Style and Fashion

The difference between Style and Fashion is that Fashion changes, but style is something that persists through the ages. You can’t buy it, and you either have it or you don’t. In other words, you can get all the best and expensive kit and still look complete crap if you don’t have Style. Conversely, you can wear the most crap kit possible and make it look good if you have the gift. That is why photos of Anquetil, the Prophet and Roger de Vlaeminck still blow our minds even though they are wearing completely outdated kit. This is also why Pantani could wear lycra jeans and Cipollini could wear a Zebra suit and make us contemplate trying our hands at it. (We should not.)

If there was an upside to the EPO era, it meant that a number of riders who had immaculate style may never have risen to the top of the fish bowl if it weren’t for EPO. Allegedly. Michele Bartoli was a prime example of a rider who was so doped up that he had plenty of bandwidth left for a complete and total commitment to Looking Fantastic at All Times. Allegedly. Let’s face facts (allegedly): the Mapei kit would have been lining the rubbish bin if it weren’t for riders like Bartoli and Frank Vandenbroucke. And Michele pioneered the mini-frame with long, slammed stem and a meter of seatpin.

I think we all agree that doping is wrong, but it doesn’t feel so wrong when they looked so good. We owe him a weighty debt for his contribution.

Shameless Plug: come down to the Rouleur Classic this week to listen to me cover this topic in greater detail. And then head to the pub with me afterward to hear me do it louder. My speaking schedule is as follows:

  • Thursday 19th – 22:00: Host Ned Boulting and I will talk about Style.
  • Friday 20th – 19:15: Host: Matt Barbet and I will talk about what is Cycling means to us as a lifestyle.
  • Saturday 21st – 13:30: Matt Stephens and I will discuss the dichotomy of being a profoundly innovative sport while at the same time being fiercely protective of our history and culture.

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74 Replies to “Style and Fashion”

  1. Then there’s style blindness. My VMH (who I adore otherwise) thinks I look like a complete douche when kitted for a ride, as does my mother-in-law (her only flaw it would appear). My fellow cyclists would attest otherwise (though there is the chance they may be fantastic liars).

  2. Some subjectivity at play here. I once walked through our lounge room past my teenage daughter and five friends après ride in my absolute black best with attention to every detail and fine gossamer of perspiration sculpting every chiselled muscle. Not only did I suck every sound from the room but she didn’t speak to me for four days.

  3. “Cipollini could wear a Zebra suit and make us contemplate trying our hands at it. (We should not.)”

  4. @EBruner

    Sorry, but I have to post this again. Style.

    Case completely in point.

    @piwakawaka

    Our bibs are too long.

    Yours might be. I’ve been careful to keep mine Goldilocks.

    @Ccos

    Then there’s style blindness. My VMH (who I adore otherwise) thinks I look like a complete douche when kitted for a ride, as does my mother-in-law (her only flaw it would appear). My fellow cyclists would attest otherwise (though there is the chance they may be fantastic liars).

    Spoiler Alert: your friends might be lying.

    @Clank

    Some subjectivity at play here. I once walked through our lounge room past my teenage daughter and five friends après ride in my absolute black best with attention to every detail and fine gossamer of perspiration sculpting every chiselled muscle. Not only did I suck every sound from the room but she didn’t speak to me for four days.

    It’s a well known fact that teenagers are terrible judges of their parent’s sense of style. I feel confident that you can discount this response in its entirety.

  5. @Clank

    Some subjectivity at play here. I once walked through our lounge room past my teenage daughter and five friends après ride in my absolute black best with attention to every detail and fine gossamer of perspiration sculpting every chiselled muscle. Not only did I suck every sound from the room but she didn’t speak to me for four days.

    Clearly they were dumbstruck with admiration. Your daughter’s friends left wondering why their Dad’s don’t look so awesome.

  6. @chuckp

    “Cipollini could wear a Zebra suit and make us contemplate trying our hands at it. (We should not.)”

    I’m less offended by the zebra suit than I am by that helmet.

  7. Having won a ticket, I’ll see you Saturday. I’ll be the one failing to look stylish

  8. @frank

    That’s possible, but my VMH thinks ALL cyclists look like douches. Not a deal breaker in the relationship, but it would be if she were yelling out the car window at them instead of mumbling to me “why do you have to wear those silly clothes?”

  9. @RobSandy

    @chuckp

    “Cipollini could wear a Zebra suit and make us contemplate trying our hands at it. (We should not.)”

    I’m less offended by the zebra suit than I am by that helmet.

    I’ve actually always liked the Aqua Sapone zebra kit. Along with Mapei, so 90s. So hideous but oh so cool. Have been tempted to get it. Would be great for #TbT ride.

  10. @Clank

    Some subjectivity at play here. I once walked through our lounge room past my teenage daughter and five friends après ride in my absolute black best with attention to every detail and fine gossamer of perspiration sculpting every chiselled muscle. Not only did I suck every sound from the room but she didn’t speak to me for four days.

    To be fair, you could have walked in looking the balls in a perfectly tailored Italian suit and gotten the same reaction from that group.

  11. @Ccos

    Then there’s style blindness. My VMH (who I adore otherwise) thinks I look like a complete douche when kitted for a ride, as does my mother-in-law (her only flaw it would appear). My fellow cyclists would attest otherwise (though there is the chance they may be fantastic liars).

    one of the most suspect phrases you should ever spout in public.

  12. @EBruner

    Sorry, but I have to post this again. Style.

    I’ll be the party pooper: if you didn’t know who he was, would you still seriously say he’s a style icon? So much is wrong, bar the “f you” expression.

  13. @Ccos

    @frank

    That’s possible, but my VMH thinks ALL cyclists look like douches. Not a deal breaker in the relationship, but it would be if she were yelling out the car window at them instead of mumbling to me “why do you have to wear those silly clothes?”

    Since mine rides (and used to race), it’s just the opposite. Of course, the physique of the rider matters too.

  14. @davidlhill

    My wife has no fucking idea who he is, and she thinks he looks “cool”. Everything about this photo is wrong, but it is somehow so cool.

  15. @EBruner

    @davidlhill

    My wife has no fucking idea who he is, and she thinks he looks “cool”. Everything about this photo is wrong, but it is somehow so cool.

    If you had guns like that, your wife would think you look cool too.

  16. Beer and movie night !

    Ok, he didn’t win the TdF seven times, but rode pretty well back in the 80’s

  17. I’ve always thought the Mapei kit was the tits. Kinda reminds me of the La Vie Claire kit in a way. They don’t look similar, but they’re instantly recognizable.

  18. A neighboring city is a cycling hotbed, even moreso than where I’m at. LOTS of wildly expensive bikes, lots of $3K wheelsets. And yet, I never, ever see anyone there who actually looks awesome on the bike.

    I think it’s because they’re so busy racing one another on Strava and the Saturday morning A-ride that they can’t locate any style. I’m always amazed. I’ll ride over there on the weekend and see many dudes out and never, ever see anyone cool.

  19. @Ron

    I think it’s because they’re so busy racing one another on Strava and the Saturday morning A-ride that they can’t locate any style. I’m always amazed. I’ll ride over there on the weekend and see many dudes out and never, ever see anyone cool.

    Maybe try talking to all those young dudes. I meet lots of cool people while I’m out riding. Maybe that means I’m not cool, but I’m cool with that.

  20. @Apex Nadir

    @Ron

    I think it’s because they’re so busy racing one another on Strava and the Saturday morning A-ride that they can’t locate any style. I’m always amazed. I’ll ride over there on the weekend and see many dudes out and never, ever see anyone cool.

    Maybe try talking to all those young dudes. I meet lots of cool people while I’m out riding. Maybe that means I’m not cool, but I’m cool with that.

    @Apex Nadir knows what’s cooler than being cool… Ice cold!

  21. @Owen

    True enough. Four days in the freezer I can handle. What really hurt was having my immaculate and carefully selected Santini kit compared to underwear.

  22. @Chipomarc

    Beer and movie night !

    Ok, he didn’t win the TdF seven times, but rode pretty well back in the 80’s

    What’s that shit you’re drinking?!

  23. @RobSandy

    @chuckp

    “Cipollini could wear a Zebra suit and make us contemplate trying our hands at it. (We should not.)”

    I’m less offended by the zebra suit than I am by that helmet.

    That was one of the coolest helmets ever. I’d totally ride in it if I could still get one that was safe!

  24. @chuckp

    @RobSandy

    @chuckp

    “Cipollini could wear a Zebra suit and make us contemplate trying our hands at it. (We should not.)”

    I’m less offended by the zebra suit than I am by that helmet.

    I’ve actually always liked the Aqua Sapone zebra kit. Along with Mapei, so 90s. So hideous but oh so cool. Have been tempted to get it. Would be great for #TbT ride.

    Sorry to be pedantic, but Aqua e Sapone was 2002, not 90’s.

    I rmemeber seeing the mockups and thinking it was the most hideous kit ever, then seeing Mario rock it on the bike and it totally worked.

    That is style.

  25. @frank

    @chuckp

    @RobSandy

    @chuckp

    “Cipollini could wear a Zebra suit and make us contemplate trying our hands at it. (We should not.)”

    I’m less offended by the zebra suit than I am by that helmet.

    I’ve actually always liked the Aqua Sapone zebra kit. Along with Mapei, so 90s. So hideous but oh so cool. Have been tempted to get it. Would be great for #TbT ride.

    Sorry to be pedantic, but Aqua e Sapone was 2002, not 90’s.

    I rmemeber seeing the mockups and thinking it was the most hideous kit ever, then seeing Mario rock it on the bike and it totally worked.

    That is style.

    Saw Mario at the Rouleur Classic event last night and he’s even more gorgeous in real life. And taller.

  26. @frank

    @RobSandy

    @chuckp

    “Cipollini could wear a Zebra suit and make us contemplate trying our hands at it. (We should not.)”

    I’m less offended by the zebra suit than I am by that helmet.

    That was one of the coolest helmets ever. I’d totally ride in it if I could still get one that was safe!

    What type of lid is it? Let me look at some other pictures and see if I want to revise my opinion.

    I’m sure I’d look like a tool wearing it.

  27. @RobSandy

    @frank

    @RobSandy

    @chuckp

    “Cipollini could wear a Zebra suit and make us contemplate trying our hands at it. (We should not.)”

    I’m less offended by the zebra suit than I am by that helmet.

    That was one of the coolest helmets ever. I’d totally ride in it if I could still get one that was safe!

    What type of lid is it? Let me look at some other pictures and see if I want to revise my opinion.

    I’m sure I’d look like a tool wearing it.

    That’s a Briko Twinner. http://www.briko.com/en/iconic_products

  28. @chris

    Saw Mario at the Rouleur Classic event last night and he’s even more gorgeous in real life. And taller.

    For a velominatus dutchetatus living abroad, a visit to London is not easy to organise at short notice, and then even have to pay up to GBP 200 to hear Frank explain the 3-point system? Incl travel and hotel, I should be able to get a good 2nd hand Cyclocross. But agreed, quite some important and interesting people attending that event (besides Frank of course). Would have been great to shake his hand, do we have a special handshake…?

  29. @KogaLover

    It was a great evening, the trade stands were laden with all sorts of drool worthy bike porn but main highlight was the banter between Ned Boulting and the stars (Bertie did come across a bit Manuel from Fawlty Towers). Eddy was superb, his delivery and enthusiasm didn’t betray the fact that he’s probably answered those questions a million times.

    I’d have been shitting myself if I’d been in Franks shoes following on from the likes of Millar and Merckx but he’s Dutch and guess it’s never entered his head that people won’t be interested in his message. He even managed to divert one of Ned Boulting’s questions in my direction which I wasn’t entirely prepared for.

    If there is a handshake, it must be for some inner circle that I’m not aware of. I do recall pictures of the Keepers doing some sort of Spocklike V hand signal.

  30. @chris

    If there is a handshake, it must be for some inner circle that I’m not aware of. I do recall pictures of the Keepers doing some sort of Spocklike V hand signal.

    This is all I could think of:

    And I did have a chat with Frank about Dutch courage before, so he must have had quite a bit of it yesterday then. Any recordings btw?

  31. I keep wondering what that red thing coming of the fork is. Im referring to the title picture.

  32. @RedRanger

    I keep wondering what that red thing coming of the fork is. Im referring to the title picture.

    one of the original timing chips.

  33. @KogaLover

    @chris

    If there is a handshake, it must be for some inner circle that I’m not aware of. I do recall pictures of the Keepers doing some sort of Spocklike V hand signal.

    This is all I could think of:

    And I did have a chat with Frank about Dutch courage before, so he must have had quite a bit of it yesterday then. Any recordings btw?

    A bit like that, but like this.

    Frank was going easy on the free recovery beverages (some decent IPA and Pale Ale from Look Mum No Hands), he’d been warned off them by the organiser and she checked that he was in a decent state before he went on.

    I haven’t seen any recordings, yet.

  34. @RobSandy

    @Chipomarc

    Beer and movie night !

    Ok, he didn’t win the TdF seven times, but rode pretty well back in the 80’s

    What’s that shit you’re drinking?!

    That thar would be none other than your ‘Nectar of the Gods’.

    Not some malty pretentious hipster ale.

  35. @wiscot

    @Clank

    Some subjectivity at play here. I once walked through our lounge room past my teenage daughter and five friends après ride in my absolute black best with attention to every detail and fine gossamer of perspiration sculpting every chiselled muscle. Not only did I suck every sound from the room but she didn’t speak to me for four days.

    Clearly they were dumbstruck with admiration. Your daughter’s friends left wondering why their Dad’s don’t look so awesome.

    Perhaps. Although in the long fashion critique that followed resumption of communication ‘awesome’ didn’t feature once.

  36. @Owen

    @Clank

    Some subjectivity at play here. I once walked through our lounge room past my teenage daughter and five friends après ride in my absolute black best with attention to every detail and fine gossamer of perspiration sculpting every chiselled muscle. Not only did I suck every sound from the room but she didn’t speak to me for four days.

    To be fair, you could have walked in looking the balls in a perfectly tailored Italian suit and gotten the same reaction from that group.

    True enough. Four days in the freezer I can handle. What really hurt was having my immaculate and carefully selected Santini kit compared to underwear.

  37. @Chipomarc

    @RobSandy

    @Chipomarc

    Beer and movie night !

    Ok, he didn’t win the TdF seven times, but rode pretty well back in the 80’s

    What’s that shit you’re drinking?!

    That thar would be none other than your ‘Nectar of the Gods’.

    Not some malty pretentious hipster ale.

    Why is he about to pour it into his eye?

  38. @Ccos

    @Chipomarc

    @RobSandy

    @Chipomarc

    Beer and movie night !

    Ok, he didn’t win the TdF seven times, but rode pretty well back in the 80’s

    What’s that shit you’re drinking?!

    That thar would be none other than your ‘Nectar of the Gods’.

    Not some malty pretentious hipster ale.

    Why is he about to pour it into his eye?

    He’s a construction worker, too much welding torch fumes

  39. @davidlhill

    @EBruner

    Sorry, but I have to post this again. Style.

    I’ll be the party pooper: if you didn’t know who he was, would you still seriously say he’s a style icon? So much is wrong, bar the “f you” expression.

    If I didn’t know who he was I’d say he was off to fly a red Fokker Dr.1 triplane rather than ride a blue Gios Torino…

  40. @frank

    @Skip

    Skip!!

    Hey. Been lurking for a while but hadn’t posted. Re: all the style inputs, there’s still a big difference between the theory and the actual results when I kit up. But one can still dream. (I just don’t look in the mirror before a ride and reality won’t rear its ugly head.)

  41. @frank

    @RobSandy

    @chuckp

    “Cipollini could wear a Zebra suit and make us contemplate trying our hands at it. (We should not.)”

    I’m less offended by the zebra suit than I am by that helmet.

    That was one of the coolest helmets ever. I’d totally ride in it if I could still get one that was safe!

    I’ve been thinking lately why some companies don’t just roll out their old products anew. I used to love the S-Works helmets but now I think they look terrible. And though he’s now in Oakleys, image Sagan racing as the WC in some mid-80s Rudy Project Masks? My god.

    Quite a few helmets and shades I wish companies would start producing again. Why not take a tip from shitty Nike and their reissue of seemingly every model of Jordans ever made and roll out awesome old products that were the business and just rake in the dough?

    Oakley has seen the Nike light with their reissuing the Razors, man, I’d like to see some older Rudy shades rolled back out.

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