When I started biking last summer, my uniform was a pair of mountain biking shorts I’d had for more than 10 years (yes, they still fit) and a cotton t-shirt. It didn’t take long to figure out that I needed to make a change.
Most importantly, I had to get rid of the t-shirt. I’d come home drenched with sweat, and would have to wring it out on the back patio before bringing it inside.
I was aware of the colorful jerseys cyclists wear, but in keeping with my usual spending habits, I was put off by the price tag. Sixty dollars and up seemed excessive. So I got the best one possible: a free one. My wife already owned a jersey and had just bought a second one, but it didn’t fit her. It fit me, though, so it was mine.
The hand-me-down jersey.
Sizing was an issue right away. The jersey is by Nike, and their clothing always seems to run small. This is an XXL, and my usual shirt size is XL. And in this case, even the XXL was snug. So, taking my cue from this experience, I figured other jerseys were sized small, to get that skin-hugging sensation, and I ordered Nashbar’s most basic jersey, for about $19.
The Nashbar Essential jersey.
No skin-hugging here. It flaps in the wind. I didn’t return it for an exchange, because at the time, I was more comfortable with loose than snug. And the safety factor is great. The picture doesn’t do the bright, saturated yellow hue justice. This thing really stands out.
How do they perform? They’re both great. They wick perspiration away from the skin, and even though they can be soaked at the end of a ride on a hot day, my body is comfortable. I wear each of them a couple of times a week, but I favor the white one for club rides or organized rides.
Since then, I got a third jersey, a long-sleeved one from Performance, as a Christmas present. Although it is Performance’s basic jersey, again just a single solid color (red this time), it’s very different from the Nashbar one. For one thing, it fits better — it’s an XL. It seems better made. The fabric is heftier, which makes sense, since it’s supposed to be used in cooler weather.
So I’m pretty happy with the basic jerseys. I could use another, though, because it seems I’m always tossing these things in the wash. Which brings me to the big question — what kind? I kind of like the solid colors, but something’s been nagging at me. The coolness factor is missing. I see multi-colored club jerseys, and beer jerseys, and pro team jerseys, and rock ‘n roll jerseys, and I wonder if this old fart should gussy himself up a bit more? Thoughts? What do you wear?