The Underclass

VecchioJo celebrates the old, tatty, moth-eaten and worn out, much like himself.

by VecchioJo   December 17, 2012  


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.

8 user comments

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Here's to the bobbly Colnago Del Tongo acrylic top, just the thing for a few chilly lunchtime hill reps. Last time I popped the phone in the back pocket it went straight through and hit the floor.

posted by stever [64 posts]
17th December 2012 - 12:00


Ok I admit it: I binned my 1992 Pace Research shorts with the flouro yellow side panel last week. Not only were they desperately uncool now they were struggling to stretch around a late 40's torso after snugly fitting a 20's waist. It was a sad moment - they were my first pair of 'proper' shorts, costing the small fortune that £40 was back then. Sob.

posted by mbrads72 [158 posts]
21st December 2012 - 19:08


The lime green and blue Marbella MTB bib shorts I love were relegated after the last Northern Rock cyclone when a bloke rode past and told me he could see my arse crack through them.

posted by neslon [51 posts]
21st December 2012 - 21:13


A few of my club mates have the same problem. Group riding is like musical chairs to get behind someone who isnt 'transparent'!

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice...

posted by notfastenough [3723 posts]
21st December 2012 - 22:38


I have a wool jersey from 1976 from an event in US called Bike Centennial, now known as Adventure Bike. Anyhow, the wool is very itchy so I only wear the jersey during the winter over a base layer. Can't believe we used to west wool jerseys and shorts. Cheers to all and safe riding.

cannondalekid's picture

posted by cannondalekid [9 posts]
22nd December 2012 - 1:22


during the summer whilst slogging up a hill in Essex (they do exist) an informative chav with a Stella and a Staffie shouted "oi! i can see ya arse" I still keep the shorts in a draw just in case I need them one day. Plain Face

boffo's picture

posted by boffo [34 posts]
22nd December 2012 - 10:49


Old 3/4 polaris cut down to shorts to wear as second layer on turbo. Raleigh XXXL armwarmers which never sold, used as kneewarmers. A draw full of 70s acrylic and wool jerseys and shorts from my Breton foray I don't have the heart to throw out. I am a bike related hoarder I am afraid.

onward ever onward

bikecellar's picture

posted by bikecellar [264 posts]
22nd December 2012 - 18:29


Just moved house, and as part of the preperation and packing, I was made to justify why I was keeping certain items.

She stood over me as I pulled each item out of my designated cupboard (or Aladin's Cave as she calls it)and put a case for the defence of each and every item.

I successfully managed to keep everything using all sorts of lawyer type arguments and a couple of winners like "It'll be worth a fortune one day" or "I saw one on E-bay for 50 quid".

However, I lost the case for the (appx) 1991 SIDI team shorts when she snatched them out of my hand, held them up to the window and declared them virtually transparent, thus "pornographic". The axe fall when she also demonstrated that the padding had worn smooth, and the stitching was loose on one of the panels.

I tried to get them back off her for "Just one more ride", but she wouldn't have it. In the bin they went.

Ah well, nothing lasts for ever.

posted by Littlesox [89 posts]
26th December 2012 - 8:56