I tried watching the 2016 Tour de France but lost interest after the first week. I miss the panache and personal style of cyclists from the past. Now, I can barely distinguish one game piece from the next (logos, lego shaped helmets and mirrored shades drown out the personalities of the individual riders. I much prefer the era of leather hairnets, wool jerseys, lace up cycling shoes, Campagnolo parts, and steel bike frames with pinstripe detailing around the lugs or chrome forks and seat stays. In lieu of a $29 streaming media packaging, I’m now browsing through vintage European matchstick covers from my favorite print ephemera archivist, Pillpat. Head over to her vintage matchbox and matchboxes set on flickr to pick the riders for your own personal peloton.
Occasionally, an eBay watchlist returns a pleasant ping like these original Hebden Cord Touring Shorts. Alas, they are sized too large for me but I still want to document for my archives. In a few years, all memories of elegant, tailored, non-technical cycling garb will most likely disappear from our collective memory. Here is a little evidence to the contrary:
If you have ever browsed our grid of bags you might be overwhelmed by the range of available styles – from Rucksacks to Rolltops to Flap Musettes, etc. Most folks identify Archival with our original Archival Rucksack or Archival Rolltop. While both bags are terrific carryalls, I am starting to direct customers to our recently released Archival Rolltop Messenger. Intended as a sizable daily workhorse, our Roll Top Messenger takes design cues from our Roll Top and technical cycling bags, but is executed in our top-grade range of natural materials. This is an ideal bag for the cyclist, motorcyclist, fisherman, or anyone else who needs a burly shoulder bag that’s extremely weather-resistant. It’s also the perfect bag for students contemplating a satchel for campus carry.
In the last ten years, wool cycling jerseys have become widely available in a variety styles from classic retro reissues to microlight, itch free performance merinos. I prefer my cycling jerseys to be made from a thick wool and resemble designs which date back to the 1920s (interchangeable with shirts designed for camping, tennis or golf). Something like this:
As a female cyclist, however, it is still semi challenging to source a quality jersey that is not simply a unisex version of a gent’s model. Ibex, for example, makes nice, lightweight wool cycling jerseys but succumb to the idea that women want cap sleeves and contrasting color panels (often in pastels or apple greens). I’m currently field testing the new Standard Cycling Jersey by Cedar Cycling. A version for gents is also available. This made in California jersey was designed and patterned with the input of a number of local cyclists.
I’ve been testing out the Cedar Cycling jersey on early season randonneuring events (aka “brevets”). The three features that I like most are the the full length zipper, reinforced pocketing and bright red color. Unlike most jerseys, the wool-nylon blend fabric is on the thick side making it fine for cold weather use when paired with wool arm warmers and a wind vest. I can also imagine wearing this jersey in the heat of August thanks to the extra wicking power and breathability of the fabric.
On the flip side, while I like how wool nylon blend provides extra durability and helps the garment keep its shape, and wicks moisture, I would like to see the wool content increased in this jersey. On longer, rainy rides (on Saturday I was riding a 300k) the jersey started to feel a little clammy against my skin after 8 hours in the saddle. By comparison, even when wet, 100% wool jerseys keep me warm.
This jersey has some of the best pocketing I’ve ever seen on a jersey for women. All the pockets are double stitched and reinforced. And unlike most jerseys for women, this one comes with three rather than two slots. On my all other jerseys, pockets are the first thing to fail. I don’t think that will be happening with the Cedar Cycling jersey.
Now, I just need Cedar Cycling to final a local source for chainstitched lettering so I can add the Oregon Randonneurs logo to the front of my jersey.
If you’re a cyclist you’re going to wish you could mail order from this vintage, Alex catalog for “ideal cycling wear.” Check out the fancy, shawl collar pullovers, pure new wool scarves, Lacoste collar shirts and doeskin gloves. Was 1939 the last year you could buy stylish, non technical cycling garb that still resembled everyday clothing? Thanks to my flickr pal Hudsonic for sourcing and scanning the original Alex catalog in the UK.
Thanks to my Hedbden Cord hunting pal, Hudsonic, for spotting this Greenspotventile jacket on UK ebay. I’ve been searching for an original version of the Bertram Dudley & Son ventile cycling jacket for ages. For daily use or for cyclo-commuting, I cannot imagine a better design (raglan sleeves, loop pull zipper, functional pocketing). Modern updates to this style by Hilltrek have eliminated the spread collar, but I like this historic feature because it adds a touch of dress elegance to the jacket. Alas, even with the short cut and side cinches, I’m not sure the size 38 would fit me. At (capsule), I saw a nice Ventile jacket by the folks at North Sea Clothing which may be my next jacket acquisition.
Flickr pal Hudsonic sent me these snaps of some deadstock Hebden Cord cycling shorts. Later, I traded him a trail cap for the shorts themselves. Longtime blog readers know that Hebden Cord is one of my favorite, defunct UK brands. The company went out of business over a decade ago – on the same day I filled out my order form for a custom loden cloth anorak. I’m still holding out hope that another cycling specific clothing company will bring back this style of dressy yet heavy duty cycling shorts.
Intended as a sizable daily workhorse, our Roll Top Messenger takes design cues from our Roll Top and technical cycling bags, but is executed in our top-grade range of natural materials. Features pockets inside and out, a stout leather closure strap, solid brass hardware, and web-reinforced top hem for easy rolling. This is an ideal bag for the cyclist, motorcyclist, fisherman, or anyone else who needs a burly shoulder bag that’s extremely weather-resistant.
I dream of a sports channel that broadcasts sporting events from the past. While I’m aloof to the running of the 100th edition of the Tour de France, I’d love to watch 50 year old coverage of the race. While I cannot provide you with live footage of the 1963 tour, here is some print ephemera and vintage figurines (via the Spoke Sniffer archives) for restaging your own race. If you prefer moving images, I recommend you watch the greatest cycling film ever made: Louis Mallee’s short documentary, Vive Le Tour (1962).