Last year someone in our club bought a signed Mark Cavendish world champs jersey for over £2,000. The tiny little rainbow jersey is now framed on his wall. Even considering the number of jerseys star riders sign in their lifetime cycle jerseys are definitely gaining currency like never before with collectors.
Bill 'Bikeguy" Humphreys is an American who competed in the 1973 Tour of Ireland with the Raleigh US team and helped establish an early toe-hold in European cycling for American teams. Still sporting a rather impressive moustache, Bill has also been busy amassing his collection of cycle team jerseys. Lots and lots of jerseys...
In 2010 Bill was introduced to a European collector Henk Theuns by John Van Lerland - the author of a book on Henk's own prolific European jersey collection. Both jersey collections have now been lovingly combined in "The Jersey Project".
If you're a slaverer over tasty jerseys from a time when sponsors were singular and the jerseys all the better for it, you're in for a treat here. With a handy colour key code at the top left of each page you can run through Bill's US jerseys and on into collections for track, Classics, Grand Tours, Canada, South America, and the World Championships. There's a lovely photograph of Henk himself looking very like a slightly dazed Benny Hill in a large room completely lined with jerseys. It makes Sir Paul Smith's collection seem like a Sunday cyclist's wardrobe. No doubt Sir Paul sleeps with a copy of this book under his pillow and weeps with envy every night.
This is a collection of photographic thumbnails and accompanied by their team and rider names the jerseys take on all the nostalgia of long extinct butterflies resting in a drawer at the Natural History Museum. The austere, almost hand stitched lettered jerseys of the 1970's, through the gaudy monstrosities of the 1980's (when Lycra first allowed you to print flames and air brush swooshes) and on into the shouting sponsor patchwork of print of the new century. The most beautiful and some of the most startlingly ugly jerseys any sport has to offer. They're all here.
The accompanying information is well chosen and thorough and although The Jersey Project is not a comprehensive guide to all winners and jerseys (there never could be such a thing in book form) it's a timely and very useful reference book for cycle fans. There's plenty of information on classic designs and the riders who wore them and enough nerdy details to keep the cycle pub quiz teams busy for years. If you want to know your Stan Ockers from your Herman VanSpringel or just want to ogle beautiful jerseys then this is the book for you.
Beautiful ode to another era of cycling style.
road.cc test report
Make and model: The Jersey Project Bill Humphreys & Jerry Dunn
Size tested: 199 pages
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Nerds and appreciators of lovely cycle jerseys.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Hardback. great quality.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
About the tester
Age: 47 Height: Weight:
I usually ride: Dolan Prefissio - winter bike My best bike is: Condor Moda Ti - summer bike
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,