i am, much to my chagrin, a creature of habit. though there's no real need for me to be in the office until 10am, to a fault i'm sat at the desk by 08:40. though lunch is generally from 12:30, habit makes me pop down the street at 11:45 to buy my newspaper and get something for lunch.
if all goes according to plan, and it usually does, my part of the week's work ought to be finished by lunchtime on friday. that way, others who have need of finishing off the production process are not unfairly delayed. which leaves me with a friday afternoon devoid of strenuous activity, or at least activity which brings no revenue. what else can the intent velocipedinist do but acknowledge the pleading invitations from the bike shed (surely everyone else can hear it too?) and head off to the bruichladdich environs, ready to assuage a certain thirst with concentrated froth supping.
this has also become a habit.
however, an afternoon of cycling interrupted by coffee swilling and perchance some polite conversation, leaves very little time for active pedalling. such would be lessened even further if i'd to change into my refugee-from-the-peloton outfit. so my friday afternoon habit eschews any thoughts of bendy bars and skinny tyres, opting instead for the taurus roadster, a bicycle that welcomes civilian garb with no outward pretensions.
maybe there's a lot to be said for normal cycling after all.
however, i would be leading you along a hidden garden path were i to aver that non-peloton garb results in a pringle jumper, jeans and a pair of gardening gloves. on the contrary, several of today's cycling apparel specialists offer entire ranges of, in this case, city riding clothing that to all intents and purposes look just like ordinary garmentage to an unknowing (and pretty much, uncaring) public. from our point of view, that's pretty darned excellent.
rapha (for indeed, it is they) offer a comprehensive and particularly well-designed range of clothing which their naming protocol would suggest ought to be worn midst taxis, buses, traffic snarl-ups, traffic lights and jaywalking pedestrians. yet here am i, on the outer edge of the rural idyll, smartly dressed in a pair of the latest loopback trousers, matched with a rapha/raeburn thermal jacket and henley. the saddle supporting a loopback clothed posterior is a sprung brooks b16, not your regular sprinting attire, i'm sure you'll agree?
the loopback trousers are constructed from nylon-based pertex fabric, one that offers impeccable windproofing and a healthy dose of water resistance via a durable water repellant (dwr) coating. the fit is contemporary, right down to the tapering below the knee. rapha advise on their website that prospective purchasers might like to consider downsizing from their regular rapha trouser size, but since this would have meant opting for a 28" waist rather than a 30", i figured i'd pass on that one.
however, it looks as if rapha may well have been at least partially right. though i figured a drop of two inches might just have been a constriction too far, there's no doubt that the elasticated waist is a smidgeon larger than usual. i have not yet had need of resorting to a belt, but should that prove necessary in the future (if i become even thinner), there are belt loops to facilitate such an option. the loopbacks can also be ordered with differing leg lengths and colours; i opted for the 32" leg because though 30" is perhaps closer to my actual measurement, the extra two inches keep my socks concealed during frantic rural pedalling.
and instead of the black reviewed, they're also available in navy. ever the pragmatist, i asked for black, for though the taurus owns one of those compulsory all-enclosed chains, i have a tendency to be a bit of a mucky pup. their all-over blackness allowed me to fit a new chain, set of cantilevers and a pair of pedals to an ageing mountain bike, left in my charge for those very repairs. i'm pretty sure i kept all oily marks at bay, but on black trousers, who can tell?
the windproofing is pretty much the clincher as far as i'm concerned. though my neighbour's anemometer is hardly working overtime at the mo, it will not be long before we can feel its spinning draught from the far corners of our own garden. couple that with an impressive degree of inbuilt stretchability and you'd need to be ruddy hard to please to find fault.
but the wearing of trousers specifically cut for velocipedinal activity cannot be truly their only forte. if i may refresh your memories regarding the ratio measured between length of commute and time spent working or playing candy crush on the office ipad, any pair of augmented trouserage should be every bit as at home standing at the water-cooler (do people really do that?) without alerting all and sundry to the fact that you most likely watched paris-tours on sunday afternoon, or that cyclocross might occupy the bulk of your autumnal weekends. the loopbacks accomplished this with ease. so inured to bright pinkage have my own work colleagues become, that not one of them has commented on the fluorescent pink flap featured on the leftmost rear pocket.
the two front pockets are generous in their depth, lined with a silky smooth fabric. the left front is joined by a secretly zipped accomplice and another more visibly zipped option on the rear right. my habitual nature has a pair of keys, a usb pen drive and a drum key (don't ask) permanently contained within the pockets of any trousers i might wear. when riding, those contents gave no cause for untoward irritation.
i have mentioned on several occasions that there is great danger of my designer scruff becoming a thing of the past, principally through the machinations of delights such as rapha's loopback trousers. but do i look as if i care? i'm not too sure why they opted to bestow such a quizzical name upon such sartorial brilliance, but to be honest, i don't much mind. even if your bicycle collecton contains nothing that would suggest the word commuter, i'd nab a pair just for lounging about the team bus or attending the annual club dinner.
they look just fine and dandy in the phone box at carnduncan.
as if to prove my point, rapha have currently sold out of the first run of loopback trousers. there are more due in early november. get your order in now.
rapha's loopback trousers retail at a cost of £110 and available in navy or black in waist sizes ranging from 28" to 36" offering varying leg lengths proportional to waist size. and don;t forget rapha's recommendation to move down a waist size.
tuesday 13 october 2015..........................................................................................................................................................................................................