29 June 2012

Remembrance Of Jerseys Past

Now I'm going to make a confession:  I used to ride in "bike clothes."  In fact, I used to have a full wardrobe of jerseys.  However, only once or twice did I ever buy matching shorts:  I usually stuck with basic black.  Then again, when I started buying bike clothes, matching shorts and jerseys weren't available, and nearly all shorts were black.

I don't plan on buying any team jerseys this year, or for the rest of my life.  However, I'll admit I did see a couple I liked:

 What's interesting about this jersey from the Basque team Euskatel is that it's not as loud as you'd expect it to be, given its combination of yellow and orange.  That, to me, shows some excellent design sense.  But even if the jersey were louder, people would like it because of all of the talented riders--some of whom have a chance to win stages of the major tours--on that team.

We all knew it was just a matter of time before argyle started to appear on team kit.  (Hipster uber alles?)  At least it was done--at least to my eye--in a very appealing way here, with an eye-pleasing color scheme.

If you like that, how can you not like the Sky team's kit?:

Team kit hasn't gotten much more fashionable than that.  The only problem I can see with it is having to wear it when making a climb on a 100 degree day.

Now I'll show you some jerseys I actually owned and rode:

 All right.  You can forgive me this one, can't you?  First of all, all you have to do is take a look at my bikes (and this blog) to know what some of my favorite colors are.  Plus, I did my young-adult riding during the '80's.  Actually, for a jersey of that era, this one is pretty tame, wouldn't you say?

Speaking of the '80's, here's another popular jersey from that time, which I owned and rode:

The Vetements Z team featured Greg LeMond, the first American to win the Tour de France.  So did this team:

 Bernard Hinault, the last Frenchman to win the Tour de France, also rode for the team La Vie Claire, a French chain of health-food stores.  This is my favorite jersey of all time, if for no other reason that it's the best use anyone ever made of Piet Mondrian's work.

Here's another version of that jersey:

Speaking of French riders and teams:  They didn't win the Tour in the '90's: Miguel Indurain, like Eddy Mercx in the '70's, was simply unbeatable.  However, French riders (e.g., Laurent Jalabert and Richard Virenque) and teams managed to finish second and third in more style than any other athletes in history:

There are other examples, but I always liked this Credit Agricole jersey a lot (enough that I actually paid for one!).  It's colorful, but not over-the-top, and has a rather clean, streamlined design.

I also liked this jersey, though I never bought it:

 Cofidis is the team that dumped Lance Armstrong when his cancer was revealed.  Also, they never escaped from the shadows of doping accusations and other scandals.  Still, I thought they had a pretty cool jersey.

But for sheer style, it's hard to beat those all-wool jerseys from the '60's and earlier. Too bad I never got to wear them:

Finally, no discussion of team kit would be complete without one of the most iconic examples of the genre:

I mean, who hasn't seen the Peugeot checkered flag? In their long history (which has included many different co-sponsors), the team has had some of the sport's most famous riders ride for them, including some guy from Belgium who would win five Tours de France.  Yep, Eddy Mercx began his professional career in this jersey.  And BP wasn't yet associated with an oil spill in the Gulf.


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  2. Hi..
    That was so nice idea you to willn't wear any bicycle jersey in feature. However, you find your cycling spirit without jersey. ..!

  3. I only bought one from a shop in Normandy, black like my shorts and bike! Little problem with black causing overheating here...

    I have never felt comfortable with writing / logos on clothes, give me elegance and style any-day.

  4. Coline--I agree.

    My grandfather used to say that if you are wearing something with a company's name on it, you're advertising for them and they should pay you for it!