Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Home and Away

In the eighties, when plain black shorts were set aside for the newer, more radical black shorts with logos, the PRO peloton had taken a step up, raising the level of their game. Fast forward twenty five years and the game is completely off the hook! Jokingly, my friends and I would see the PROs of the nineties and early 2k and comment on how insanely PRO the red or white short is. Then, we would instantly dismiss the notion of wearing them ourselves. In the world of the local criterium or group ride, a rider had better be f#*king fast in order to wear them.

Cycling kits have evolved and morphed despite the canvas remaining unchanged. A jersey and shorts are all that teams, clubs, and shops have to work with, and even with the static nature of cycling clothing, they manage to re-invent cycling gear every season to give the sport a new look. To the untrained eye, it's the same tight-fitting, bright-colored clothing, but to the cyclist the subtleties are evident. Take for example the Tour: it used to be that the Tour leader wore the yellow jersey in place of their team jersey. The team's graphics were stuck on the front, the remainder of the PRO's kit was standard issue. Today everything is yellow, right up to the glasses; the leader of the Tour looks like he rode straight off the pages of a Dick Tracy comic.

Modern cycling kits make no apologies and takes no prisoners. Teams, clubs, and shops have all begun embrace the use of white or red in shorts, rewriting the unwritten rules of the past. Red and White are no longer limited to just the big boys. Back in the day, if I were to show up on a group ride dressed completely in red and failed to do anything other than drop the entire group I would be laughed at. I remember lusting for a pair of red Castelli yPRO3 shorts and thinking, If I were only fast enough to sport those.

I am all for the use of red and white in the shorts, and we have waited too long to bring them into the mainstream. I have a pair of white Assos shorts that I keep in reserve for those special days and it's always a treat to break 'em out. With the red and white hurdle cleared, I guess it's only a matter of time and budget before cycling clubs/teams develop both a "Home" and "Away" kit. Now that will be PRO!

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I still draw the line at white. Only the PROest of the PRO can pull it off.

Radio Freddy said...

Anony - This is true, I only approach the whites toward the end of the season when the tan is on and the legs look less like sausages. - RF

Guy WR said...

The white shorts debate is a fully contentious one - I suspect it could come to blows! Kudos for putting it out there.

Art said...

If you're going to wear white shorts, you've got to be pretty sure that it's not going to rain. Think of the children... And for an interesting clash between the modern kit palette and old school PRO, check out the third picture down:
http://preview.tinyurl.com/2qz4uz

Fer rilla said...

I agree with Art! People forget that when you wear white, or even silver, and it gets wet out, you're showing the world your "smile"...

Bob Kuhn said...

HUP Kit

Blue = Home

Noir = Away

Strangelife said...

I rode for a team in 1997 that made the progressive switch to an almost completely red kit(some white, some blue). The switch raised eyebrows among some older guys, but we were also the most visible team on the local circuit. Funny that some of the older dudes that laughed were wearing red shorts the next year.

White shorts are super PRO for the way they make your tan appear darker and body slimmer.

Anonymous said...

When my team went from black to blue shorts in the mid-90's, the old-timers complained by saying, "Eddy Merckx never wore blue shorts!"

Radio Freddy said...

"Merckx never wore blue shorts" those are words to live by.

The beauty of the white Assos F.I. 13 S-2 Bib Shorts is that only the front is white, so mother nature can throw the cats and dogs at you and your pride is safe. Now it is just important that you stay in the drops for the remainder fo the ride in an effort to hide the front.

Matt said...

"Mercyx never wore blue shorts"

....but Cipo wore Zebra skin!

The confusing world of cycling fashion, I suppose.

Assos, by any color is acceptable because well there is just no other short that even comes close. For those who have never been in Assos, you have no earthly idea what I am talking about.

Mike said...

Speaking of Merckx, this is exactly why I'm requesting a design update for my team. I can almost hear the eyes rolling as I toe the line in my Molteni look-alike kit...no wonder I blow up all the time, trying to fill those shoes!