Clarkson on cycling

Discussion in 'Cycling Archive' started by Simon Mason, May 27, 2013.

  1. Simon Mason

    Simon Mason Guest

    Simon Mason, May 27, 2013
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  2. Simon Mason

    Owen Dunn Guest

    This has been a theme of his for a couple of years now: that cycling
    is actually rather lovely, but folk pratting about in lycra and foam
    hats make it look like something normal people wouldn't do.

    Owen Dunn, May 27, 2013
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  3. Simon Mason

    Jolly polly Guest

    Lycra's not for everybody, but it is by far the most comfortable way to
    ride. Have you tried it

    This part gave me a giggle...

    "I've started the ball rolling by buying a bike," he admits. "And when I
    ride it I have a sign on the back of my jacket that says, 'Motorists. Thank
    you for letting me use your roads."
    Jolly polly, May 27, 2013
  4. Simon Mason

    Owen Dunn Guest

    I haven't, and I was vaguely considering starting a thread here on why
    one might wear it. What benefits does it bring?

    (Personally I am very self-conscious and do not think I am a good
    enough cyclist to merit using specialised clothes which mark me out
    from the crowd. I also suspect that like most of the population, I
    would look dreadful in it.)

    Owen Dunn, May 27, 2013
  5. Simon Mason

    Clive George Guest

    For me, comfort.

    A side one is that separating the clothes I lounge around in from the
    clothes I get hot and sweaty in means life is overall less stinky. So
    I'll be changing for riding a bike any distance anyway.
    I've got the legs for it :) I've also worn it for riding since I was a
    teenager. I'm probably less self-conscious than you though - as far as
    I'm concerned, the crowd can go bugger itself, I'm going to choose
    what's right for me. I'm not an exhibitionist, the opposite to you,
    where one deliberately does stuff to stand out. I merely choose what's
    practical and works for me.
    Clive George, May 27, 2013
  6. Simon Mason

    Peter Clinch Guest

    I have, and it's actually fairly irrelevant to comfort if you're Doing
    Comfort Properly, because then you have a recumbent and there's no
    saddle to chafe against... ;-)

    But while I do put on lycra shorts for moderate distance (say, 15+
    miles) on my uprights the comfort enhancement is well under the faff
    increase in importance for the great majority of rides I do, so I rarely

    Jezza does actually have the kernel of a point in there: while cycling
    is not "normal" it will remain the province of enthusiasts, and if folk
    think they have to dress up specially just for /travelling/ to work (or
    the shops, or wherever) and have a shower when they get there that's
    part of the message saying This Is Not For You to a great many people.
    That's part of the reason why I stopped dressing up like a Power Ranger,
    though a lot more of it was riding round Amsterdam and realising in my
    heart as well as my head that actually there wasn't any need or much to
    gain by doing so.

    Peter Clinch, May 27, 2013
  7. Simon Mason

    Clive George Guest

    I'm an enthusiast, and while the gain I get from stuff related to the
    dressing up isn't necessary, it's still there.

    I don't travel by bike just to get there, I enjoy the ride too. Part of
    that enjoyment involves putting in more effort than necessary to merely
    get there - going quicker than pottering pace does involve effort,
    effort involves heat and sweat, and lots of that means dressing up and
    having a shower is probably sensible.

    I don't think people should be like me, but I also don't think I
    shouldn't be like me - giving that up just because it's not necessary
    would be crap. I'm not going to change that just to send a message to
    the masses.
    Clive George, May 27, 2013
  8. Simon Mason

    nmm1 Guest

    I have never had significant trouble with ordinary clothing (either
    cotton briefs and casual trousers or cotton shorts of the sort that
    we wore in the Empah), but I ride fully upright.

    As I hate tight clothing and synthetics, especially when hot or
    exercising, I rather doubt that I would like lycra ....

    Nick Maclaren.
    nmm1, May 27, 2013
  9. Simon Mason

    Paul Luton Guest

    The point about the stretchiness of lycra is that it doesn't feel tight.
    Next best thing to nothing !

    Paul Luton, May 27, 2013
  10. having a short commute I don't bother with lycra unless i'm going
    somewhere before or after work, that warrents it, say 50 miles to
    boxhill say.

    But yes Clarkson point about cycling doesn't have to be about lycra
    devients as some might say, but normal folks riding in the park/to work

    Roger Merriman, May 27, 2013
  11. In uk.rec.cycling.moderated on Mon, 27 May 2013 13:39:07 +0100
    well... comfortable clothing with enough looseness or give to enable
    leg movement, and seams that don't dig in are good to ride in.

    I haven't found lycra by far the most comfortable, although it is one
    of the best solutions.

    I have a set of loose shorts designed for MTB that work perfectly well
    for my cycling needs and have pockets. FOr me, pockets make them by
    far the best clothing for the job.

    Zebee Johnstone, May 27, 2013
  12. In uk.rec.cycling.moderated on Mon, 27 May 2013 17:21:28 +0100
    Lycra being stretchy doesn't feet tight.

    In the winter on the 'bent I wear woolen leggings, so like lycra but a
    lot less synthetic. I do notice the difference in the feel and the
    sweatiness although summer weight lycra shorts are thin enough that
    they don't seem as nasty as winter weight leggings do.

    As my Brom riding is all utility/transport and I don't do more than
    10km at a time on it, I ride it in normal clothes appropriate for the

    Zebee Johnstone, May 27, 2013

  13. Clarkson used to cycle regularly years ago, as an impecunious
    journalist writing for "Car" magazine, while living in Parson's
    Green. The reason he gave for giving up was that he had just too
    many close shaves while cycling home from the pub.

    Clarkson sees whichever light which will provide him with the
    most column inches and put the most bread on the table.
    i.e. about 500 X as much as Tiff Needham.

    michael adams

    michael adams, May 28, 2013
  14. Simon Mason

    Mark Goodge Guest

    I think there's another valid point there, too, which is that a preference
    for having "all the right kit" tends to be indicative of doing something
    for fun rather than necessity. I was at an event the other day where myself
    and the local vicar were part of an arranged photoshoot (it was the
    re-opening of a church after refurbishment), and both of us had turned up
    with our own cameras which were better than the one carried by the press
    photographer. But, as the photographer said to us, "I only have what I
    need. You spend money on things you don't need because you enoy it". At
    least he had a proper camera. The same week, a different local paper
    carried a photo of me that was taken by the reporter on her iPhone.

    Equally, where I work we have a significant number of staff who cycle to
    work. But none of them wear anything other than normal clothes to do so
    except for, in some cases, a hi-vis vest over their coat. The lycra-clad,
    helmetted cyclists that I see are almost exclusively to be spotted out on
    the roads on days like the ones we've had over the weekend, often in
    groups. In these cases, it's clear that they are engaged in a leisure

    Now, there's nothing wrong with cycling as a leisure activity, of course,
    and it's probably a healthier pursuit than many others. But there's no
    obvious reason why cycling, as a leisure pursuit, has any greater claim to
    government promotion than, say, photography or classic car restoration. As
    long as cycling is perceived as something that people do mostly for their
    own enjoyment, then it's hard to justify giving cyclists any particular
    privileges over other road users and even harder to justify spending
    significant amounts of taxpayers' money on them.

    It is, though, the lycra-clad sector of the cycling fraternity that seems
    to be the most vocal. As a local politician, I've found that they're the
    ones who make the effort to ensure we hear their point of view. They also
    tend to be relatively well-off, middle class and don't have a lot in common
    with the warehouse staff who bike to work every day, often on cheap or
    second-hand bikes that the purists would dismiss as BSOs. But it's the
    latter group that are the ones who really matter. And Jeremy Clarkson is
    right: we need more people in everyday clothes doing everyday things, like
    travelling to work and going shopping, but simply choosing to use a bicycle
    as their mode of transport rather than a car.

    Mark Goodge, May 28, 2013
  15. I am very much inclined to agree -- to me this is part of the same
    argument as the case against helmet compulsion, in that if people
    think of it as an Activity That Needs Special Gear it'll go down
    people's priority lists as an alternative to other sorts of transport.

    I don't _mind_ the high-speed racers or the bounce-down-a-mountain
    lads, but I think they have as much to do with cycling for transport
    as Formula One has to do with normal driving. When a supposedly
    favourable presentation of cycling (e.g. in a bike shop) is all about
    the sport, I think it puts off people who (having grown up a bit) know
    perfectly well that they aren't going to be sportsmen but quite fancy
    a better mode of transport than the ones they currently use. It
    certainly put me off for many years.
    Roger Bell_West, May 28, 2013
  16. Simon Mason

    Peter Clinch Guest

    Being thin and stretchy it moves with the wearer and tends to chafe less
    than most alterantives. The further and faster you go the more that's
    an asset. If you're not going far/fast enough it's more of a moot
    point. But if you've ever found your undercarriage a bit on the sore
    side at the end of a ride it's well worth checking out. Baggies take
    the same padding, add aerodynamic drag and a load of unnecessary fabric
    for little more than the look of the thing.
    As with the case with Speedos and Tracksters, there is a widespread
    perception that they look awful on most people but in practice as long
    as you don't have a pretty prominent beer-belly there aren't actually
    that many people that don't look fine in them.

    Peter Clinch, May 28, 2013
  17. Simon Mason

    Peter Clinch Guest

    Fairy nuff, though as a sometime cycle trainer it's part of my job to
    send a message to the masses. The current class of (until recently)
    non-riders seem fairly happy that their instructors are dressed
    something like Normal People so they don't feel under pressure to wear
    anything out of the ordinary themselves.

    And if I do get in a hurry in my normal clothes, they're the sort of
    "normal" that are actually pretty high performance, even if they don't
    look the part. Cruising past a mashing roadie going uphill spinning it
    on the Moulton (again, not a book to be judged by its cover) in everyday
    clothes, a touch of the cap brim while they look at you in a "but, but
    /HOW/?" frame of expression, is deeply satisfying on the occasions I
    manage it. I'll probably be wanting a shower after that, but it's good
    to have it as an option rather than a requirement.

    Peter Clinch, May 28, 2013
  18. Simon Mason

    Andy Morris Guest

    I've got the legs, but unfortunately not the emaciated belly, but I
    don't care.

    Mainly I wear lycra because I'm temperamentally incapable of riding slow
    enough not to sweat like a pig, so I shower and change when I get to
    work and keep my civies separate from riding kit. Lycra washes and dries
    Andy Morris, May 28, 2013
  19. Simon Mason

    thirty-six Guest

    They have cycle clothing available in different sizings. It's good
    not to wear tight clothes as it restricts circulation, and so cycle
    specific clothing is produced without such constrictions. Lycra
    enables a closer fit for more body shapes without being constricting
    and as I have said elsewhere, it is as well to get a size that may be
    slightly loose in one area, rather than be slightly tight all over.
    An oddity I do remember is cycling shorts with a tie waist, just
    before bib-shorts became popular. I had no problems with regular
    racing shorts and clip-on braces and that has offered me the best fit
    If you bother to try (I know you wont) you will find that different
    manufacturers offer different fits.
    thirty-six, May 28, 2013
  20. Simon Mason

    thirty-six Guest

    My favourite was a ribbed jersey of100% acrylic. An early sign of
    illness was that I was at times feeling the chilly air with those
    tights and was unable to ride it off. If you are healthy, that is all
    you need and there is no weightiness and neither do they ever feel
    damp, just need to pair them up with 100% wool socks of whatever is
    your preferred length.
    thirty-six, May 28, 2013
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