New Kit

A new season means new kit. Depending on a few factors such as when you finalize sponsors, when your race season starts and how proficient your team’s leadership is at herding cats to get the order in, and of course, how long your clothing company really takes to get the clothing made, you may be receiving your new uniform anywhere from January to April.

Often times, I can barely remember what I ordered, how many bibs, jerseys—did I order a new vest this year—clothing orders vary when, unlike the PROs, you pay your own way.

The arrival of a new kit is one of those events like Christmas or seeing the UPS driver—the anticipation can leave you salivating like a dog who has just heard the can opener. No matter who the manufacturer is, when I tear the bag open on each piece there is a smell that emerges, part men’s department, part fabric softener, that excites my brain the way movie previews did when I was 12.

No matter what hour of the day it is and whether I’ve ridden that day or now, I have to try on my new duds. It always starts the same way: I tell myself I’m not going to try it all on, that I’ll just check out the gloves or arm warmers (don’t ask why), but soon enough, I’m in the bedroom undressing so I can see how everything fits.

And whether I’m alone or not, the very next move is mugging for the mirror. I check the fit of the bibs, the drape of the jersey over my shoulders, its length, the length of the arm warmers, the color matching of the colored Lycra to the sublimated Lycra. I even check how low the jersey falls over the butt panel.

I confess: I don’t preen this much when wearing my tuxedo.

Naturally, I can’t wear the kit out on a ride too soon. Whether I’m headed for a recovery ride on my own or out to join the biggest of the local group rides, I’m decked out in the full ensemble. And it is upon exiting my driveway that I’m reminded of something I forget each and every blasted year. New bibs are slippery on a saddle. Sitting on the saddle in new bibs is like trying to run barefoot on an ice rink.

That may be the key to my favorite part of new clothing. I’m happiest when the look is still new enough to be fresh in the peloton, but the bibs have enough wear to stay put in the saddle, which is to say when my new clothing isn’t brand new, but almost new.

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  1. Souleur

    Sometimes I also find a ‘decision-block’ on just which jersey/bib/socks to go with. I sometimes remember how well this one fit, how that one went together so well last season, is it full zip?, do i tribute to my swiss background and heritage, or tribute something else in schemata? I find it a methodical process that can take me…well a very long time to arrive to. But its worth it all, since then, as you well say, its better than christmas morn when the ups truck pulls up the drive.

  2. bikecharlie

    Damn it, I didn’t order a new vest this year and I hate myself for it. Next year I am skimping on base layers. At least no one can see those.

  3. James

    Pro? I’m so far from pro you’d never believe it. Last raced in 1987! And I sucked then! What is this infatuation with pro? I read about it all over but near as I can figure most folks that talk about it would last about 10 seconds with a true pro! I always figured that people who talk pro are want to be’s… So, no new shorts and Grateful Dead jerseys work fine for me!

    1. Author

      Hey, no insulting the peanut gallery. None of US are PRO. We are just trying to imitate it, if we’re lucky, for an hour or two per day. I might not advocate Grateful Dead jerseys, but I’m not going to insult a guy once he’s made the purchase. Let’s keep commenting here at RKP a safe harbor. The conversation is more fun and engaging if we know we’re among friends.

      James: as a sign of good will, if you can spare the cash, I’ll give you 20% off on any RKP kit. Being honest in your comments should get you praise, not abuse.

      Rich_Mutt: I’ll give you 20% off RKP kit, too, if you’ll promise to be nice to everyone else here.

  4. James

    My apologies! It was a poor attempt at humor. I’d look really silly trying to emulate anything pro to be honest. But I may take you up on your offer. I’ve never had matching anything whilst on a bike, well, except maybe socks of the same color. Oh and my shorts are bibs…it’s the only way they stay up! I just always call them shorts as that’s what they used to be…

  5. rich_mutt

    i think it was my fault. it was a cheeky response james. i find the term “Pro” a bit funny, even though i take it somewhat seriously. i like to laugh at my own absurdities sometimes, and the internets doesn’t translate my self-deprecating humour too well. though i will maintain that a grateful dead jersey is just as ridiculous as a jersey that purports to be “Pro”!

    sorry it took me a while to respond, i’ve been on the traveling for over 24 hours! i may take you up on the discount padraig- though i am newly flush with a closet full of this year’s team kit!

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