You’ve seen him or her out there. You’re doing a training ride and you see that person decked out in some really sharp looking gear with the logo of some cycling-related company splashed across the jersey and maybe down the leg of the shorts. The helmet may be logo-free, but it is probably closely color-coordinated with the rest of the kit.
If you’re like me, you probably think “nice get-up” and then don’t give it a lot more thought. But what if you did? Would you ask the questions I’m asking?
Here’s some food for thought:
1) Why are you paying to advertise for someone? To some extent, we all are. I wear a lot of Pearl Izumi gear and you’ll see their logo on the shorts and on the shoulders of the jersey. Likewise, my bike has its brand and model splashed on the side. But why would I advertise for Garmin, Hammer, Polar, Gatorade, or much of anyone else unless they were paying me to do so. More over, why would I pay them? On a recent trip to a bike shop, I was asked if I wanted to buy their kit. You mean after I’m dropping three grand on a bike you want me to pay you a fee to advertise your shop?
2) Are you being paid to wear that stuff? Okay, it’s not only pro-athletes that get endorsement deals. To promote their brands companies like the ones I mentioned above do occasionally pay folks or at least provide the gear for free. But I see far too many people out there in full kit with sponsor’s names blazing for all of them to have been the lucky recipients of an endorsement.
3) Are you a professional or Olympic team hopeful? If I lived in Boulder rather than Parker, I suppose that would be a question to which the answer would be yes more often. Still, how many “wannabes” are riding around the flatirons hoping to be confused with one of the pros that train and make their home there?
4) Do you think it makes you look cooler? Huh. If you say so. It’s probably wise to remember that it’s a fine line between cool and douche bag. That line get’s crossed more often than you think.
5) Do you think it makes you better? Ah. I see that a lot. It’s not the hours and hours of training, the getting up before dawn to go swim, the ride in the driving wind or the run in the heavy snowfall. Nope. It’s the gear! You’re better because you can afford to be!
Me? I think I’ll keep wearing the more or less generic jersey’s I find on sale on Amazon. Unless, of course, I find one that makes me look cooler or faster!