In the Pink

Several years ago I got a good deal on a couple of professional cycling jerseys, the GC  leader’s jersey and the points competition leader’s jersey for the Giro d’Italia.  Their design is very attractive, a sort of large, abstract image of a cyclist in various shades of the main jersey color.  They’re made by Santini, an outstanding cycling apparel manufacturer, with special layered moisture-shedding fabric and full-length zippers, easy to open and close and perfect for this brutal summer weather when a cyclist has to unzip pretty far sometimes to assure that the core stays cool.

The thing that I like about them is that their colors are unusual.  The points jersey is a dark raspberry/magenta, and the GC jersey is pink.  The pink color was determined just the way the maillot jaune was determined in the Tour: it’s the color of the pages in the sports section of the newspaper that first sponsored the Giro.  Although these two hues are not the American norm for masculine colors, one can hardly call the leaders’ jerseys of the second hardest stage race in the world symbols of wimpiness.

And these colors do have their advantages on the road.  For one thing, everybody notices them, and the whole purpose of bright-colored cycling clothes is to be noticed, especially by automobile drivers.  But women particularly notice them.  A couple of weeks back I was wearing the magenta one when a young female cyclist asked me at a stop sign “where did you get that jersey?  I’ve been looking one just that color.”  I explained and she replied that the problem is that most of the good jerseys are in men’s sizes and shapes only.  By this time we were rolling again, and we lamented the unavailability of the good kit for women for a bit before she took off at a faster cruising speed than mine.  Then today, in the pink one, I was rolling up the rise just outbound from Old Reston Avenue (“Old Reston”?  Gives the impression that this post-WWII planned community actually has a “tradition.”) when a woman cycling downhill in the opposite direction flashed a bright smile and said a cheerful “good morning” as she whizzed past.  This is not the usual notice I get from shapely women probably 1/3 my age.  I’m thinking she assumed that my pink jersey was pro-Komen, or at least pro-cancer-cure.  And I am the latter.  No time to explain to her about the Giro.  Nevertheless, if Giro jerseys can garner a sunny smile or a little conversation now and then, molto bene.

©Arnold J. Bradford, 2012.

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