Kits I Would Wear

Dave often talks in the first person plural when he blogs and you'd be forgiven for thinking he was using the royal we, as there is scant recent evidence here on the blog that it's anyone but him. While I can't guarantee Dave doesn't have an imaginary friend, I can assure you that Mike is real and I am he.

As November's Chief Product Officer, Dave is exactly the right person to talk about carbon layups and bracing angles and pawls. If I have a lane here on the blog it's more of a cultural one. I pay attention to trends in society and the industry, and try to figure out how they'll affect us (or in some small way, how we might affect them). Today I'm thinking about kits, and why as cyclists we can get all hung up about them. One of my friends on FB the other day asked the question whether it was OK (yet) to wear pro kits. The results were so polarizing you'd have thought he was asking about gun control or unions or the validity of evidence-based science. But almost to a person, the racers conclude that it's blasphemous to even utter the suggestion. Their perspective is understandable, as the team kits they wear without fail already do two things for them: 1) they provide identity, in the same way that any ostentatiously logo'ed apparel does, and 2) they relieve them of the burden of decision-making. Einstein is famously rumored to have half a dozen outfits that were exactly the same so he wouldn't have to use any brain power each day deciding what to wear. As a former racer, I do remember how easy it was to pick kit each day, but can't recall anything I did with the cerebral cycles I preserved.

Recreational riders on the other hand were more tolerant - not just of pro kit but of anything any other cyclists wants to wear. Busting out the Phonak bibs? Have at it. Team "Old Guys Who Get Fat in Winter" jersey? All good, as long as that gets you out on your bike. Have a good ride, brother.

Let's not confuse tolerance with insouciance though. My experience is that recreational riders don't care what YOU wear, but care very much what THEY THEMSELVES wear. And now that I'm no longer racing but more actively recreationally riding, choosing kit is an expression of identity in a different way, or at least a way to use the cerebral cycles I have to spare right now.

So here's some Kit I Would Wear, pro, fictional and otherwise:

1. The Glory Days Collection

I started riding and racing in the 1980s when many riders' first jerseys were the pro teams we would glimpse on TDF coverage on TV in the summer. Honestly I'd probably wear anything from that era - La Vie Claire, Banesto, PDM, maybe not Carrera with the faux-denim bibs. These were my 2 favorites which I'd totally rock again - the Cafe de Columbia kits which struck an aesthetic chord with me back in the day, and Laurent Fignon's System U. I was a big fan of the professor, mostly for an unassuming look that belied an unexpected fierceness.

 

2. Homage to Hollywood

There have been precious few cycling movies, so we had to take inspiration from unlikely stories. I actually tried watching American Flyers again a few years ago and it's a testament to how starved for content cyclists were to adopt that objectively awful film the way we did. Anyway the leader's jersey was tight and this updated Cutters jersey leans so hard on hokey that it breaks it and ends up kind of cool again.

 

3. Nothing Matters Anymore

Honestly it's really not the time to take kit too seriously. So until there's a jersey inspired by the nihilists from The Big Lebowski I'll content myself with Rock Racing. BTW, these are all still available from Rock Racing's site.

 

4. Sport Crossovers

Don't like any pro cycling teams? Wear a jersey from a team you do like. I would represent in any of these soccer team cycling kits, and probably a dozen others.

 

5. Our rock and roll lifestyle

10 years ago we bowed the first November Kit, inspired by Eddie Van Halen's Frankencaster and featuring the original spooky gothic November typeface. It was one of my favorite team kits ever and I wish I'd saved some new old stock to break out every couple of years. Ah well, maybe we'll reprise as a 10th Anniversary Edition?

Feel free to judge me for any of these choices but only if you share something the rest of us can judge you on as well. That's how riding in public works after all. 


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  • Joe Bond on

    I spent a good chunk of the ‘90s as a bike messenger in Germany-for a while we had Kraft Ketchup kit but all the messengers lusted after Copenhagen’s De Gronne Bude neon green Tuborg kit.

  • graham on

    my rule for wearing pro kits fwis. wait one complete season after a team folds before wearing their jersey. then you can consider it to be retro.

  • Hoogle Da Boogle on

    In my hamper:
    Glory Days: Renault-Elf…the last great pro team jersey
    Hollywood: Team Cinzano…worn only when drafting semis on I-95 in the little ring
    Nothing Matters: plain white wife-beater (with flip-flops)
    Sport crossover: polyester Pebble Beach golf shirt
    Rock & Roll: KISS concert tee

  • Mike on

    KateK, the challenge facing the reprisal of the Frankenkit is that our current color palette has blues as primary, with red as an accent. So there is some design challenge to integrating it. But I agree, I’d love to see it back.

    Joe and AC, in 2011 a guy named Roberto Tronconi took over the Rock Racing brand from Michael Ball. He is listed as the registrar of the rockracing.us site, and is also the author of posts on it. At first it looks like the initiative may have withered on the vine but it’s live and current and even has some COVID-specific messaging on it. So maybe Rock’s Not Dead after all.
    https://www.cyclingnews.com/news/rock-racing-here-to-stay/

  • AC on

    Rock Racing is still in business, or Rock Racing still has product on hand from their (short-lived) heyday?



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