Riding in Giro

Riding in Giro

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I’m in Santa Cruz for a couple of days of rides ahead of the Sea Otter Classic. The event is being hosted by Giro and while I know the thrust of it concerns their New Road apparel, beyond that, I can’t say what the real plan is. It’s unusual to attend an event that is so open-ended. Most of the industry events I attend are very direct about what they hope to achieve in terms of media coverage. I don’t mind anyone laying out such an explicit expectation, but to attend something as relaxed as this is both unusual and refreshing. IMG_7614

Honestly, if I had to guess, I’d say this was really just an opportunity to get more editors to ride in the New Road apparel, but in a setting where Giro can entertain questions and solicit feedback. You might say they give as much as they get.

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While most of the editors here have endured real winters, I can’t claim to have suffered in any way, can’t say that I needed a getaway, can’t convince anyone that the riding in Southern California is so drab that I needed something like this to jump-start my season. Oddly enough, today’s ride was still the warmest weather I’ve ridden in this year. Strange … but true.

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Every time I ride in or around Santa Cruz, I marvel at the tiny roads that wind through the forests. Riding past 1000-year-old trees and ferns that have been growing for hundreds of millions of years is awe-inspiring stuff, but some of the appeal of this riding is simpler. The attraction can be traced to details like how you can ride out of 80-degree sunlight and into a canopied forest where the temperature can drop 15 degrees.

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I’ve been riding this apparel on mountain bike rides, for errand running, or when I ride my tandem to pick up Mini-Shred from school. There were times at first when I found myself feeling self-conscious. I suppose this is what non-cyclists feel the first time they put on stretchy cycling kit. Indoctrination is a funny thing.

Near the end of the ride I was sitting at the back of the group and took  a moment to just look at the group and everyone in the apparel. For a moment I saw the bunch through the eyes of a driver. The riders didn’t look so alien, so threatening, so predisposed to dive into the middle of the road. I wonder what others see.

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11 comments

  1. Mark Parker

    How was it to wear, the feel? Going by looks everyone looks a bit dark and grey.

    This kind of gear is good for daily riding. I like the urban offerings from people like Rapha and Vulpine, comfortable and brighter but there’s no spandex or fluo yellow in sight.

  2. Andrew

    I don’t know. Somehow I got by for years riding casually (and across the country) in a t shirt and running shorts over bike shorts.

  3. Quentin

    This is a bit of a tangent, but I’ve been reading your blog for a while and I don’t think you’ve previously mentioned riding a tandem with your son. As someone who has been riding a tandem with my kids the last few years, I’d be interested in what sort of bike you’re using and how you’re making it work, if you’d like to write about it sometime.


    1. Author
      Padraig

      Quentin: I’ve gotten a few requests along the lines of yours. There will be several posts coming.

      Ken: I’ll accuse West Coast drivers of a lot of things, but being nicer than East Coast drivers isn’t among them.

  4. Ken

    Perhaps the drivers out west are more attentive to and considerate of cyclists than they are out here on the east coast, but in this age of cell phones and texting I want to stand out from the background and give them as much reaction time as possible rather than blend in and contribute to last-second avoidance maneuvers or worse. I’ve watched drivers’ reactions as I approach intersections wearing hi-viz and alternatively wearing fashionably drab and prefer the earlier recognition from the former. I think that we cyclists are mentally wired to recognize the shape and motions of cycling and then we assume we’re equally visible to non-riders. We’re not. Yes, I ride as if I’m invisible, but I still try to help the drivers who are already annoyed that I’m on “their” roads.

  5. John Kopp

    Quentin: I rode RAGBRAI one year (about 30 years ago) with a friend who took his preschooler on a tandem. He had it set up with kiddie cranks on the stoker seat. It worked well and they rode the whole distance. I swear I saw the kid sleeping back there a couple of times with his feet in the pedals going round and round. It was a great week!

    The Giro apparel looks really comfortable, but would prefer a brighter shirt.

    1. Quentin

      I’m aware of the child stoker kits for full size tandems, but I’m more interested in tandems with short frames so you don’t need the adapter and it’s easier for them to get on. I can attest from personal experience that kids do fall asleep on tandems, and not just really young ones.

  6. Scott

    There’s a reason cyclists wear bright colors. It’s called visibility! This apparel defies the old adage that “form follows function.”
    While the group may not look “alien,” I submit that some drivers may not see them at all. That’s not a problem on the nearly abandoned roads in the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park. For a more practical test, go climb San Jose Soquel road, then tell me how comfortable you are riding around the Santa Cruz mountains in camouflage. I prefer to give drivers extra reaction time when I’m riding narrow country roads. To be honest, I’d much rather look like a live alien than a dead hipster.

    1. Eric Richter

      @Scott
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. As I’ve noted in other posts, we believe that riders want more options from head to toe to address comfort, style, performance and visibility. We’re absolutely not against brighter colors – in fact we use a fairly bright “glowing red” color in men’s and women’s outwear, and more brights will come as the line expands. We also offer a mix of brights in helmets, gloves and shoes to complement the clothing.

      As for Soquel-San Jose Road…it can be intimidating for sure. I chose to ride it early in the day, to avoid the wine drinkers and traffic because i don’t think any amount of visibility makes it “Safe” at certain times of the day. But I live 2 miles from there, and ride it regularly on the way to some of the great routes around the Summit area. If you’re ever rolling by Casalegno’s and you see someone in the kit sipping coffee, please give a shout. it might just be me…

  7. ifjeff

    I purchased the 40m Tech shorts, full retail $120, and was surprised how nice the material was and the overall comfort with and without pad liners they offered. My feeling is for long “serious” road rides they may not really be ideal, however for daily bike life and MTB riding in the summer they should prove to be nice. Anecdotally, off road riding in shorts and a T is a quick time capsule to early days of cycling for me, and I assume many of your readers.

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