The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly. Bike Clothing: Part One: The Ugly.

by Eric Shalit on January 5, 2015

The above kit probably seemed like a good idea at the time. I'm sure many people were involved in the design and review. Intelligent design? These are all physically fit good-looking guys. On regular people this kit would appear much uglier. The crotch area is in the shape of a toilet seat. From their expressions, I'd say the guys realize how hideous they look.

Editor’s note: I first wrote this article back in January. I have to tell you that it gets more hits than any other of the 135 articles I’ve posted to date. It also features the word ‘mangina’, which appears to be a popular keyword. I’m re-posting it today just in case you missed it and are not googling the keywords ‘bicycle mangina’.

A recent discussion about bike club jerseys on the Cascade Bicycle Club forum raised questions about what constitutes good clothing for cycling. Let’s start with a few examples of the bad.

As someone who is neither tall nor svelt, I am not in the habit of making fun of fat people. Unless forced by their mothers to wear something "nice", most adults make fairly responsible decisions about what to wear. Cycling clothing (known as "kits") may be dangerous in the wrong hands.

BelgianSwiftTeam I think this is an example of what's known as a "faux-kini". Rick Pepper designer of ELEVENGEAR says, "Cycling clothing when it's bad is either too noisy, shows too much stuff, or makes normal women look fat..."


I'm guessing the kit development team at Rabobank convinced themselves the crotch area was in the shape of a "flame". I say "vagina". A friend says the correct term is "mangina", as in "he has a cute mangina".

This is a just-released photo of the Footon-Servetto-Fuji 2010 pro team kit. They claim the color is gold. Some people think it's an example of team kit design gone very wrong. I'm not sure. What do you think?

If you're actually a superhero like legendary cyclist Mario Cippolini (a.k.a. Super Mario), you can get away with anything.

Many people who are considering getting into cycling believe they will need to buy “special clothing”? Is it plausible that hideous cycling clothing has kept many regular people from getting into cycling?

I am by no means a fashionista, so what you wear doesn’t really bother me. Personally, I don’t usually like wearing clothing emblazoned with logos of sponsors. (except for a t-shirt from Chamois Butt’r). Though I ride a fair amount of miles each year, I am not a racer, so don’t want to look like I’m pretending to be one. I’m neither tall nor svelt. I avoid wearing spandex, for fear of looking like an escaped circus clown.

Now that I’ve gotten the negative stuff out of the way, here’s a spin on the positive side. I see the future in promoting cycling as something anyone can do. You don’t have to be trying to be Lance Armstrong. In the way of Copenhagen, racing kits are not required. Part Two of this story will be a look at THE GOOD, “intelligently designed” cycling-specific clothing and other options for clothes that are functional and good-looking on and off the saddle.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Lynne September 12, 2010 at 9:24 pm

collapsing in helpless giggles…


Sylvie October 17, 2010 at 9:25 pm

I hope you include a fair amount of TWEED in the next article! It is, of course, the original cycling attire.


Mak April 20, 2012 at 6:43 am

Where´s the part 2?!


Gail Reed June 1, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Your comment about… escaped circus clown…. has me in stitches. I’ll have to remember not to recall it when I’m cycling to work tomorrow or I could fall off my bike!


ETC October 4, 2012 at 10:00 am

I LOVE it! LOL hill-airy-US!!
I bike quite a lot myself and HATE the elitist look of the cycling jersey( I do wear them as I need the pockets on longer rides.) I’m trying to find NORMAL looking shirts that wick and have rear pockets. Hard to find!

thanks for the laughs!


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