I’m running out of closet space. When I finally did a massive overhaul of the contents of my walk-in closet, I discovered that for the dozen or so skirts and dresses, there are nearly 40 bike jerseys, pairs of spandex shorts, and mountain bike baggies. Starting at 60 bucks a pop, it’s hard not to imagine the sandy beach my hibernating body could be defrosting on right now or the month closer to my retirement party I could be.
But looking at the looming stacks of spandex and zippers is like enjoying a photo album. Each jersey tells a story. My first jersey, emblazoned with the green Brooklyn Brewery label, came from my first bike show in NYC (“70 bucks for a jersey. That’s crazy!”). At the show, I mingled with shop owners and company reps, slid my fingers over all-carbon components, and talked to fellow riders as I was suddenly hooked on bike culture.
Jerseys tell everyone on the road or the trail of our loyalties. My Kona world champion cyclocross jersey is a brilliant splash of red, white, and blue. And I’ve come to collect three Magic Hat Brewery jerseys, all bearing their odd pastel designs, and causing whoever’s drafting me to crave their frosty brews. The few jerseys that are solid colors look so plain next to ones that announce an allegiance to a bike club, races, and coffee companies. Then there are jerseys, like one from a bike shop in Florence, that still bear the original tags. It was a unique find (and the dollar was extremely weak!), and no sweat or mud will ever touch it.
But do I really need a jersey for every day of the month? Hell yes! Every ride commands a unique wear. Dark colors are necessary for rainy, muddy days. Road rides demand tight jerseys, and then there’s sleeveless for the blood boiling summer days. The jersey is so simple, yet the perfect riding companion, complete with a zipper for the right amount of ventilation, and back pockets to hide quick snacks and a cell phone. To this rider, they are worth every penny.