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Cycling in Barcelona: The Costume
What not to wear!
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Cycling in Barcelona: The Costume
Cycling culture is extreme.
Gear is expensive.
Clothing is outlandish.
I’m not writing about biking here. The distinction between between biking and cycling is not subtle. While riding a bike you wear comfortable, normal clothing.
If you’re a hipster, you’re hip. But if you’re a true cyclist you wear kit. Complete, race-quality gear. Out on the road. And at the bar/coffee shop.
If you roll with roadies you know 'the rules'. Maybe they’re relative—to your strength, confidence and competence on a bicycle. Break them at your own risk. You will be judged.
You will be challenged.
Shave your legs.
Not a roadie? It is Halloween week, so here’s a chance to put on the 'costume'. Although doing it right could be cost prohibitive. And, you’ll have to fake the requisite tan lines.
So, in this sport where the dress-code is ridiculous, what’s stylish for autumn/winter 2014 in Barcelona? Unfortunately, in winter the logo-laden kits often get covered by generic layers, for thermal insulation and wind protection. Summer fashion choices are easy—club or team kit.
White is always cool, especially when it’s hot. But maybe black is the new white? Spain’s BH Bikes is still producing expensive bike frames in matte black for 2014. Black facilitates coordination of accessories—like gloves or booties—with the bike. But wearing all black is against the rules.
Fluroscent colours were popular this race season—they are great for visibility— and this trend continues. Check out the neons and pinks at the high-end clothing manufacturers such as Rapha, Assos or ExteOndo (Spanish), details below. Roll out wearing a neon yellow jacket. That takes strength of character, if not legs.
Luckily, Barcelona’s limited daily weather variability makes layering less of an issue. We can avoid sagging knee warmers, or the too-tight Michelin-man look, and just wear full-length tights or knickers on cold days. Whoever stops to take off leg-warmers? The furry linings of insulated tights feel awesome against cleanly shaven legs.
A gilet over a jersey and arm-warmers are a practical and versatile combination. Maybe opt for a pink gilet with white arm covering.
The Buff (from bufanda or scarf) is an under-utilised accessory, at least in North America. Buffs are brilliant for cutting the chill. The original Spanish design is versatile and stylish and with so many colours and patterns, there is lots of room for self-expression.
Kit or costume? If you’re racing cyclo-cross in Canadian, in the snow, these are defiinitely interchangeable? Superheroes? Yes. Parkas? No thanks. (see photo)
I’m so happy to be riding in BCN!
Various versions of The Rules:
BH Bikes have a concept store here in Barcelona:
Quality, stylish, and made in Spain: Etxeondo—http://www.etxeondo.com
The original; breathable, moisture wicking, wind-resistant and fun: Buff—http://ww.buffwear.com
Christina Smith is a designer, writer and athlete. Canadian by heritage; Mediterranean at heart. She completed post-graduate studies in both architecture and law, and is a self-educated expert in horticulture. She works as a freelance writer, legal and business researcher/consultant, and landscape, architectural, furniture & accessories designer. Her free time is spent nourishing her cycling addiction. Contact her here.