last friday, as i was about to commence the working day, i was overcome by the pressing need for a peanut butter sandwich. none of your namby pamby smooth peanut butter you understand; real men only eat crunchy. in order to avoid both the friday rush in our local averagemarket and the thought that by lunchtime i might well have forgotten, i popped down main street to acquire the necessary ingredients.
as a minor aside prior to my continuing the original thread, why has it been found necessary to add sugar to peanut butter, particularly in the light that most brands already contain a detectable amount of also unnecessary (in my opinion) salt? surely one counteracts the other? and in so doing, ruin a perfectly good jar of peanut butter.
at any rate, on entering the shopping facility, i made note of a gentleman by the door, standing adjacent to a display promoting 'guide dogs for the blind'. assuming he was collecting on behalf of the charity and at that point having no loose change that would even cover the cost of a collar, i made good my shopping purchases, then headed in his direction, newly acquired loose change in hand.
it turns out, however, that i was slightly mistaken. the gentleman had no desire to relieve me of my jingly coins, but to entice me into signing a direct debit that might aid the training of a cute little labrador puppy, the cost of which would bring tears to your eyes. i am nothing if not occasionally charitable, so i readily succumbed to his ministrations, having agreed to provide a small monthly amount to eventually benefit a member of society who will probably never have the joy of riding a bike.
in this particular instance, the phrase a puppy isn't just for christmas' rings particularly true. and at the risk of seeming contradictorily superficial, it's an epithet that might just as easily apply to certain cycle jerseys.
the days of acquiring a cycle jersey for the sole purpose of pragmatism in the sunday morning peloton are seemingly behind us. ordering a shade of polyester that might fit well with your athletic considerations may well have been in vogue during yesteryear, but the modern day cycle jersey, always keen to carve out a life of its very own, may well have more historical or celebratory pretensions, a factor that could conceivably raise its position in the pecking order, either by way of fabric, design or most often, both.
this, the second in rapha's recently released rivals series, pays tribute to fausto coppi and his great adversary, the pious gino bartali, the two having fought long and hard against one another, even if it meant letting a third party take victory from their very toeclips. fashioned from 100% merino wool, this particular pastel coloured jersey, eschews the more usual zipped neck and collar in favour of three buttons and a collar more usually found on the modern-day polo-shirt.
its impracticality for many modes of riding can be plainly seen in the two buttoned chest pockets, neither of which is overly capacious and neither of which seemed keen to play host to a stowaway waterproof jacket and a mini pump. thus, assuming the mavic skoda to have the weekend off, you'll either have need of a frame-fit pump, a small rucksack or charge at the peloton on your touring bike with panniers. personally, i sidestepped the problem altogether by wearing a gilet provided with its very own rear pockets.
but, as my mother was often wont to proclaim "pride bears no pain"; if you have either coppi or bartali pretensions, quite honestly, who gives a fig if you have to put the price of a cup of coffee and a gluten-free, belgian chocolate brownie on the slate for once? and if a puncture strikes, you can walk, can't you?
impracticality aside, this is a beautiful jersey, not only to admire, but to wear. for no particular reason, folding my arms while sat staring into space elicited a feeling of velocipedinal superiority, none of which was related to athletic prowess. with no 'story label concealed about its person, the jersey arrives with its own unique story card, one side of which bears a small, matching coloured ice-cream cone, making manifest the gelato wording featured on the back as well as on the underside of the complementary casquette.
both are marked by their neapolitan colouring and distinctively italian influenced typography, the latter factor, in my estimation, every bit as important as the length of the jersey sleeves. the three button-holes on the jersey front have a strong cotton reinforcing strip along the back to maintain their composure in the face of such fine merino wool. each sleeve bears embroidered, flock-style lettering paying tribute to both riders (il pio and l'airone). neither might mean a lot to the young lady behind the counter at costa, but that's no less reason to appear smug when ordering a cappuccino with a faux italian accent.
though i figure it's perfectly acceptable to purchase the cap as a solo item, it behoves you well to acquire both if it's the jersey you're after. though rapha have not specifically earmarked this as a limited edition, i would be a tad surprised if there were containers full sitting in the forecourt at imperial works. while the jersey is every bit as comfortable and well-fitting as all other garments in the rapha range and ought to be worn with pride, there's also no doubt that it is also worth appreciating as a collector's item.
with the giro commencing this weekend, surely that's all the excuse you'd need to avail yourself of such characterful luxury?
the rapha gelato tricolore rivals jersey is available in sizes xs to xxl at a price of £130. the matching water resistant cotton cap is an additional £25.
wednesday 4 may 2016..........................................................................................................................................................................................................