Out Of The Loop

I no longer make any attempt to keep up with anything or anybody, literally or figuratively, on or off the bike. This is mostly by choice, though even if I wanted to I couldn’t. For example, this is what I see now when I check Bike Twitter:

Basically, half of them have blocked me, and I’ve muted the other half, so the upshot is I’m totally out of the loop–which at this point in my life is precisely where I’m happiest. In fact, I’m so out of the loop that I had no idea cyclists now dress like lab techs or old-timey dentists:

When I first saw this I figured it must be from Rapha’s new “Young Frankenstein” collection:

But I guess it’s “trailwear:”

And the idea that Rapha now does mountain bike clothes is something I’m still processing, since I’ll forever associate them with this:

.Forever and ever.

Anyway, being out of it, I have no idea if Doctor Dirt is a well-known cyclist, a clothing model, or just some guy who wandered into the studio looking for the bathroom. However, I don’t feel like he’s really trying here, and that bothers me. His posture’s bad, he needs a haircut, and overall he’s got the demeanor of a teenager waiting for you to finish whatever you’re saying so he can roll his eyes, turn around, and leave:

This is not what I expect from a clothing company that used to be synonymous with self-flagellation and sensual torture and that singlehandedly turned road cycling into an act of onanism:

When you looked at a Rapha photo in those days you never knew what was happening out-of-frame. Were they grabbing for a water bottle bidon? Futzing with their cycle computers? Rubbing one out? It could have been any one of those things, and I’m pretty sure that was the point:

Anyway, I wondered if this new lackadaisical attitude was merely specific to the trailwear or if it had infected the entire brand. (Rapha can’t afford to scare off Gen Z with all that hyper-masculinity.) So I checked out the roadie clothes, and I was relieved to see they’re at least still taking things seriously–maybe even a little too seriously if this guy is any indication:

Though not quite as seriously as the models over at their competitor, MAAP:

This guy has the intense focus and rigid posture of someone ski jumping or guarding Buckingham Palace or trying to do math in his head without counting on his fingers. By the way, being out of it I’ve only recently noticed that roadies have taken to wearing skinsuits at all times, not just for special events. I even see people riding in skinsuits on weekday mornings for their “training” rides, which is just weird. A group of road cyclists always looked like they were on their way to fertilize an egg, but between that and the smooth helmets and the bulbous modular plastic bikes they look more spermlike than ever before:

It’s not all intense focus over at MAAP, though. This guy just looks depressed and deflated, like his computer didn’t synch properly and he just lost all his ride data:

There’s no greater shame for a roadie than having to upload a manual entry to Strava.

All this does raise an important question though, which is why are cycling clothing models standing at all, let alone ramrod straight?

You don’t stand when you’re riding a road bike. In fact, if you’re the type of person who buys clothes from MAAP you don’t ever raise your torso past a 90-degree angle. So how is it helpful to know what the bib shorts look like in a standing position? See, that’s where Assos had it right:

When cyclists crash they typically get road rash, but Assos Guy was so unctuous he’d simply slide along the asphalt like a curling stone:

Pas Normal Studios also features models in a riding position, though by adding the bike and subtracting the body oil they manage to remove a lot of disturbing ambiguity while still maintaining an impressively high douche factor:

Cycling jerseys seem to be short these days, but Pas Normal Studios are basically selling crop tops:

There are club cut jerseys and there are race cut jerseys, but this one is so short it looks like it was cut for a different sort of club.

As I say above, being out of it I have no idea if these people are riders or models. They could all be famous pros for all I know. In this case though it’s pretty clear this guy rides because he’s got some impressive helmet strap tan lines:

When it comes to riding road bikes it seems like there are two kinds of people: the ones who buy boutique clothing from companies with words like “studio” in the name, and everyone else–and these days “everyone else” seems to be wearing Sponeed:

As far as I can tell, Sponeed are the Amazon Basics of cycling clothing, and if nothing else their models are a lot more relatable:

I mean he’s no Time-Traveling Retro-Fred from the Planet Tridork Bret:

But I bet they ride together sometimes.

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