Your shopping basket is empty!
Cycling isn’t just about going fast; it’s about looking great while doing it. And nobody looks better than the pros. Granted, they have many luxuries the amateur cyclist doesn’t, as well as finely cultivated tan-lines that only a full year of racing on the continent can provide. However, we think that shouldn’t stop us from looking and feeling great on a bike, so here are five easy ways to help you channel your inner pro.
Aside from the odd maverick rider, nearly all the top pros have moved away from mechanical shifting. With the peloton now favouring electronic gears, getting your hands on some Di2 is a great way to feel more pro. You’ll notice quicker shifting, you can hook it up to your Garmin, and you can even stick a shifter on the tops of your handlebars if you fancy. Keep with the curve and make the leap into the new era of gear shifting.
The darker, the better
There’s been a noticeable shift in the pro peloton towards darker team kit. Black bib shorts have long been the industry standard, and that remains the case, but in recent years many teams have introduced a stealthy, black-heavy jersey. It appears that flamboyant primary colours have been left firmly in the 80s, and that to appear more pro, one must turn up at the ride clad head to toe in black. Of course, there are exceptions; a colourful frame should have atop it a colourful cyclist, for example. If needs must, express yourself up top, but keep it black on the bottom.
Sort out your position
The difference between the pros and the rest of us is that a pro rider will appear to be a fluid extension of his bike. With their saddles high and bars low, that aero position we so often see on the front of the peloton looks flawless. Also, if you find yourself with Froome-esque pointy elbows on the hoods or drops, consider lengthening your stem and reaching that little bit further for your bars. It’ll help you achieve the holy grail; that position where man and machine become one.
Too often overlooked by the casual cyclist, the pros pay much attention to the colour and condition of their handlebar tape. Whilst a new wrap of tape before every ride is excessive, keeping your bars looking tidy will go a long way towards getting that pro look. Filthy and worn bar tape will tarnish the bike aesthetic you’ve worked so hard to achieve. Not only that, but it’ll feel uncomfortable, especially if you’re a Flandrian who finds the concept of wearing cycling gloves utterly contemptable. Replace and scrub regularly, and try to colour-coordinate with your bike and/or kit. If you’re stuck for a colour, see tip number two.
Keep it clean
It’s a simple fact: a clean bike feels and looks better. We may not have a pro mechanic to do the dirty work for us, but there’s something satisfying about making a bike sparkle. Be sure to give your pride and joy the thorough attention it deserves after a messy ride. Mechanics with a fleet of bikes to clean often give them all a spray with a hose, but it’s softer on your components to get in there with a wet sponge or cloth and clean the niggly bits by hand. If you can, get yourself some component-specific cleaners. You wouldn’t put shower gel in your dishwasher, so why would you clean your frame with a groupset cleaner? Not only will it make your equipment last longer, but you’ll be the envy of your club run with a glistening bike.
Though these tips may not have you drilling it on the front at 50km/h like a pro, you’ll certainly look and feel like a fully-fledged member of the peloton before long.