(Helper monkey--the ultimate multi-tool!)
It is becoming increasingly clear to me that this spring is going to be about one thing--an unprecedented abundance of cycling fashions. No sooner did I learn about the controversial "Extra Leg" calf sheath than I discovered the "Urban Gaiter:"
Yesterday I quipped that someday soon we might see an "Extra Leg" with integrated pouches. Well, guess what the "Urban Gaiter" is? No, it's not a rapping cartoon alligator; it's an "Extra Leg" with integrated pouches:
Urban Gaiter $20.00
Black Cordora Fabric with Reflective Schoeller Fabric. Used Around Pant Leg And Has Side Pocket To Hold Cell Phone, Money and Other Items. Perfect For Quick Errands and Protecting Your Pants On Your Commute.
There weren't any photos of somebody actually wearing the "Urban Gaiter," but I'm guessing it looks like a blood pressure monitor, only on your leg. If you're riding in street clothes anyway, I'm not sure why you just can't put your money, keys and phone where you normally would--in your pockets. Why would hopping on your bike to run some "quick errands" suddenly necessitate strapping all these things to your appendages like you're smuggling them through customs? The next step can only be hiding them completely in one of those touristy money belts, or else simply placing them in a condom and swallowing them. (The latter technique works great for tools, too. "You wouldn't happen to have a tire lever on you, would you?" "Well, technically yes, but I won't be able to get to it for 24 hours.") Still, if you own an urban sombrero, I'm sure the "Urban Gaiter" would make a lovely companion piece.
I was curious to learn more about the company that sells the "Urban Gaiter," so I read more about them on their website:
I'm a bicycle commuter, and I can certainly appreciate "durable, versatile, and practical commuting gear." I have a body to keep warm and dry, and I also have personal effects I like to carry and sometimes need to access in less than 24 hours. (There's nothing worse than not being able to take an important call because your phone is still working its way through your digestive tract.) Sure, the "Urban Gaiter" wasn't for me, but certainly something else would be.
Well, apart from a few weird bags and the spoke reflector things pictured next to the "Urban Gaiter," they mostly just had a bunch of t-shirts. I'm not sure how a t-shirt can be considered "durable, versatile, and practical commuting gear," nor how it can help "get you there safely," but I do agree that they use "the highest quality and most durable materials," because some of their shirts are made out of bamboo:
Craig Calfee has been espousing the virtues of bamboo bicycle frames for years, so it's nice to see the material finally coming to cycling attire as well. This shirt may look like an ordinary t-shirt, but it's actually highly protective and incorporates the same technology used by ancient Japanese Samurai, who wore bamboo suits of armor. Also, it's got a picture of a guy riding a bike on it, which makes it cycling-specific. You can be confident that this t-shirt is all you need to protect you from either painful road rash or ninja attacks.
And Cyclelogical is not the only company drawing inspiration from the past. In London, a similarly-named company called Cyclodelic (which I learned about from Trackosaurusrex) is now making a cycling-specific cape:
If you've already got an "Urban Gaiter" and an urban sombrero, you're certainly going to want to complete your wardrobe by wearing a cape like Frank Costanza's lawyer. Just imagine how dramatic you'll look riding around town with a cape fluttering behind you. Apart from the flapping and whipping and lack of protection from cold wind and its potential to get caught on everything from car mirrors to your own bicycle, I really can't see a downside to cycling in the city while wearing a cape. Cyclodelic isn't stopping there, either. They've got a whole line of urban cycling fashions made specifically for the female rider, and you can see the clothes in action here:
In keeping with the magic theme (magicians love capes), Cyclodelic is also apparently making invisible pants. This is the only possible explanation for the fact that the models all have bare legs and pant cuff retainers:
Also, the model on the right must be riding a left-hand drive bike.
Even more exciting than invisible pants (if that's even possible) is the fact that Cyclodelic have also designed what may be the world's first female-specific fixed-gear freestyler, the "Lady Midas:"
If you're a male and you're feeling left out, you shouldn't. Just because this stuff is for women doesn't mean you can't rub it too. After all, urban male cyclists have been wearing women's pants for years, so there's really nothing odd about a guy throwing on a cape, a pair of invisible pants, and a visible pant cuff retainer, and hitting the streets--or even "killing it" on a Lady Midas:
Note that the step-through frame obviates the need for a top tube pad. Note also that the rider is wearing invisible pants without any pant cuff retention. I hope they don't get caught in his chain!
Perhaps most exciting of all, Cyclodelic will be launching their new line complete with an alleycat-esque "Cyclodelic Champagne Bicycle Treasure Hunt" in London:
I am seriously considering heading over there with my Scattante and "throwing down," since I think this is one of the few races in the world I could actually win. Spotting the "dressed up characters" alone should be a cinch, since the streets of London will be crawling with people in capes and invisible pants riding golden bicycles. I wonder if I can fit a bottle of Korbel champagne in my Gigunda cage? I also wonder if Cyclodelic clothing will be available in the New York City Topshop as well, since I've been riding capeless for far too long.
If nothing else, in theory this bumper crop of urban cycling attire should at least serve to make road racing attire seem slightly less absurd. However, in practice, you should never underestimate the roadie's ability to look ridiculous. A reader was kind enough to forward me these photos of the S.S. Capannuccia team, who, as he points out, bear more than a passing resemblance to 80s Christian "metal" band Stryper:
Besides the bumblebee-like color scheme, S.S. Capannuccia and Stryper also share in common the fact that they make you question the existence of God, since no merciful deity would ever allow a group of people to roam the Earth looking like that.
But not all roadies are taking their style cues from Christian rock bands. A reader in China has sent me this photo from a local race, which shows riders whose influences are decidedly more rebellious in nature:
The Rock Racing jersey, cigarette, and Euro-schmata are the Holy Trinity of roadie attitude. When juxtaposed with what may be one of the world's few remaining non-ironically rocked fanny packs, the effect is even more powerful.
I wonder where he keeps his cigarettes? Someone really should make a bag for that.