How to choose your jersey
Given that your kit will play a crucial role in first impressions to other riders, it is important to project the right image. The first rule of jersey selection is to dress for the occasion, and choosing an appropriate jersey/bike combination is critical. For example, if you are riding a flat bar bike, a plain jersey/knicks combination is a practical yet stylish look. Plain kit is also appropriate for pro cyclists wishing to ride ‘under the radar’ out of season. Black is the preferred colour for those who ride under the radar because they are doped to the eyeballs.
Jerseys that you have earned may be worn anytime. This includes Around The Bay in a Day, Amy Gillet Ride and Degani Kinglake Challenge jerseys. Wear them with pride and use them to start snappy conversations with other cute single riders. This also applies to world and national champion jerseys, although you are unlikely to need to use them to find hot cuties as you probably have one already.
If you are riding quite quickly, you may upgrade to a club or shop kit, preferably in return for that shop giving you some love. Naturally, if you ride like a tool you should wear a RadioShack jersey. However, please note that there is nothing quite so stylish as a fast cyclist in a plain jersey.
Singlespeed riders should at all times observe Bylaw 3.5.2(a)(ii) of the Inner Melbourne Singlespeed Regulations, which states that every bottom atop a Brooks saddle must be clad in tweed print shorts.
Fluoro jerseys and jackets are to be used for commuting only. Under no circumstances should fluoro be taken out on a bunch ride unless it is for practical joke purposes or you believe it will keep you alive. (Before you get upset, safety conscious readers, please let me emphasise that Lisa’s Mum firmly believes that a good fluoro commuting jacket is worth its weight in gold. Just not when you’re not commuting.)
A good rule of thumb is to ensure that the ratio of $ spent on kit vs $ spent on your bike remains approximately 1:10.
Trade team jerseys
Lisa’s Mum loves trade team jerseys but only on trade team riders. She once tried to wear a CSC trade team jersey but it was for a fancy dress party back in 2007 when Basso had just been busted and in the end it fell through because she couldn't organise a matching blood transfusion bag.*
As another rule of thumb, the better the trade team is, the more reasons there are that you should not be wearing their kit. If you must wear it (i.e. if you have been given it for a present by a well-meaning yet unschooled relative), please at least make sure the jerseys and knicks are from the same team. It goes without saying, however, that if you are extremely good at riding and can beat anyone over any distance, on any terrain, then you can wear what you like. Best combined with hairy legs, this really stirs up aspiring Euro pros. Other situations where wearing a trade team kit is acceptable are:
- you are on the trade team
- you own the trade team
- your friend is on the trade team and gave you the jersey
- you're an alcoholic Belgian cyclo-cross fan with a string of failed marriages and a penchant for pommes frites (in which case, bad lycra fashion is the least of your problems).
Under no circumstances should the following trade team jerseys be worn: Mapei, Jelly Belly, Aqua Sappone's zebra edition, Carrera's stretch denim kit circa 1990, Cipo's skeleton suit...and come to think of it, most of Cipo's other suits, too. Each was an aberration and everyone just wants to forget them.
James, I hope this answers your question. If other readers have additional pearls of wisdom to share, Lisa's Mum would happily add them to her PhD thesis (appropriately referenced, of course).
*This may have actually been me, not Lisa’s Mum.