Head down Beach Road on a Sunday morning and you’ll see them: riders decked out from head to toe in the colours of one of the UCI Pro Tour teams. It might be the black and blue of Team Sky, or the sky blue of Team Astana. Whoever it is, these guys don’t ride for these teams and likely never will.
They are part of the phenomenon that is some might say are unfairly known as “the full kit wanker”. These people are amateur cyclists heading out on the weekend for some fun and fitness. So, is there any harm in them dressing up like their heroes on the road? How is that any worse than going to a footy game wearing a tigers jumper?
I must admit that during my first stint of road cycling (2009-2011) I may have been partial to purchasing a team kit or two (or 10 or 11!). In my defence, I’ve long been a fan of jumpers and jersey designs in sport, so I found them very hard to resist.
The first kit I purchased was the 2009 Liquigas team kit, pictured below.
In fairness, I needed some new riding gear and I wasn’t really taken by any of the plain jerseys. There was just something about the bright colours and branding that appealed to me. I knew it was a bit “out there” and I certainly got some looks, particularly from non-cyclists, but I just really liked the kit and that’s all that mattered.
Although I continued to purchase the team kits, I wasn’t under any illusions as to the level of cyclist that I was. But it was sure fun to pretend I was Cadel Evans crushing it up a hill. One of my favourite kits I had was the royal blue and fluoro pink ensemble of Lampre.
Since getting back into cycling this year, I’ve steered away from team kits. I now consider them more of a guilty pleasure than a go-to purchase. Nowadays there are a lot of snazzy non-team kit designs out there, and these basic, block colour designs are more appealing to me now. We didn’t really have this variety back when I first took up cycling, so it’s nice to now have some options when kitting yourself out. Having said that, I don’t look down on people wearing pro-tour team kits. If that’s what makes you happy then go for it!
However, you might want to consider instead wearing the colours of your local cycling club or bike shop. This way you still get to wear a flash team kit, but you also put money back into grassroots cycling rather than some pharmaceutical company from Belgium, for instance.
One caveat: no amateur cyclist should ever wear the winners’ jerseys that are awarded to pro cyclists. The yellow jersey, the polkadot jersey, and the like are sacred and should only ever be worn by those who have earned them.
What’s your view on team kits? Do you wear them or do you prefer the plain gear? Let us know in the comments below.