Saturday, 19 May 2012

Kit and Caboodle - part 1

In which our heroine's washing basket fills up with lycra and she learns you can never have too many gloves...

At the moment, my cyclist is racing his bike on average 3 times a week.  This means I am permanently washing crazily expensive padded lycra gimp-gear (that is the last time I will refer to it as gimp-gear, I promise).  This is a sample conversation:

'You are washing my stuff separately on a 30oC delicates, aren't you?'

'Yes dear'.

But of course I'm bloody not.  I am, in fact, frantically opening kitchen windows and fanning the door to clear the clouds of steam emanating from the washing machine and humming loudly to try and cover the sound of the 'Mega-Super-Spin', which is threatening to dislodge the taps and shake the tiles from the walls.  Then getting said kit out of the machine really quickly to hide the fact the load also contained 3 sets of the boy's school uniform and an oven glove.

Washing this lot at 30oC!  You are having a LARF, cycling brands my husband favours.  Have you seen what these cyclists do to their kit?  These bibshorts need a boil wash and no mistake.  Mud, blood, tears, sweat and chain lube are not coming out of anything at 30 degrees.  And yet, that's what all the washing labels in all the garments are insisting is the absolute maximum temperature they can be exposed to ('Warning! This top will dissolve if you dare wash it at 40oC!' 'We cannot be held responsible for what may ensue should you put this on a coloured cotton wash!' 'Hand-wash only or face irreversible damage to the space-time continuum!' etc).

This is most of the current kit roster - though there's bound to be something I've forgotten:  Three lengths of bibbed bottoms - shorts, full length tights, and a cropped capri pant length thing called a bib-knicker.  ( You are not allowed to snigger at bib-knicker.  You are a grown up).  Also, leg-warmers, for a mid race / ride leg transformation.  Training socks, racing socks, oversocks, overshoes, gore-tex overshoes.  Short sleeve jerseys, long sleeve jerseys, arm-warmers, over jackets, rain cape, gore-tex rain cape.  Not forgetting shoes, glasses, assorted lenses for the glasses, and helmet.

Now, let's have a little chat about base layers.  Base layers?! 'S a vest, innit?  We are in glorious possession of three types of base layer.  Apparently, at least 2 of them are 'sweat wicking'.  Well, that's just disgusting.  Where precisely does it 'wick' the sweat to?  One of the base layers is not only 'sweat wicking', but it's fabric is 'technical'.  I can only presume this is for wearing when you have to go round a lot of corners, as I'm now pretty sure through watching Eurosport that this is what 'technical' means in a cycling context.

And socks.  Socks. Socks socks socks socks socks.  The brand my cyclist favours prints the ambient temperature-range design parameters on the sock itself.  I can't work out whether this is risable or genius.  Either way it's worked, as we have a sock for any temperature you could possibly expect in the UK and several which are hopeful rather than likely.  If you can find the matching sock you need, you have hit the sock jackpot.  If not, whatever the temperature, one foot will always be in perfect besocked comfort, while the other either freezes or swelters in a 6-12oC 'Early Spring' sock (the Blood Type O Negative of cycling socks).

And finally, to gloves.  I have been informed that you can never have too many cycling gloves.  These are the gloves my cyclist recommends you have :
  • Short fingered racing gloves (you should really have a couple of pairs of these)
  • Long fingered racing gloves
  • Long fingered cool weather/ evening training gloves
  • Thermal gloves for winter training
  • Waterproof gloves
  • Gloves that are bought because you like the gloves.

The cyclist doesn't actually like wearing gloves.  If he can get away without wearing gloves, he will.


  1. Oh how this made me laugh!!

    What's worse I cycle too and SHOULD know better!! Love the blog

  2. All sounds perfectly normal to me.....btw if you're washing anyway can i bring mine over?

  3. Yeah, of course! Just make sure you check the pockets yourself first if you don't want your empty gel wrappers and race license washed too! ;)