like most of you, i'd describe myself as a bike rider or a cyclist. that seems a basically descriptive admission that offers nothing in the way of pretension but more or less everything by way of information. granted, it gives not a clue as to how good or bad a cyclist i am, but i prefer to think that is something for others to judge. after all one's ability on the bicycle is surely a subjective matter. overstatement at this point would surely smack of egotism?
however, i do allow myself a wry smile when a directeur sportif alludes to the athletes under his direction. it's not that i don't agree with the description, but my sheltered upbringing had me regard only those who ran 100 metres in mere seconds as athletes, or the chaps with the javelins, shot putt or even the long jump. because they participate in what the tv refers to as athletics. cyclists ride cycle races, or at least some of them do, though i don't include myself in this particular subset of the venn diagram.
however, the epithets athlete or athletic have positive connotations associated with them. if i were to walk into debbie's on a saturday lunchtime and folks murmured such words under their breath, i would feel a comforting need to smile silently to myself. therefore, when several rather attractively designed pairs of socks accompany a castelli custom cubiste cycle jersey and matching casquette all the way from portland oregon, obliquely emblazoned with the athletic logo, the subsequent wearing has already acquired a positive ethic before the outcome is decided.
(incidentally, uk castelli distributors, saddleback are now able to accept custom orders for castelli servizio course kit, about which more soon.)
the iconically named the athletic, whose encouraging motto is 'can't stop, won't stop.', consists of renowned french cyclocross rider, julie krasniak, husband jeremy dunn (who you may recall from the rapha continental), zach rotstein and alexis ho. a fine balance between male and female influence on the product line. on the basis of my received selection of socks, this may well be their secret weapon.
i confess that up until a deftly positioned question to one of jeremy dunn's former work colleagues provided appropriate enlightenment, i had thought the athletic to be solely the blog of mr dunn. i had no idea there was commercial enterprise attached. and while we're discussing said blog (which lives under the journal heading on the athletic website), i read that dan chabanov, rider with the richard sachs cyclocross team, will provide a weekly does of eastern usa cyclocross action. if ever you needed an excuse...
the retail section of the athletic emporium initially consisted predominantly of socks, with the occasional t-shirt included for good measure. however, more recently these have been augmented with the aforementioned castelli produced, athletic decorated cycle jerseys, available in hot pink (as reviewed) or blue. the former consists of a collection; jersey, casquette and matching socks. castelli's reputation for cycle garb of any hue or description is well nigh impeccable, and the la cubiste jersey does nothing but reinforce this apprehension. featuring a full-length zip, three capacious rear pockets and a beautifully idiosyncratic graphic, after the first wearing, i hand-washed it that selfsame evening and hung it out to dry in order that i might wear it once more the following morning.
generally speaking, socks are socks. they do what they do, and the majority do so to the best of their ability. at the risk of coming across as just a tad pretentious, the athletic's socks are quite different, and not only because the majority are not a perfect match. in this i do not mean the sizes are different, but that the patterns are complementary. thus, if i may take the la cubiste pair as my example, the bits on one that are pink, on the other are beige. and vice versa. and they look very much the better for it.
as if that were insufficient to welcome them to your credit card, one pair i received bore embroidered eccentrically conceived slogans that ought to provide suitable motivation for the impending ride. congratulatory phrases such as smooth move and get juiced appear on the cuppow oh wow socks, built in conjunction with cuppow, an american company who provide 'everyday products that help us live low-impact lives.'
having counted over forty different pairs of socks on the athletic website it seems that not only can they not stop, won't stop, they've covered pretty much every foot-based base. where else in this velocipedinal world is it possible to buy a set of three socks? everything, including the cotton casquette are of impeccable quality, adding more than just a subtle frisson to the sunday ride.
or any other day of the week, for that matter. pdx might still be very much where it's at.
tuesday 25 august 2015..........................................................................................................................................................................................................