Something About New Kit...

There is something about that first ride in new team kit. It is something more than the odd, questioning looks, the comments about taking oddly angled photos of oneself, while attempting to keep upright. Keeping upright in order to not scuff up, rip, or otherwise damage the awe-inspiring brilliance of new kit. The brilliance of unfaded, sweat-free color; seams in place, and all in order. Of course everyone around is envious, and why would they not be? Notice anything new? That's right, new kit on the road. Look out. Make way. Coming through.

A bike may be a more welcome addition, but new ones come around infrequently. New team kit, on the other hand, we can expect each year. For good, or bad. Once the order has gone in, we settle in to await the arrival of our new kit. We hope it will arrive before the first race, the first big group ride, but knowing that, invariably, it never does. Grudgingly we put on last years kit - the suddenly old kit. Even though it was perfectly fine to be seen in just last week, it has suddenly become unacceptable. This is a period of time, in between old and new, a sort of perdition during which we may even bring really old stuff out of the cedar chest - jerseys from years gone by. And so we make do, waiting for that email telling us the new kit has arrived. Come and get it. And we do go, as soon as word has been received.

Cycling, like any sport or similar activity, is at least in part about being seen. Watch any professional race and, at some point, you are bound to hear a commentator mention sponsor exposure. A rider will blast away from the front of the group, a move doomed to failure from its very inception. This attack, none-the-less, separates the lone rider from the mass of swirling others, and for the moment he becomes the focus of all eyes, all cameras. Maximum exposure time. The occasion of new kit is kind of the same; it becomes an excuse to get out and do that distant group ride we haven't done in a while, ride with some friends we have not seen in a while. New kit may not be the best excuse to get out and ride, but if is serves that purpose, so much the better.