Saturday, December 24, 2016

Too Fat to Wear Them

Did a bit of digging through boxes recently, and discovered a couple gems from my ancient past that have now become decor in The Cycle Test Laboratory:

As the post title indicates, I am well beyond the point where these jerseys will stretch over my ample girth. The one on the right is slightly larger, so I made the mistake of trying it on. Let's just say it's a good thing polyester doesn't get stretch marks.

I keep these around, though, because they take me back to my cycling past. The one on the left came from my very first bike shop gig at the now-defunct Grummert's Cycling and Fitness in my hometown of Sterling, Illinois. We weren't much of a bike shop, just a corner of a local hardware store, but that little corner is where I caught the bug for bike mechanicking. The jersey was team kit for the Northwest Illinois Bicycle Club team, co-sponsored by us and the other shop in town, the also-defunct Mr. K's Mud, Sweat and Gears in neighboring Rock Falls, Illinois. The two shops had a bit of a falling out around the time I started working for Grummert's, so there really wasn't a "team" any more, just a box of jerseys. A much younger, much thinner me still wore that tennis-ball-yellow abomination with pride, though.

The jersey on the right was the team kit for the now-defunct (are you noticing a pattern here?) Laurel Highlands Schwinn in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, a shop where I worked for my pal Bill. I never actually raced for Bill (he had more sense than that), but the jersey was the uniform for our weekly shop rides. We even wore them during our legendary Coasting Contests, which was probably the worst advertisement for a shop ever: "Hey, look at all those idiots in matching shirts, desperately trying not to fall over at 1 mile per hour!" The shorts that went with the jersey were perhaps the most comfortable cycling shorts I have ever stretched over my arse, and I should have cleaned Bill out of them when I left.

Of course, these days, I'm happy to slap on a t-shirt and baggy shorts when I ride, but it's nice to see these memories hanging in the garage every time I head out, reminding me of old friends, fun times, and a much skinnier me.

1 comment:

Pondero said...

I get this. Occasionally, I stumble across some reminder of the days when I was fast(er). I was a roadie and mixed it up with a local club in their fast group rides. I never was a star by any means, but fit enough to feel like a part of the group. The dynamic culture of a rolling peloton is like nothing else.