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Of Cycling and Tailoring


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#1 J. Maclochlainn

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 07:01 AM

Many people do not know that WDF Vincent and Holding were avid cyclists. In the mid 1880's Vincent and a tailor friend used to make regular trips to London via Penny-Farthings and cycled until late in life. Holding wrote a book on cycle camping and was known to be out and about on his cycle when ever he had a chance.

I write about this now as I seem to be carrying on this tradition. I now have a bike and ride everywhere and in the past 2 months lost nearly 4 inches off my belly, 2 inches on the chest and my body is now hinting at a jawline once again.

But what does this have to do with the Les Incroyables section? Well two fold actually, the first is my curiosity on who rides bicycles here, for health or fun? and I would love to see if anyone has cycling plates they would share that harken back to a time where cycling was much more popular than today. To discuss ideas on what you consider proper cycling attire, materials, special points in style and utility &tc.
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#2 uchimata

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 06:34 PM

I also love to cycle and I am a qualified Indoor Cycling Instructor. I have a road bike, a mountain bike and a Brompton folding bike that I use to get round London. As my main work is as a Freelance Pattern Cutter I cycle to all my jobs. I very rarely use the road bike as I prefer the comfort and feel of the heavier mountain bike. My Brompton has only one gear, so cycling uphill is very hard, but that is where the most fitness benefits come.

If you lost all that weight purely by cycling then you either did a LOT of miles, or you used a high intensity, because normal steady cycling is not a great fat burner. However, it is great at increasing your general health and is a really pleasant passtime, especially when you add in a few Pub stops.

As to Cycling wear, I think there is a big gap in the market for smart cycling wear. I usually wear lycra shorts underneath normal knee length sports shorts that are not too loose and not too tight. I usually wear all black, but sometimes certain shades of blue. I cant quite bring myself to wear fluorescent yellow, although unfortunately a helmet is usually a necessity in Central London.

#3 culverwood

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 07:03 PM

I am a cyclist. I have a 26inch Wayfarer tourer by Dave Yates and a Brompton. Unlike uchimata when touring I like to wear highly visible colours on top, yellow and orange in Northern Europe and reds and blues in the South. As we are all day in the saddle I am happy to wear lycra padded shorts though I prefer to wear ones like the Rapha 3/4 length when its a short day and I will be in a town, middle aged men in lycra are not a pretty site.

As tourers we try and carry as little as possible which means that I need one pair of lightweight trousers and shirt/polo shirt and my wife one shift dress to wear in the evenings when walking around town. These need to be from a material which does not emerge from the panniers a crushed wreck and usually this means microfibre.

#4 J. Maclochlainn

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 07:35 AM

@ Uchimata= Well when you go from very little exercise to cycling everyday, both fast high cadence flats to a few hills everyday it does make a difference I think. Of course my diet has chanced tremendously. But yes, I tend to walk fast so I also keep a high cadence.

I have been doing up my cyclewear as kind of a fusion between classic English country but modernised and utilitarian for modern exploration. Lots of tweeds, cavalry twills and morino jersey. Of course very little stucture, so it's nice and allows me to be really creative and explore soft methods.

I currently own a Bianchi Volpe with a bit of a personality disorder. Not quite sure where to taker her. I do hope to get a pashley for those tweed runs, then I'll be set for the moment.

Edited by J. Maclochlainn, 03 August 2012 - 07:37 AM.

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#5 ladhrann

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Posted 04 August 2012 - 10:42 PM

I'm a firm convert to the steel frame bicycle and cycle a Royal Dutch Gazelle Toer Populair, its identical to the Raleigh Roadster of the past. The springiness in the steel frame makes it a far more comfortable ride than an aluminium frame, which I used to cycle. For everyday cycling I see no reason for lycra and just wear my regular clothes.

Some day I'd love to get an Umberto Dei http://www.umbertode...mid=99&lang=en

#6 uchimata

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 09:47 PM

Keep it up J. Maclochiainn. It takes a lot to change your lifestyle round - and cycling every day using high cadence or hills to work up a sweat would certainly do the trick. And with all that tweed you are really going to work up a sweat. Ive got to say, I couldnt cycle in gear that wasnt totally practical. But I do appreciate that you are doing it your way and with style.

#7 peakcrisis

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 04:08 PM

I'm a frequent cycler too, in my day to day attire, but I've come across a problem with that: My trousers wear off pretty rapidly (say 2 years when worn twice weekly) not only on fine worsteds but equally fast on my cotton chinos, due to friction with the saddle. Has anyone come across cloths that withstand this treatment best? Flannels may be equally delicate though?

#8 Terri

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 11:07 PM

That is why cycling shorts have an extra layer in the seat and inner thighs. Usually over padding.
How about cycling in riding breeches or jodhpurs, which have a similar seat and inner thigh second layer of suede or adopting the "styling" to regular trousers that you use only for cycling?

#9 kuromaku

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Posted 07 January 2015 - 02:54 AM

Congrats on the slimming, J. Maclochlainn!

 

My younger brother was on the cycling team when he was at Cal (UC-Berkeley) in his undergrad days, and I usually went with them on their training rides. Since then, I've been slacking on riding so much, maybe only averaging 20-30 miles a day these days, but it is fun as you say, and relatively easy to get around here in the SF Bay Area on a bicycle + Caltrain and/or BART.

 

As for clothing, I just wear padded cycling shorts under chinos and thermal shirts. One thing I've found useful is to wear a reflective band on the right trouser cuff as that helps to keep the cuff out of the way of the big chainring on a triple crank.



#10 cperry

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Posted 08 January 2015 - 01:45 AM

We're all cyclists in my family, primarily during the summer months.  My husband commutes to work the 14 miles one-way to northwest Rochester, normally when the weather permits.  The snow and cold recently has put a stop to his biking, but he's making plans for getting a few days in.  I have a piece of wind-breaking type fabric with which I'm to make a protective cover for his feet (like "gators", I think.).

 

While shopping during the Christmas season, I learned about this type of bike that has "taken off" apparently in Minnesota.  It has the monster tires and studs (I think) that can handle winter ice.  http://www.framedbikes.com/mn2/

 

He also normally wears the standard cycling shorts under chinos (or sweats in the winter), then changes into work attire once arrived (which today could mean his dress trousers and a button down shirt or jeans and a nice shirt).  My husband doesn't seem to mind scuffing up his wool trousers a little while biking a short distance (say to a destination where he might want to look a littler nicer).  On the long distances, I think the padded shorts become a necessity.

 

I have to wonder if the tweeds/worsted wools could out perform today's cold weather athletic gear for warmth.


Edited by cperry, 08 January 2015 - 02:09 AM.

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#11 Henry Hall

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Posted 18 January 2015 - 06:28 AM

A cyclist here too, though more as a mode of regular transport than health reasons. I ride a 1957 BSA and a more modern Dutch transporter bike for doing errands, like the shopping.

 

I have sewn a rather large seat patch into all the jeans I use for going to work, otherwise they wear out pretty rapidly. How often I've thought about trying out a pair of cycling plus-twos (I have a good draft from the American Gament Cutter), but fear looking a twit.


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#12 greger

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Posted 18 January 2015 - 10:59 AM

Some styles are old, but still classic. American Gament Cutter, this maybe old but, you can do a modern variation. Tailors today don't like to use the word fashion but the tailored clothing of the past sometimes was very fast moving. Close fitting to baggy and then something else in a short period of time. The published work of what tailors made is rather clear. Todays tailors have cut themselves out of so many clothes. One of the meanings I think of when saying "tailors are the Kings of the clothing world" is the agility of the mind to be able to create new quickly to the tailors standards. Tailors standards and rtw standards are not the same, and should not be compared. I hear to often from tailors, "we don't make that", because they see the lower standard of rtw and not thinking how to make to a higher standard. Before rtw who made all the clothes that tailors refuse to make today. The lack of agility becomes the lack of ability which is thumb sucking stupid which is the opposite of being a tailor as tailors are becoming a higher form of rtw nowadays. That last sentence is not what tailoring is about. Tailors that cut themselves out of the kingdom don't belong calling themselves tailors anymore.

There are a few tailors who can make a one of a kind, because of their art skills, that fits in the modern world. Besides, where do trends come from? Something different? If we listen to nay sayers would we still be hiding behind fig leaf's?

#13 Henry Hall

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Posted 18 January 2015 - 09:57 PM

With regard to cycling legwear I suspect it's a matter of both fashion (i.e. cycling breeches are not fashionable) and that people today are less apt to cover up as they did in the past.

All the Tour de France wannabees around here with their skin-tight lycra shorts are not too bothered about exposing their legs in a way that would have made the Victorians faint in horror. With plus-twos you have to wear socks - which is a good thing in my case because the sight of my calves would make modern people faint in horror.

 

I can't see the point of trying to compete with factory made lycra cycling shorts, though for the leisure cyclist something more like plus-twos would be beneficial because trousers still get caught in chains or flap against the crank. I have quite a lot of oil traces on the right trouser hems. Maybe I should get some old-fashioned bicycle clips?


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Each phenomenon which is taken up should be treated with as much thoroughness as possible at that standpoint... One thing at a time and that done well!

 

- Otto Jespersen (How to Teach a Foreign Language).


#14 greger

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Posted 19 January 2015 - 09:08 AM

Around here I rarely see lycra cycling shorts. What they mostly wear here are cycling shorts that look like regular shorts, not board shorts but something more like that. These guys are mountain bikers. Was thinking shorten the old pattern 6 to 8 inches above the knee.

One of my brothers worked in Cleveland (flat lander country) sometimes: hot summer wearing shorts people started telling him he had big calf muscles, so he looked around and discovered they had scrawny calf muscles. He never quit wearing shorts because of what other people thought.

A lesson here about sorting out those at the top (it's lonely up there) from those below. Some leaders got to the top because they asked a lot of questions. Knowledge is accumulated. Nay sayers are followers, because they don't have above average knowledge to lead with. Don't pay attention to the nay sayers. The ones who ask questions are the ones who are interested in buying stuff that is not found in stores. They're the ones who buy custom, and are thoughtful, so, good customers. Thoughtful usually easy to work with. If you dress like the nay sayers those at the top won't pick you out of the crowd (no money in that).

Edited by greger, 19 January 2015 - 09:12 AM.

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#15 Schneiderfrei

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 12:35 AM

When you say "flatlander", are you in the Cascades greger??


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#16 greger

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 02:00 PM

Yes indeed. Western side. Olympics not to far away. Rainier, Glacier, Baker and back behind Baker is Mount Shushan. East of Rainier is Adams. South of Rainier is St. Helens, which blew it's top. South of the Columbia River is Mount Hood. So there are a few volcanos around that are still active, (Shushan is not a volcano and it is made of jade of no value). Lake Chelan I think has prettier blue water than Creator Lake (both are amazing places). Creator is a bigger blast by far than St. Helens. California has Shasta and another one, the latter is hot. Baker was getting more lively and surprised me when Helens blew. After that Baker is very quiet with a little bit of steam coming from it. Don't know of any volcanos in Canada, though Western Canada has some amazing scenery. Wouldn't mind living some places up there. Western Washington is so crowded, nowadays, when Dad dies I'm gone. Maybe somewhere near Mount McKinley. Moose and trout and blueberries can be my diet along with char, grayling and dall sheep. Or, maybe the South Sea Islands would be better.

Edited by greger, 23 January 2015 - 02:10 PM.


#17 hutch48

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Posted 24 January 2015 - 07:52 AM

We have reasonably hot summers here in OZ and cycling is an OK way to travel for local tasks, shopping for small items and the like. I live in Sydney where the traffic is high and while there are cycle lanes locally, they are narrow and dangerous so you are only swapping one risk for another. Now in relation to what you wear in the summer, my comments on Lycra is that it is hot, sticky and itchy and probably best left to swimming costumes. In my youth when I races pushbikes you use to be able to get  cycle pants made of soft cotton in a coarse but open weave and they were good to wear, not hot and sticky like Lycra and took the rough edge off very cold weather but these days in the hot weather I usually wear a pair of Stubbies, a T shirt and the compulsory helmet.






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