Today was a mild day, at least temperature wise in southeastern Michigan and I was ready for a ride. I got to the office way too early this morning, but got a ton of important work done just so I could leave early and hit the road… Unfortunately, when John McMurray said it was going to be a windy day, I misunderstood because he didn’t include any explicatives with his use of the word “windy”. Like “s#!t storm windy, or maybe even clean it up a bit – God sneezed windy… No, just plain old windy.
Now I can handle a wind, a breeze, hell I love riding so much I can handle 20 or 30 miles per hour, smile and call it a relief from having to get too sweaty, just so I can churn my feet in a circle for 52 minutes.
But John, my friend, 50 freakin’ miles an hour? You jerk, c’mon man!
That said, I didn’t want to risk small tree branches impaling themselves in my otherwise awesome body so I was forced to sit out an otherwise perfect day. I shall survive of course, and the day off will be good for the group ride tomorrow but let me tell you, this was a real bummer.
I took advantage of the weather and handled some chain maintenance, and then took a nap. The older I get, the more I love them. I’d have rather been riding, but that’ll do.
This post is a long overdue and I just thought about it this morning, for the first time in a long time. I pulled a nice t-shirt out of my dresser that I haven’t worn since I was larger – and had to put it back because, on inspection in the mirror, it made me look goofy. I have an excellent job, where jeans and a respectable t-shirt are options, though business casual is wisest. That said, once we are to a point where we are fit – the inseam is greater than the waist size, for instance – the wardrobe options shrink immensely.
When I went through my transformation years ago, I was lucky. My younger sister has a degree in fashion from Michigan State University – she knows her stuff. Now before I thickened up I just didn’t know any better – I figured that because I was thin clothes were supposed to fit loosely. Before I get into the particulars, when purchasing clothes, the first thing I had to accept was the fact that the letter on my shirt tag is not a status symbol. Who cares if it says “L” or “M” on the tag? All that matters is how the shirt fits. As far as “Dockers”, slacks, and jeans go, I’ll get to those last.
At 6′ tall and 156 lbs, and a 31″ waist by 34″ inseam, I cannot shop at your normal clothing stores (Sears, JC Penny’s, Macy’s, Kohl’s etc.) if I want my shirts to fit properly because the major clothiers make their clothing to fit larger, average people. As an example, if I want to buy a golf shirt I can’t just head over to Macy’s and pick up a Polo. If I go by width, I wear a medium shirt but because I’m so long, if I purchase a medium at one of the normal mall shops, it’s too short to tuck in. If I buy a large, the arms are too wide and long and the waist is too wide by a matter of several inches so I end up looking like I’ve got a sail tucked into my pants – it just looks ridiculous. That said, there are national brands that cater to fit people – they design their clothes for the average fit person rather than the average person. My sister recommended years ago that I start shopping at Express and I’ve been infinitely happier with how I look since. Their medium shirts fit perfectly. The length is right – and they’re tailored for thin people:
The dress shirt and the golf shirt are the best examples – as you can see, they don’t leave any room for the gut and love handle combo that most men have. The trick here is to find the right brands to fit you. This is not unlike picking the proper bike – some manufacturers are better than others for different sizes and styles of riders.
For the slacks, I’ve found that Dockers and slacks fit differently than jeans (as most worldly men already know, I had to be told) – and as one would expect, they vary by manufacturer (though not as wildly as women’s clothing). For jeans, I find that Levi’s and Express jeans are fantastic for thinner folk, though I usually stick with Levi’s because they’re sturdier and they’re half the price. I’m one of those guys who wears clothes until they’re ready to be turned into chain cleaning rags so I like ’em to hold up. For the jeans, up until recently I was a 32 x 34, but I’m going to have to bite the bullet and switch to 31 x 34 or 30 x34 by the end of the summer – the only thing that’s saving me from having to run out to the store now is my cyclist’s butt and a good belt. Once we men find a brand that fit us well in jeans, the days of trying them on before buying are pretty much over – I’ve been buying Levi’s for decades and haven’t tried a pair on since my mom took me shopping in middle school, though I did size up a couple of times at the height of my poundage. That said, Dockers and Slacks are different. Until recently I was between a 32 x 32 and a 32 x 34 depending on the style of slacks. Slacks and dockers should be tried on before they are purchased every single time, there’s just too much of a variance between pleats and no pleats, cuff and no cuff and everything in between. Also, if you can afford to, have the slacks tailored – they may be expensive, but the extra will be worth it in fit…and if you’re thin, avoid the big pleats, they’ll make your hips look like you’re cross gendered (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
So concludes the wardrobe lesson for the average fit guy. Do not settle for “meh, good enough”. When you try a new manufacturer, try it on – if it doesn’t look stellar in the store mirror, don’t buy it. Why spend all of that time making yourself look awesome only to buy clothes that make you look like you’re average – or worse, too thin.
I like the Blog Awards but they’re quite labor intensive – so I thought I’d write up a post in that fashion, but without requiring anyone to do anything for my choosing to put them on my list of cool bloggers. You will notice that this list is one sided, there are no women on this list. This isn’t to say there aren’t a lot of great ladies who frequent my blog and whose blogs I frequent that I’d like to go for a ride with, if I were single which I’m not – this gender lopsidedness is out of respect for my wife who deserves a no question, no BS husband, so for that I apologize ladies. Here’s a top ten of the Awesome Bloggers I’d like to go for a ride with, and for this list, all that’s required is that you bask in the glory of your awesomeness:
10. Aaron West, who writes Steep Climbs. He’s number ten because he’s an absolute climbing monster. I’d have put him a lot higher on the list if I didn’t think he’d eat my lunch.
9. The Show Me Cajun. All around good guy.
8. Christos from christostriathlon1. Christos is a great blogger and I’d love to ride with that guy – in his home town in Cyprus of course.
7. The Springfield Cyclist. Anyone who ends every post with “God Bless’ has gotta be good.
6. Joseph Lampen. We actually live in the same state, so this could actually be possible, we’ll just have to keep it to a summer ride though. Brother likes the cold.
5. Gary B. Smith. I like Gary, his blog posts are usually quite funny and he seems like a really good guy. I don’t know what I’d like more, the political discussion or the ride, but it would be something to remember.
4. Bike V. Car. We have a lot more in common than riding – I have a feeling we’re in the same field professionally. We’ve commented back and forth on each other’s blogs for a while now and from some of the photos he posts on his blog, his home town looks like a beautiful place to ride – though it would be odd riding on the other side of the road (I can’t fight the temptation – the wrong side of the road – 😀 ).
3. Michael Fioretti – It’s All About The Legs. Michael is a collegiate rider over in Wisconsin, I’ve been following his blog almost since day one. He’s a ton stronger than I am, but it sure seems like we’d have a fun time cruising around.
2. Steven Francisco, The Blue Hen Cyclist. Steven is a collegiate A racer for the University of Delaware and hands down, one of the most intricately descriptive writers that I read. Being an avid hobby rider, I live vicariously through his posts.
1. Russel Harding, The Road To Cat 1. Russel is the big dog on this list. This would be the awesomest two minutes and twenty four seconds of my young riding career. That’s about what it would take for him to drop me like a dirty shirt – unless he was trying, then I might be able to hang on for twenty or thirty seconds. Either way, for a pro, he’s incredibly accessible, a good writer and seemingly a really decent guy.
In the runner-up position is The All Seasons Cyclist… It was not easy to keep him from the top ten, but while I do ride through all seasons, I do my winter riding on a trainer – watching a movie! His blog is awesome and he reviews a crazy amount of new bike stuff.