg LeMond’s Facebook page.

    Wow, those are some white legs. First day for riding without tights on in Minn.

  10. @Gianni

    Wow, those are some white legs. First day for riding without tights on in Minn.

    Yeah. That was the first thing I noticed, before the orange pumpkin helmet. But we have to cut them some slack, they had a miserable winter and got pounded this year*. Still, you’d think a Minnesota winter training regimen on a trainer would include a sun lamp.

    * It gets worse. That bridge is connected into a system of bike paths and lanes that run along the river at the foot of those cliffs (see Frank’s article on the legacy of Jim Oberstar). That’s the U of M hospital on the cliff behind the guy in the picture. The same cliff that recently collapsed in torrential rains and buried aforementioned road, bike lanes and paths under 10′ of mud.

  11. @minion

    It’s negligible in terms of the awesomeness of having a beard (which is also, incidentally, shit I can get away with now I’m married).

    I thought the govt blocked the ACT’s marriage equality laws? If not, my congratulations to you & Marcus.

  12. @Mikael Liddy It was easy to convince the authorities that Marcus was a woman. I just had to make them look at him.

  13. @Minnesota Expat

    @Gianni

    Wow, those are some white legs. First day for riding without tights on in Minn.

    Yeah. That was the first thing I noticed, before the orange pumpkin helmet. But we have to cut them some slack, they had a miserable winter and got pounded this year*. Still, you’d think a Minnesota winter training regimen on a trainer would include a sun lamp.

    * It gets worse. That bridge is connected into a system of bike paths and lanes that run along the river at the foot of those cliffs (see Frank’s article on the legacy of Jim Oberstar). That’s the U of M hospital on the cliff behind the guy in the picture. The same cliff that recently collapsed in torrential rains and buried aforementioned road, bike lanes and paths under 10′ of mud.

    Ditto on that nasty winter remark. It';s almost July and I’m just getting some respectable tan lines going here in Wisconsin. The poor buggers in MN had it worse than us!

    Nice bike in the picture though, but I have my reservations on the white hoods.

  14. It is somewhat gratifying to see that all cyclists are somewhat thoughtful and sensible.  The cycle of Style article is an excellent example of this.  The article should open our awareness to the problem of style and how it insidiously creeps into our lives.  Recently in Philadelphia as part of the festivities of a major race, there were races of various age groups, however short, girls in one and boys in another.  Neither group were yet to the level of racing, and were out there to show off there street stuff.  When the bell rang, the girls shot off whizzing somewhat chaotically (I suppose you could call it holding a line however sinuous).  The finish line was met with deliberate speed faces intent with strain.  The boys race was from a functional and fashionable perspective an embarrassment.  When the bell rang the boys too shot off, but not more than 10 m from the start it looked like all of them let out their drag chutes.  The only problem was that there was another 990 m to go.  I am not sure what sort of statement they were trying to make, but if it was a fashion one, I missed it.  At the finish, the boys red faced and sweating could barely amble a centimeter beyond before they collapsed with exhaustion.  The time?  The girls blew away the boys by at least 20%!  (I was embarrassed, because, while I would never admit it if it happened, I would have never let a girl beat me at anything.)

    What was going on here?  It is obvious to any cyclist that ever turned into a head wind.  The girls either due to fashion (unlikely foresight) wore tight fitting shorts that clinged to their upper legs allowing them to slice through the air with ease.  The boys apparently more concerned with fashion than speed, wore light weight shin length billowing pantaloons of the sort donned by members of the NBA.  Did anyone see this coming?  Are we now at an era where fashion trumps performance?  Apparently so.  Earlier this year at the famed Penn Relays, the grade school girls consistently our ran the boys by seconds in the 4×100 relay.  Why?  … fashion.

    I just had to get this one out.  The article hit a nerve.

  15. I am not tracking. And I’m having trouble keeping the Faustos (Fausti) sorted.

  16. Passed someone today waring the new Giro lid, I have to say I think they got it right. low profile, vented, aero, minimal, I want one,

  17. @anthony Definitely — Giro Synthe — aero panels — eyewear docking port

  18. @unversio

    @anthony Definitely – Giro Synthe — aero panels — eyewear docking port

    It looks better in reality than top of Taylor’s head too. The cat I passed had the white one. Not usually  a fan of white helmets, I am tiny and look funny in them, but it looked fantastic from my angle on the gent  that I saw.

  19. @unversio

    @anthony

    Interesting influence from automotive design, to my eyes:

    Zonda Rear End

  20. @Bespoke Feels like the graphic design that I started in 2010. Granted I was aiming for a much more universal vent design.

  21. copyright 2014 UNPULL

  22. @unversio

    Those ear pieces look a bit uncomfortable and not very aero.

  23. @Bespoke A leader line showing a focus on revolution. Originally this began as an illustration to show mechanics and physics going on — no bike.

  24. @unversio

    @Bespoke A leader line showing a focus on revolution. Originally this began as an illustration to show mechanics and physics going on — no bike.

    Just riding you! Nice illustration.

  25. P.S. I’m keepin’ the beard – aero or not – 20/20 +…

    Patrick “Grady” Alexander – IE (foothill) gnome

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