cycling kit

Kit Conundrums (part 3)

The White Stuff

In my experience, white kit looks fantastic right up until you start using it for it’s primary purpose – from which point onwards it looks off-white, and permanently a bit mucky. If you wear white kit you will spend more time trying to get that clean than your beloved bike. In fact, you’ll spend more time cleaning your kit than doing anything else – sleeping or working, for example.

I have a lovely pair of white shoes. When they were box-fresh they looked a bit shiny – you might even say garish – and I thought ‘when these are worn in they’ll look great’….but now they just look mucky. I miss my garish shoes. As I ride I can’t help glancing down, the shoes catching my eye at the top of each pedal stroke….looking mucky. I’ve been known to risk life and limb on a descent to reach down and wipe away a smudge of grime with the thumb of my mitt. This muck then gets transferred to my nose when I wipe it – which basically says I would rather have clean shoes than a clean face. After all….the shoes cost more than the face.

Pristine White...for how long?
Pristine White…for how long?

I also have a lovely white waterproof jacket. It’s a great jacket; fully waterproof, breathable, race fit. When I shelled out £100+ on it I thought ‘I’d better get a colour that will go with anything’. I was thinking ahead, you see, making sure the jacket will be good for a few years. I’m not a fan of black, especially for dark, gloomy, wet weather riding, so white it is….or at least it was….it now has an arc of brown/grey sprayed up the back and collecting under the breathable seams.

I’ve suddenly taken an interest in the various cycles on the washing machine in an attempt to decode which of the hieroglyphics is suitable for very hi-tech white material – I will undoubtedly cave in to the hot wash at some point, shrink the jacket, and destroy the waterproofing. Then I’ll just go and buy the red one like I should have done in the first place.

Toe Covers Anyone?

I used to think that arm-warmers and knee-warmers were unnecessary and, frankly, poncey pieces of kit. Now I can’t live without them. For that reason I refuse to even consider the merits or otherwise of toe covers. The logical progression from there is heel covers (don’t worry, I just googled it and nothing came up….but it’s only a matter of time). I’m just not getting into that.


For some time now I’ve quite fancied a pair of those Oakley Jawbone glasses (this is typical of me, I procrastinate so long that by the time I actually buy some fancy kit it is very much last years model).

Oakley Jawbone - lying abandoned at a cafe near you
Oakley Jawbone – lying abandoned at a cafe near you

The reason I won’t buy them? When I stop for a mid-ride espresso and flap-jack there is a 33.3% chance that I will leave my glasses right there on the table. By the time I notice I will be so far up the next climb that I would rather just spend £25 on another mediocre pair, than turn back on the off-chance that some magpie hasn’t swiped them.

So come on Oakley, if you’re listening, maybe it’s about time you started matching all those high street deals and started offering a second pair free. That way, I can probably afford to leave the odd pair behind from time to time. Alternatively, you could just make them a bit cheaper….?

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