Fashion file

30 04 2011

I’ve never been a fan of bridges. Don’t much like driving over them, crossing them on foot, or especially riding them.

So much so, it took eight seasons for the Orbea to traverse most of the Lower Mainland bridges.

Friday, the Lapierre accomplished five in one ride. It was the inaugural Tour De Cinque Ponts.

With sun in the weather forecast, my buddy RDM took a vacation day to join me on my Friday ride. We didn’t set out to cross five bridges, it just turned out that way as our legs were feeling strong, and the cool temperatures kept us moving.

Halfway through Le Tour de Cinque Ponts

It was also the debut ride for my new Fizik Arione CX saddle, which finally arrived via eBay.

A new saddle is always a risky proposition; will it fit my butt? will it be comfortable? will I get it positioned right on the rails? But perhaps most importantly, will it stay clean?

You see, the new saddle is white.

Lapierre has a new Fizik

White probably isn’t the most practical color on a bike. White bar tape looks great for a ride or two, then it becomes progressively less white. White bikes need constant cleaning.

But white seems to have become the de rigeur color in the pro peloton. White bikes, white bar tape, white saddles, white shoes. Even – gulp – white shorts.

Of course the pro riders have mechanics to clean their bikes after every ride, and the teams can afford to rewrap the bars daily, maybe even swap out saddles. The white shoes may look flash, until it rains.

I blame Mario Cipollini.

In his day, the Lion King wasn’t just a superior sprinter, he was also a supreme stylist. Both off and on the bike. His flowing locks, masculine chin and bedazzling smile made him a favorite with the ladies, with which he reportedly heartily indulged. On the road, his panache and fashion flair ruffled more than just a few feathers of cycling’s old boys’ club, as he frequently favored his own custom skinsuits over officially-sanctioned team kits. He raced time trials in the Giro and Tour de France as a muscled man peeled of his skin, a tiger, a zebra, and even a heraldic depiction of his nickname. He was only too happy to pay the fines that resulted.

Mario Cipollini let it all hang out fashion-wise

The Lion King

It was shortly after the white and gold heraldic Lion King suit that I started noticing the prevalence of white in the peloton. Suddenly, it seemed, white was everywhere, defying practicality. Maybe it was just a coincidence. Cipo pushed the cycling fashion envelope, which seemed to open the floodgates to new looks and colors in cycling gear. For better or for worse.