Monday, 13 March 2017

Old bikes need old clothes....

Ok - so we have the 'old bikes' all ready for Eroica - and, assuming we accustom ourselves to their idiosyncracies, that part of the adventure is all sorted. The next step is what to wear? There are a whole heap of 'commandments' for this ride that need to be adhered to, number nine of which is clothing for the event.
“Participants must be dressed in vintage or era specific clothing”
That means leave the skin suit at home, So that’s vintage era in, fluro out. Plaid welcome, ziggy zags a no-no. Tweed an honoured guest, aero-tech given the heave-ho.
So the search begins: in the more dubious corners of the web for ‘genuine pre-’87 wool shirts and shorts - with added itch!’ - then there's the shoes, gloves, socks, goggles and what about hats? - helmets, although appeasing the health and safety brigade, look somewhat incongruous for this event? But it’s worth noting that, unlike the bikes themselves, the rules don’t actually stipulate that Eroica apparel be old, or of a certain year, just vintage looking and in-keeping with the historic feeling of the event.

From what I can see (looking at photos and videos of previous gatherings) the majority of participants wear vintage style jerseys - the few that don't stick out like sore thumbs and really needed to try harder - so 'entering into the spirit' is important - it will be worth the effort - and hopefully the expense!

My old shoes!
I've started gathering my bits and pieces - I've got a few vintage style jerseys already - although not made from wool they do at least reflect the vintage period and style. I knew that I had a pair of cycling shoes from my youth - but they remained elusively hidden until recently when I found them tucked away in the loft, sharing space in a box of Lake District books. These shoes are from the late 1970s, made by French company 'Patrick' and carry the monicker of Raymond Poulidor. They are soft kid leather uppers with a leather sole reinforced with steel - and they still have the nailed-on cleats that I used back then - the idea of these shoes anchored onto the pedals and then firmly strapped in place is somewhat scary now - getting feet in and out quickly with this equipment is tricky and will require practise.

I've got a cheap pair of repro aviator sunglasses that look the part - and a collection of peaked cycling hats emblazoned with suitable logos and team names. I've got a nice pair of track mitts - leather palms with crocheted backs and a few pairs of crisp white socks.

I think I'm almost there - but the main thing, the jersey, I'm still undecided on - to some extent it will depend on which bike I ride - I'm thinking the Colnago will be the better option - it's the better bike of the two I have - importantly it has slightly better (easier) gearing. However the Bianchi has better options in terms of apparel - I have some really nice repro Bianchi clothing that would look the part - If I ride the Colnago I could opt for Molteni clothing - as worn by the famous Merckx team from late 60s/70s - this is iconic stuff too - but I think it will be commonplace on the ride. I'll keep searching, perhaps I'll find something irresistible?

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