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Cycling and How to Be A Proper Peacock on Your Bike (without overdoing it)

I am a proper peacock on a road bike. I offer the distinction of the bicycle type because on a gravel bike I’d be fine, but on a mountain bike, my normal dress would be wildly outside of norms… or overdoing it.

Now, the coming sentence is going to be a little controversial. Please give me a moment to make my case before you storm off in a huff.

The Rules as written by Velominati helped me immensely to get a firm sense of how to look good on a bicycle. First, I really enjoyed the blatantly over-the-top arrogant humor and I was able to keep that in context to use “The Rules” as a guide rather than a straight jacket. I can only offer this, don’t get lost in the over-the-top snarky nature of the rules. Just use them.

So, there are a few simple suggestions people can employ to bring out that inner peacock that will, hopefully keep one spectacular without devolving into looking like you’re in a clown suit.

  1. Helmet is the proper size. Too big and you look like a mushroom. Too small and you look like… well, quite goofy! You want a happy medium and the helmet should match the color scheme of the bike or the tertiary color of the bike/kit color scheme (in the case above, if I didn’t have red, white). Purchasing tip: Don’t settle if the shop doesn’t have the proper size for your melon. A drive to the next shop, or God forbid, buying on online, is better than being stuck with a poorly sized melon protector. And while we’re at it, the idea is for the thing to protect your head in a crash – if it’s the wrong size, it may not do that as intended.
  2. The rules say no saddle bags, but those knuckleheads have never done multi-day tours where you have to stow arm warmers or rain jackets in your back pockets, along with food and phone. That’s too much crap when you throw in flat tire repair tools. A cool, small saddle bag is the way to go so you’ve got room to store extra clothing that was required because you’re out long enough to experience a 30-degree swing in temperature (12 in Cs).
  3. The idea is to show off by looking good, not by sticking out like a sore thumb. A clown suit, multi-colored, obnoxiously loud in hyper-viz colors is likely going to be over-the-top and the louder you go, the tougher it is to pull it all together to make it look good. If you want to be seen, try a rear blinkie or a Garmin radar taillight. However, this look can be carefully pulled off – it just isn’t easy to do. Ask Mario Cipollini… and if you’re going to go that route, it doesn’t hurt to be able to sprint like him.
  4. While pro kits are a little more common, a good guide is to stick with the retro stuff and leave the current pro kit to the pros. Do what makes you happy here… with one exception; don’t, under any circumstances, choose the world or national champion kit. Choosing that is like painting a bullseye on your back that says, “make me prove I deserve to wear this”. You will be ridden like a redheaded stepchild till you rightly blow up and bonk yourself to a crawl… and the others who blew you up will take pleasure in riding away from your bonked self and then recount the tragedy for the next twenty years. It will go like this, “Remember when we blew up the German National Champion? That was awesome!” Don’t be that person.
  5. Manufacturer team kit is always awesome. This isn’t to be confused with “Pro Team Kit”. I have three pro-quality Specialized “team” kits. I bought all of them on sale because they’re wildly expensive and entirely awesome. When weather is going to be excessively hot and you’re going to be riding with the big dogs and you really need the performance kit, the top of the line from one of the manufacturers, often referred to as their team kit, is awesome to have. Take advantage! (See gallery below).
  6. White shoes(!). In baseball, and a few other sports, white shoes are left to the superstars. Not so in cycling. White shoes, while near impossible to keep clean, are spectacular. Period, end of discussion. Just, um, try to keep ’em clean.
  7. White bar tape? If you race, approximately 60% of all pros have white bar tape and saddles – even when white bar tape doesn’t make sense. It’s a “thing”. A “I have a team mechanic to keep my bar tape clean and bright. You don’t” thing. If you do go with white bar tape, the saddle should also be white. Otherwise, your bike will look unbalanced. Black tape is fine and wonderful… and you don’t need a private mechanic to keep it clean looking:

Examples of manufacturer team kit above… and local team jerseys below – local team kit is absolutely fabulous – you can never go wrong flying your local colors. Assenmacher’s is our local shop, the Affable Hammers are our local team.

To wrap this post up, being a peacock, properly, is never a bad thing. Going to far, into the clownish, is. Know the difference and ride with confidence. And don’t sweat the rules. Too much. Try to see the humor in them and use them for good.

“Should You Set Your Bike Up Like A Pro?” GCN Looks At A Good Topic, From The Wrong Angle.

First of all, I have tried to set my bike up like a pro – a frame two sizes too small, super-long baby’s arm-length stem, six inch drop from the nose of the saddle to the handlebar… the bike looked… erm… not right (click here, scroll down to the last bike) and the real answer is no, you absolutely shouldn’t try to set your bike up like a pro does – not all the way, anyway. Simply because you’re not 20 anymore. As Manon Lloyd suggested would be the case, I lasted five or ten miles with the bike set up like that. I had to cock my head sideways to be able to see up the road. Forget about riding in the drops. It was all I could do to ride on the hoods. It was, simply put, untenable.

So, above is GCN’s Manon Lloyd in a video about why one shouldn’t set one’s bike up like a pro. Of course, the comments also humorously pointed out that GCN’s next video would be “Why You Should Set Your Bike Up Like a Pro”. In fact, I do remember one or two about how to set your bike up like a pro, but should you or shouldn’t you?

Neither question is the correct question because whether you should or shouldn’t, you’re going to try. We all do because a pro setup looks awesome. So give it your best… and find out the normal way that we all end up somewhere between “pro” and “handlebar same height as the saddle”.

Now, on a humorous note, take a look at that pro’s bike in the embedded video above. Now look at mine:

Yep, that’s what we call close enough for government work, my friends.

I can tell you confidently, at 50 years-old, riding in the position needed for that setup isn’t all that big a deal – I’m certainly not uncomfortable. And that’s really the important point. It is that which is most important in cycling: When it’s all said and done, the idea is to put as many miles on your bike as is humanly possible. May as well do that in comfort. Unless you’re getting paid to ride. And you have a masseuse. And a team paid DO/Chiropractor.

As far as the GCN video goes, it doesn’t matter whether you should or shouldn’t. You’re going to try anyway, so just give it your best and see what you think.

Santini Pro Replica Jersey Review

I picked up my first piece of Santini kit because a blog that I follow wrongly suggested that Santini’s pro sleeveless cycling jerseys were all kinds of fantastic. Santini kit does look great and I’ve heard nothing but good about them, but sleeveless and pro in the same post? That just didn’t seem… right.

And that would be because Santini doesn’t make a sleeveless cycling jersey, let alone a pro sleeveless cycling jersey.

Santini does make running singlets and triathlon tops, but their cycling section is dedicated solely to sleeved jerseys. Even their women’s jerseys all have sleeves, too (though they do make a tank).

Anyway, while I was there, I remembered Santini is a sponsor of Trek Segafredo… and my Trek just happens to be black and red, so I figured while I was there, I’d check on the kit. They were selling a smashing cap for $15. I clicked it into my shopping cart immediately.

Now, it just so happened, when I was navigating through the teams I spotted Ducati Corse…. now that’s a jersey, right there! It was glorious.

$105… I didn’t even blink. Clicked it into my shopping cart and checked out. Friends, that’s a f***in’ sharp jersey right there (I got a nice Christmas bonus this year so I spent some of it).

Well, my small haul showed up yesterday after 11 days.

The cap, cotton, is fantastic. It’ll become one of my favorites.

And the jersey… now, the jersey is sexy.

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You know when you’ve got a high quality piece of kit in your hands, and this is that (though what is it with Italians and skinny arms?!). When you’ve got a quality piece if kit, even your winter pot roast and potato body looks good with it on.

I ordered a large, figuring Italian sizing would run a little smaller than we’re used to in the USA, and I was right. The fit is perfect, and surprisingly very close to “true to size” if a little tight in the arms.

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Finally, I want to delve into the rule pertaining to “Pro Kit”.  Technically, according to “the rules”, one isn’t supposed to purchase pro kit unless it’s “old school” pro kit, at which point, it becomes cool again.  Five or ten years ago, the rule had some bite to it.  Nowadays, it’s finally become fashionable to support to your favorite teams – a lot like they do with football, the other football, baseball, or hockey.  I am embracing the idea that this should be allowed as it is in the other sports… especially due to the fact that we cycling fans can actually wear said team-supporting kit whilst actually participating in the sport the kit was meant for.  In this case of “The Rules”, I think it might be time to retire the “No Pro Kit” rule.  It just doesn’t make sense anymore.  It may have at one point, but give it a rest already.

Just a thought.  Ride hard, my friends.  Santini’s kit is good stuff.  My new Ducate Corse jersey will find a regular place in my summer rotation (and the Trek Segafredo cap will be a regular when I’m on my Trek).