It is nearly a fact that cyclists have generally shunned team sport participation, yet we ride around together in small and large groups, bonding through a shared passion. Part of the need to belong is buying the uniform. The ‘correct’ shorts. The helmet that Mathieu Van der Poel uses. The expensive clothing and components we purchase when the 5 minute power output produced fails to bring self admiration. We are all guilty.
On the club chain gang, fluorescent yellow is a divisive colour within the cycling community. Flo Yellow utilizes widest wavelengths of the visible spectrum to make it ‘pop’ on the roadside in low light conditions, so it is a ‘safe ‘ colour and when worn on a rider makes them more visible on the roadside.
But it has long been the preserve of the new cyclist, in the trainers and a massive flo yellow windproof jacket that is worn winter and summer as it is their cycling jacket– regardless of outside weather conditions. We are all brothers and sisters, and we all started here. ALL of us- even you- but hours and years spent in the saddle makes us want to earn the distinction between the new cyclist, that you were and the cyclist that you are now. We want to belong to the experienced cyclist community. Regardless of your functional power threshold, you want to dress like a retired pro and flo yellow isn’t looked upon by the more elitist members of our community, and there are many, as the ‘correct uniform’. The hours and years in the headwinds and slow punctures and magazines images absorbed, graduated you to be a cyclist. And flo yellow is a reminder of reflectors on spokes and oil prints on your football socks.
Yes, a muted dark green is the colour of the moment . Seen on many a high contrast advertising picture. A lone rider battling up the Stelvio climb. I want to be that rider ignoring how much I detest the ‘rules’ of cycling I am, life everyone else, influenced and inside I really want to be in the high Italian alps, regardless if barely visible in the black jersey – and not Philip in his flo yellow, riding to get dog treats from the chemist.
Well, here is a shocker. Philip is cooler than Alberto. Not only does his dog love him more- but human eyes are built to be most sensitive to that particular wavelength of light (~550 nanometres) where the rods and cones which collect the light in the human eye ‘see’ the yellow/green easier. Human eyes include the eyes of lightly intoxicated truck drivers and turbo-blown Audi drivers that close pass us. There is a deep internal fear, at the end of the garment design process, when choosing the dye colour. The fabrics are selected, samples tested in the wild roads and the final fear… of someone getting run over in one of our garments.
We had dark green Pantone 627c, a lovely deep colour which we use in our Roubaix mid-layer jersey attached to the order form of the new Mistral jacket for months after the purchase order went in. The dark green will sell more – help the brand image… look cool. Well you know what’s cooler than new DuraAce 12 speed? saying “I’m home” as you arrive back tired and intact, on a dull December day.
If the flo yellow colour choice made lowered Audi Driver see you one half, of a single second earlier and not hit you with his wing mirror- then flo yellow is not only ice cool but smooth as warm butter.
A hurried phone call to our fabric mill got the dye colour of our fifth edition of the Mistral jacket changed to Flo yellow and the ALL black version, changed back, to the highlighted version with Flo Yellow contrasts ……and probably lowered future sales of the jacket. We have the finest fabric available, the design is refined, so colour is not incidental but Flo Yellow is simply beautiful.
It is not the cyclist’s fault if lightly intoxicated truck driver knocks you down. It is his fault. Period.
Wear what you want, when you want. I love that my friend Pat wears a pair of Swedish team bib tights which I gave him 8 years ago, and are electric blue. I would not wear them- but I havn’t his confidence .
Dark green on a winter day isn’t as visible a flo yellow, so I would rather celebrate looking like a cyclist, any cyclist far from home, than have a tired paramedic cut my forest green jacket off and remove the most of lowered Audi man’s bumper from my spine.
“I’m sorry….I didn’t see you”