Friday Group Ride #448

Friday Group Ride #448

I’ll start with two questions, neither of which are this week’s actual question. The first is, have you ever seen someone at the grocery, shopping, pushing a car, wearing a bike helmet? And the second is, have you seen the can that La Colombe Pure Black & White cold-pressed coffee comes in? Those would seem to be unrelated queries, but…

I love the grocery store. This baffles my wife. She hates doing the shopping, and I understand that. Sometimes the press of oblivious shoppers in too-narrow aisles makes the whole thing an exercise in close-contact aversion therapy.

But they keep food there, and I love food. I like to make choices about food. I like to try new foods. I like new flavors, and, for the purposes of this week’s FGR, I like packaging.

That brings up the can for La Colombe’s aforementioned caffeine delivery system. It is stunning. Never mind that the coffee is good. It is. But the design of the can is beautiful, a rich navy blue with high-contrast white lettering. They haven’t packed it with text. I bought it, really, only to look at, although I drank the coffee, too. Because coffee.

Oh, but the guy I’m thinking of washed up in front of the grocery store on a badly kept hybrid with a milk crate zip-tied on the back. He was overdressed for the weather in heavy blue winter coat and hat, his helmet askew on top. I thought, as he stomped through the automatic door, that he’d take his helmet off, but no…not today. I passed him every other aisle or so, and the helmet stayed on.

He was, I thought, a bad advertisement for cycling. Only kooks ride bikes, right? But then I began to think of the La Colombe cyclist, the perfectly coordinated kit, the shaved legs and five o’clock shadow, the vulpine calves and mirrored sunglasses. I’m not sure I’m friends with that guy. I probably like the guy wearing his helmet in the frozen foods aisle better.

This week’s Group Ride asks, how is your packaging? Scale of 1-10, with 1 being helmeted, looking for a ripe avocado, and 10 being fully coordinated, shaved and turned out. Despite my La Colombe tastes, I’m probably a hard 4 myself.


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  1. Lyford

    Road bike turnout: I try to keep logos to a minimum, but do have a couple of “team” pieces bought because they were cheaper than the plain versions. Usually plain black shorts/tights, jersey in solid bright color, high-viz helmet, random faded gloves, short socks in white or colors that don’t clash horribly with the jersey, black or grey shoes. 5?

    I don’t like being a rolling billboard and want to be visible. Wearing a helmet is sometimes better than displaying helmet hair.

  2. Neil Winkelmann

    Fully matched club kit or simply black shorts that go with every jersey. Socks not matching so much as not-clashing. No logos. The only event jersey I’ll ride is DK200. Otherwise, shaved, slammed, sunglass arms outside of straps. You know the type.

  3. Michael

    Hmm, I wear socks that fit, whether tall or short, but some of my jerseys are a bit large and sloppy, but not yet worn out. Shorts/tights must fit though. Some jerseys and shorts have logos, if someone gave them to me. Glasses always beneath the straps – over the straps makes them jiggle too much and mine are prescription, so I need to actually see. Never shave my legs – haven’t the time or patience. Commuting I do on a fifty-year-old bike turned into a single-speed, wearing normal street/work clothes. So, I think I score pretty low on your scale. I leave my helmet locked with the bike, though.

  4. Aar

    8. The can is a 10 but the coffee inside ain’t. No sponsor logos on the kit but colors on my bibs always go with the jersey and match if at all possible. Socks match if possible, white if not. On the rare occasion that I’m wearing gloves in the summer they follow the same color protocol as the socks. Helmet, shoes and sunnies are always clean and white. All of my summer kit is Rapha or 7Mesh. Bibs always same brand as jersey but 7Mesh doesn’t make the accessories yet. As stated, the can is sharp.

    Stopped shaving legs 25 years ago. Calves are just as un-vulpine as the rest of me. This isn’t a La Colombe beverage despite the wrapper.

  5. Martin

    I jump on a bike and head the kilometre or so to the neighbourhood superette at least once a day for basic items and never, ever take my helmet off before going in. I never even think about it! Maybe I will now…

  6. Jeff vdD

    7? Unshaven legs (never could figure out the answer to how high up the leg to stop), but always coordinated kit/socks. Most adorned with graphics of some sort: team for CX, otherwise club or college or WBR or Fat Cyclist or whatnot.

    Helmet off inside, and per club protocol, NEVER on the table.

  7. TomInAlbany

    3. I look like a cyclist but don’t take myself seriously. Shaving legs is a waste of time. All balck shorts means all kits work together. Shoes? Black. Gloves? Black. Helmet? I don’t know. I think it’s blue.

  8. Sam Aldridge

    Matching Team Kits from various shops or informal teams for whom I ride for fun…. or a mixture of mix and match Pro kit replicas from the 80’s attempting to casually pose as someone who used to be fast…. White shoes, white helmet…. Legs always shaved (since 1978) and the bike ALWAYS immaculate!
    In my mind, a 10 disguised as an 8. To the world, a 3 posing as a 6… Pathetic, I know.

  9. KC Penn

    Probably less than 5 on the packaging scale. I make an effort, but my penchant for hi-vis, preferably orange, and flashing lights clashes with the stealth all-black kit the cool kids wear. I want to look like a traffic cone on the road, not a poser in the produce aisle. People think twice about running over traffic cones, right?

    1. Jeff vdD

      KC Penn, hi-vis is the new black! Just wait, it won’t be long at all before the kids sporting the goth kits will be just as orange as you are.

  10. Fred

    I have kit with my company on it, so I guess that makes me a 9 or 10. Our colors are navy and white with a pearl white bike with blue stickers. I needed gloves, warmers, etc., so that all matches too.

    Wait, that must be an 11. I turn 50 this year, so I guess that makes me a MAMIL.


  11. Stephen Barner

    If my socks match each other, I’m good. I think wearing any helmet with a black jersey is a bit of a contradiction.

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