civilisation dictates a certain dress code. it's one that's almost infintely variable, but a bit like a gating filter on a recording desk, it has certain limits. and not only has it a versatility that affects little else in this world, but just like the eponymous venn diagram, there are intersections between each semi-distinct region.
for instance, dressed in team sky race kit (other team kits may be available), there are a distinct number of locations and social settings in which you may appear without incurring ire or unbridled hilarity. our colleagues in the offroad fraternity benefit from a greater degree of leeway; pairs of baggy shorts that would scarcely raise an eyebrow, cleated shoes that resemble those of the outdoor brigade and often baggy jerseys whose short sleeves do not leave red gripper marks on your biceps.
once again, there are set limits as to where even the latter might seem a bit out of place, though i'm not sure even the first tee at machrie golf links would necessarily be one of them. we are mostly at the hands of the majority. islay's current population is around 3,200, about eight of which have the requisite enthusiasm to meet every sunday morning to collectively ride bicycles. only a portion of those feel the need to ride later in the week for commuting purposes.
london, on the other hand, suffers a population of 8.63 million, three million more than in the whole of scotland. it makes both economic and social sense to concentrate on the transportation habits and sartorial needs of the majority. bring in the populations of manchester, birmingham et al which allegedly bear a greater similitude to their capital city than to the rurality of western scotland and it's easy to see why rapha have yet to offer their acolytes a windproof and water resistant pair of tartan trousers.
that almost returns us to the first tee at machrie, for in truth, i doubt any scot worth their heritage would be seen dead in a pair of tartan trousers. and a kilt would just get caught in the spokes.
thus, those nether regions are clothed in the finery that is rapha's city riding range, designed for avoiding bus lanes, but in my case watching out for sheep at the side of the road. and, believe it or not, a passing maserati.
in one swell foop, rapha have offered us two similar, yet distinctly different pairs of trousers designed expressly to offer comfort and joy on the bicycle no matter the beauty or otherwise of our surroundings. unlike the recently reviewed loopback trousers, these present a thickness that the pertex lacks, along with a concomitant reduced flexibility. however, during my rural perambulations, that flexibility was still in excess of that required. if there truly are varying degrees of formality, these cotton city riding troos (as those of us north of the border are wont to say) harbour just a smidgeon more than their friends and counterparts.
not quite in the sense of a university challenge contestant, but in more of a sartorial denotation, these are very smart. as my late father would have said respectable. but they are respectable with a purpose, one that will apparently wear to a satisfactory patina over time, while london's population undoubtedly grows and that of islay may regretfully decline. and while sat at debbie's supping froth, it was indicative to note that a large group of italians, who asked for tabasco sauce with their toasties, were altogether oblivious to the italian finery that is my lugged steel taurus corinto.
noted for their fashion sense (though perhaps not this particular group), none were seen to roll their eyes in disdain at my city riding garb. though it may be a small point, i count that as a result.
also unlike their loopback colleagues, the two frontmost pockets are conveniently zipped to retain my office keys, drum key, usb pen drive and coffee money from being snaffled by a passing sheep. one rear pocket is also zipped while the other features a similar pink buttoned tab as on the loopbacks. there is nothing on the rapha website to contend that these ought to be selected in a waist size lower than your regular choice; those reviewed were a 30" waist and 32" leg, in a style that tapers below the knee to offer appropriate pragmatism at the ankle.
once more the popularity of the black, navy or beige alternatives have led to this particular trouser variant being as out of stock as the loopbacks, though that may have changed for the better by the time you read this.
every bit as practical in the wilderness as in piccadilly circus or oxford street. much the same thing i suppose.
rapha's cotton city riding trousers are available in waist sizes ranging from 28 to 36 in leg lengths that vary relative to the latter. retail price is a very amenable £95.
saturday 17 october 2015..........................................................................................................................................................................................................