The polar opposite to race finery, the gritty bottom feeder in the food chain of cycle clothing. That old, tatty, moth-eaten, patched, worn out but still useful kit that is always just one ride away from being binned.
Those shorts with the awkward hole in them that are only ever dragged out in the Winter to slip hidden underneath longs, or the ones that are a little too, um, sheer for polite company that are left alone but for the turbo-trainer. The once Sunday Best gloves with the crash-tear in them that now get used for the loveless proletarian commute. The old domestique who does all the work but whose name you can’t remember and is concealed in the back of the bus while the star of the team is giving interviews.
Mine is an ancient ADR jersey from the glory years when Greg LeMond rode for them, arms crudely hacked off with kitchen scissors whilst in the South of France on a tarmac-blistering hot cycling holiday, when I was young and foolish and didn’t know that a sleeveless jersey was such a terrible faux-pas. In a total contrast to its brief initial life it’s now just used for cold rides. Rolled up and secretly stuffed into the middle rear pocket, a torso warming mid-layer for when the ride turns for the last bit home, the Euro fluoro frenzy best left out of sight beneath a thick jacket.
The old and wounded soldiers that still carry on fighting, unseen. Here’s to the Underclass.
Jo Burt has spent the majority of his life riding bikes, drawing bikes and writing about bikes. When he’s not scribbling pictures for the whole gamut of cycling media he writes words about them for road.cc and when he’s not doing either of those he’s pedaling. Then in whatever spare minutes there are in between he’s agonizing over getting his socks, cycling cap and bar-tape to coordinate just so. And is quietly disappointed that yours doesn’t. He rides and races road bikes a bit, cyclo-cross bikes a lot and mountainbikes a fair bit too. Would rather be up a mountain.