You’re at you weekend road race, or maybe a Gran Fondo or Sportive. As you sit in the bunch, surrounded by riders you’ve never met, you observe the jersey pockets of the riders in front of you.
It’s a long ride, and the weather is changeable. The riders you suck on to are in varying states of (dis)array. In front and to the left, the view is immaculate; rain jacket neatly folded into the middle pocket, along with bulges resembling a CO2 head and cartridge. Energy bars are lined up straight in one pocket, gels in the other. The pockets don’t sag, the lines are sharp.
The rider to the right however, is a different story altogether. A gilet and armwarmer bulge hideously in the left- hand pocket, screwed up in the heat of the moment. The other armwarmer is half in that pocket, half slipping out and blowing behind him like a flag. In the other pockets, a battered old mini pump fights for space alongside an array of empty gel wrappers and half-eaten bars. The leftover dribbles from one gel seep onto the jersey material above, creating a sticky stain that’s entrapped a small piece of bar wrapper like a fly in a spider’s web.
As always, first impressions make a big impact, and you cannot help but judge.
You weigh up your chances for the rest of the ride, and size up the opposition ahead of you. Mr Messy to your right won’t last the pace. You can hear his chain squeaking and notice the caked-on grime coating his rear brake calliper and up the seat tube. He can’t be taking things seriously. He’s probably never done a proper training session in his life, bet he doesn’t even know who Eddie Merckx is.
This fella to the left though, he looks tidy. Just as his kit is immaculate, his bike is spotless and soundless. He’s a weapon. You envisage him, on the trainer, late at night and first thing in the morning, deep in the pain cave, hitting the intervals, pushing his limits and finding new gains.
Ahead of you, the road rears up, and the next climb starts to bite; the early selection hill on the parcours that you’d eyed nervously on strava the night before. The bunch starts to stretch and split, and Mr Messy moves up the group, armwarmer flapping like a warning flat. He drops some sort of hammer and vanishes up the road solo, untouchable and effortless. Meanwhile, the clean classy attire and immaculate bike of ‘the weapon’ drop like a stone, spat out of the back. If he is a weapon, he only fires blanks.
Whilst the way you look and feel on the bike doesn’t give you more power and endurance, it does lend a few watts of a different sort; the intangible power of confidence and self-assuredness. Furthermore, it doesn’t just boost your own self-confidence, it lends you a certain gravitas and respect in the peloton. There’s no coincidence as to why the Velominati – aka ‘The Keepers of the Cog’ - dedicate so many of their infamous ‘Rules’ regarding cycling to how to look as you ‘should’ on a bike.
Although training hard and riding with passion is fundamental to cycling success, we all know that looking and feeling good whilst doing so is key to it.
Whilst we cannot help with the way you pack your pockets, we can make sure your footwear is fabulous.
Ride with passion, and wear that Passion On The Go.