Cycling kit doesn’t define you, of course – but with life on two wheels being such a varied exploit, it’s no wonder that riders have found ways of portraying character via the kit they wear whilst doing it.
Certainly, there will be cross overs, diversions, and fluid movement between the genres as the seasons and years tick by – but most of us can identify ourselves in one or more of these jersey tribes…
The functional (waterproof trousers optional)
Breathable: required. Zipped pocket for keys: required. Additional reflective stripe: desirable. Available with a deal on waterproof trousers: even better.
The ideal jersey for a super commuter is hard wearing and doesn’t cost too much. This rider is all about utility and celebrating the usefulness of the bicycle.
After all, there’s no point saving £1400 a year commuting by bike to spend it all on kit to wear whilst doing so.
The performance elite
In summer, this rider is all about aero, with extra points if there’s dimples or otherwise textured sleeves.
Come winter, breathability with weatherproofing becomes the order of the day, quickly followed by aerodynamics and a close fit – because a little snow doesn’t mean you have to slow down.
The performance focused rider wants to be fast, all year round, and they don’t want kit to get in the way.
The whole ‘chucked on a t-shirt over my bib-shorts’ situation has become a lot easier since Rapha introduced its Cargo range, with the pockets usually available on a jersey packed into the bottom half.
This rider wants room to breathe, they’re exploring, finding new terrain – and failing that, getting some great snaps for Instagram.
The comedy value
You know the type: Heinz Beans, Marmite, Tomato Ketchup – any jersey that says “I only came for the cake.” We’ve got a pretty conclusive selection of the options here.
This rider doesn’t take themselves too seriously, but don’t underestimate them: chances are those hairy legs used to run ultra marathons and cycling is just a “bit of fun” (that they happen to be really good at).
The full pro kit… wearer
Why shouldn’t cycling be more like football? After all, it’s undeniable that the financial model works a lot better.
The rider out in the sparkliest of new full team kit, complete with matching socks, gloves, and possibly even the right model of bike is either actually on the team, or wants to be.
Those who opt for retro kit are the real heroes. Just don’t ask them for a run down of every win achieved by the team in question – unless you’ve got a couple of hours to kill.
It’s bright, it’s bold, there is no missing this jersey – and that’s exactly how this rider wants things to be.
There’s close ties between this tribe, and the type who insist on loudly making conversation during climbs when, frankly, no one else is capable of replying.
All black – this rider is hoping to go undetected, until it’s time to pounce and sprint past you for the all important QOM/KOM.
That, or they’ve got a really nice bright coloured frame and just can’t bear to clash with it.
The club kit
Is a club run really a club run if the members on it aren’t wearing three different generations of club kit?
Club kit wearers are either racing, or showing solidarity with the local contingent.
If this is you, best be hoping you’ve worn something different on the occasion that you need to beg/borrow/steal an inner tube off one of the local rivals…