Much like the gossip-riddled upbringing of your sophomoric 17-year-old niece, rumor is rife in the oft-insular world of cycling. Especially this time of year as daylight shortens and the mercury drops precipitously, the flibbertigibbets in each of our social cycling circles are discussing various levels of cycling nerdery including but not exclusive to: off season transfers, debating the critical level of clembuterol beneficial for a Tour win, or are mulling over just how much Mad Alchemy embrocation is necessary to maintain the proper heat “buzz” on one’s legs in the frigid winter months. Critical conversation across the board, clearly.
While I cannot publicly release the original source, it has been rumored that sometime around the beginning of July and therefore just shy of the 2010 Tour de France, Cervelo TestTeam was planning a paramount mid-season signing of four cyclists with unseen potential. Details are sparse, but as rumor has it, part of the souring of the deal in the eleventh hour had to do with CTT disagreeing to the riders’ last minute demand for a tattoo as a signing bonus reading “Wicked Good” across all riders’ foreheads and a messenger bag full of CTT swag.
After being flicked from the big leagues, it has since been rumored that these four now snubbed cyclist returned to their humble Boston roots sometime in mid-August and proceeded to create a grassroots cyclocross cycling team. Nothing says stick-it-to-the-maniosis like the in your face world of cyclocross. Much like our noble United States post (wo)men neither the rain, nor sleet, nor the gloom of night, nor an utterly inebriated crowd will hinder a cyclocross race, as compared to the rumor and dork riddled world of professional road racing which stops when mere raindrops loom in the distance.
One sees immediate similarities to the current Cervelo TestTeam kit, which is the gracious recipient of utmost praise. Namely, black as the main element, a big white… umm, thing… located in the center of the back, and all accentuated nicely with various levels of red and white componentry. All the while this is complimented with tall socks. Nothing screams wicked stylish like tall socks.
While I tend to ignore the sponsors themselves and focus exclusively on the style of the kit, this particular jersey highlights the matching shoulder tatts of High & Mighty Beer Co. I don’t know anything about those folks, but off season is beer season and therefore I like H&MBCo already.
Alas it’s time to conclude with some arbitrary lettering.
Effort in design: B+
Ability to Elicit Audience Participation: A-
Execution of final product: A+
Here’s what I know about cyclocross: it’s done in dirt, it’s done in cold weather, and it’s alleged to be really fun. I have never crossed, so I take it on faith that these things are true. And since cross is an activity that involves bicycles, it must, of course, require specialized equipment. Cross bikes differ from road bikes in that they have cantilever brakes for mud clearance, knobby tires to ride over dirt, and a special geometry that allows the rider to get into a "laid back" position so they can snatch dollar bills out of the mud and grab cans full of affordable beer from spectators. I suppose it was inevitable that along with all of this specialized equipment there should be a specific wardrobe to go along with it.
The ensemble that has come to represent cross participation is the long sleeved skinsuit. This strikes me as ironic because normally skinsuits are the sartorial choice of time trialists and triathletes, two groups who are not necessarily known for their love of fun, in fact they are more known for their fondness of pain, anguish and their ability to contort themselves into tremendously uncomfortable positions for hours on end. They are the antithesis of the cross ethos, yet they share the same clothing choices.
I suppose the skinsuit has its advantages for racing cross. There’s no pockets so cross racers can take the shape of slippery cycling eels—which is helpful for sliding their bicycles about their bodies as they tote them over barriers, muddy section and inebriated rivals. I also assume the absence of pockets also prevents them from filling with mud, sand or crushed beer cans.
Bike lifting and pocket-filling practicalities aside, we are here to evaluate the design efficacy of the Newbury Comics kit. It seems to be a purpose-made cyclocross kit, and its black color will lend itself well to absorbing the warming rays of the weak late autumn sun and will keep looking clean after repeated plunges into cyclocross muck and filth. The team has the luxury of having only two sponsors, allowing them the freedom to place their logos as they wish. The result is a fun, playful design that reflects the ethos of their sponsors. In short, they are a pack of lighthearted logo-festooned cyclocross eels, which seems terrifically appropriate for cross racing.
Who we are.
Dan Schmalz, when he’s not typing aimlessly on the internet for free, is a graphic designer who has owned his own firm for over a decade. His work has been published in numerous national design publications, and his work has received several national awards.
If you want to have you team’s kit put through the fashion critique wringer, drop us a line, and we will try to be gentle.
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