I admit to having made a pain of myself on the subject of cycling apparel and I have expressed a reluctance to get drawn into the whole spandex thing. And I vehemently maintain my position, kinda, sorta.
You see without giving it a great deal of thought I’ve slowly amassed an impressive wardrobe of cycling-specific clothing, most of which I keep hidden in the recesses of my boudoir.
It has been a subconscious process, primarily; a piece here, another piece there, the acquisitions mostly driven by spam-email discount coupons sent daily from various cycling websites who’ll surely have it away with my credit card and empty my checking account at any moment.
Secretly I look forward to the day when I can slip into a spandex undergarment, stand in front of a full-length mirror, flex a bicep without something popping up on my butt cheek, then take to the road wearing said undergarment as the top layer. At this point I will have truly arrived on the cycling scene and will have fully cemented my place among my spandex-clad cycling brethren.
As I sculpt my body over the coming winter months in preparation for the grand unveiling, I’ll glance longingly towards my full-sized Cristiano Ronaldo poster as the source for my inspiration.
But I won’t back away from the simple truth that people wearing spandex look like dicks.
I can’t help it and I can only assume that you can’t help it either if you’re ten pounds overweight and insist on wearing the stuff.
Whilst you might like to hide behind the veil of added performance or improved comfort, the real reason for wearing spandex could be linked to a form of sexual repression. It was actually the British who invented spandex, a lighter more versatile alternative to Olde English Blown Vinyl. [Of course there’s no nation more sexually repressed than the British]. Where OEBV worked quite well for motorcycle jackets and car seats, it didn’t flex and breath sufficiently to be worn close to the skin.
But the fabric wasn’t popularized until August 24, 1875, when Captain Matthew Webb of Great Britain became the first person to swim the English Channel.
Webb wore the infamous spandex-lycra bathing suit and became the poster boy for the underground transgender sub-culture in London’s Soho region.
Spandex shorts became popular among Max-Mosley types as did Olde English Blown Vinyl caps, garters and whips.
Once the Italians caught sight of the garb they just had to have it. Not because they’re generally known to be sexually repressed but because they like to copy the British. The French have no interest in anything British but when they saw the Italians wearing spandex they feared another flair-up of Fascist dynamism and felt compelled to surrender proactively by wearing it too.
The Germans maintain the position that they invented spandex and suggest as evidence that it would have been impossible to march the goose-step in anything but.
Americans arrived late into the battle, a trait which they are well known for, and it took American icons Superman and Wonder Woman to give spandex a wider degree of acceptance outside of the San Francisco Bay area.
Popularity in the American markets lead to the availability of spandex clothing in a broader range of sizes. X, XL, XXL, XXXL, XCLV, MCXL and so forth.
So come spring I’ll be strutting my stuff wearing the latest in spandex fashion, micro-thin fabrics stretched tightly over my rippling muscular frame.
Watch this space.