By Alice B. Toeclips
Greetings, Fashion Risk Takers! As everyone who has had to bushwhack her way back to civilization knows, it's much tougher to make your own way through the jungle, whether it is a tangle of poison-ivy undergrowth,or a clothing store during the summer sales. Sometimes a helpful native can usher you through the gnarly sections. But they are hard to find, and few between. Let Alice show you what she knows.
Putting together your summer riding wardrobe should be fun, as you mentally(and sartorially) prepare for the months to come. A good selection of clothes should see you through a summer storm in Crested Butte, Colorado and still be able to protect you from the desert rays in Big Bend, Texas.
You will need: one pair of lycra shorts, one pair of cotton baggy longish shorts, preferably the kind that have no seams criss-crossing in the crotch,a long sleeve button-down shirt a la Brooks Bros. (much cooler than a t-shirt for the desert, against sunburn), a long sleeve poly pro or wool jersey,a lightweight windbreaker -- I prefer the over-the head, hooded kinds-they tie around the waist better, even if you do have to stop to put it on and take it off. Wind pants, scrunch-uppable ones, gloves, sunglasses, sunscreen,socks and touring shoes round out the picture, and you're set for the holiday.Notice that I don't mention t-shirts, because I know it's physically impossible to leave 'em out, and you always end up buying another at your destination,right? Besides, a sweaty t-shirt is only good on a desert downhill. Most other situations, they're a too-chilly proposition.
Let's focus on the often-over looked topic of camouflage. The men are all for the "woodland" motif, why not be different by tracking down some rare desert-flage from the army surplus? It's buff, eggshell, and ebony blended in a most appealing, gila-esque way. In California's hills nothing but sandy yellows and browns will do, where in Wisconsin, greens are de riguer. Once in awhile, though, Mother Nature will throw you a left hook, and you'll be glad you have your brightly colored bicycle gear in pink sand blues, lest the desert explode into bloom. And then there's urban-survivalcamo, but you have to invent it. Nobody yet has patterned a fabric after the rhyming yellow stripes on black asphalt (with the occasional white curb for loading and unloading only). Don't forget to stir in some crumpled up newsprint for that "down-town tumbleweed" effect.