Tuesday, 27 February 2007

It's not just about the bike


If you take a good look at the cyclists pictured above in the fantastic BSA advertisement, you notice the absence of any Lycra at all. Back then most cyclists wore knickerbockers and Norfolk jackets when the weather was cool and maybe even their club tie , if they became too hot while cycling they took off their jacket and stowed it away in their Brooks or Carradice touring bag. Then they had a long sleeved collared shirt to protect themselves from the sun whist cycling and if it was too hot for tweed knickerbockers & jackets they would have been dressed as the two riders above are pictured. It was popular for men to wear woolen knee socks and Bermuda shorts with a long sleeved shirt to offer some protection from the sun and sturdy black leather cycling shoes. Later on Polo shirts also became popular and I have seen photos of cyclists from the 1950s wearing woolen cardigans & vests as wool is a fantastic fabric for cycling in as it doesn't sink when you get all sweaty like cotton does and it keeps you warm when needed. In recent years there has been some interest in woolen sports wear with some companies now producing fantastic wool cycling Jersey's and many modern athletes have discovered the joys of a good woolen garment. Along with the above mentioned clothing many cyclists would have worn their club badge such as a CTC - Cyclists Touring Club badge as many places scattered throughout the UK offered discounts for CTC members etc. You can still find this style of clothing today as hiking / Cycling knickerbockers ( they are sometimes referred to as breeks ) are still available in the UK and I purchased a fantastic pair of woolen knickerbockers here in Japan from an outdoor store that were designed for hiking but are just fine for cycling. As for the other clothing items I've mentioned above these are readily available new or take a trip to your local 2nd hand clothing store and you'll be sure to find something suitable at a very reasonable price, as for traditional black leather cycling shoes these are a little harder to locate but Carnac a French manufacturer still makes a traditional cycling shoe and they are very comfortable to wear as I bought a pair several years ago. So once you have your classic British bicycle restored and ready to ride try and find suitable clothing to go with it as it's not just about the bike

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