Nobody starts cycling because of the glamorous outfits you get to wear, but my winter cycling attire possibly hits a new low as far as stylishness is concerned. It's probably best described as Roadmender Chic. Big fleece, woolly hat, tatty and possibly muddy or oily black tracksuit bottoms, and the ever-so-flattering high-visibility waistcoat. J's dad works for a company that makes workwear, so we are well-provided with fluorescent outer garments.
My summer cycling gear is not so bad, and benefits slightly from having been acquired only a year or so ago. But I really need to get some new tracksuit bottoms. I've had the current ones since my last year at college, which would be 2001.
I'd aquired them to replace some which had been part of my school gym kit, purchased sometime in the early 90s. They were marginally more presentable because they didn't have gathered ankles and weren't too short for me. I wasn't at my most sporty in those days, but even I needed something in which to play badminton on holiday.
The black trackies got their first wearing when I hastily pulled them on over my pyjama bottoms to go and sit with J in the hospital when he got meningitis, early in the autumn term of 2001. (If I'd known I'd be there for more than 24 hours, and that J would be OK, I would have got properly dressed.) Over the next few years, they served me well in whatever exercise I did and even did duty for pulling pints if my other black trousers were in the wash.
I didn't buy any new exercise gear when I started exercising methodically in early 2006, apart from new trainers. Part of me felt that it was best not to invest much money in attractive workout gear until I could see that this was going somewhere. Once it started to go somewhere, I had realised that there is little point buying attractive clothes just to sweat on them.
Eventually the faithful black trackies started to look a little careworn. The fabric wasn't as fluffy as it had once been, and repeated washes had made them start to creep up my ankles somewhat. I tried twice to replace them but could never find anything quite as good. My requirements aren't stringent, but still hard to meet: fabric of a certain thickness, drawstring, not clingy on the thighs. I did buy some grey ones but the fabric has the annoying quality of being sweaty when it's hot and not insulating enough when it's cold. Also, light grey is not as flattering a colour as black. I don't aim to be particularly attractive when I'm exercising, but you might as well not be discouraged before you start.
Still. It is now time to replace the black trackies. You know they've outlived their usefulness when you find yourself rationalising that they're still decent because you'll be wearing black tights under them.
After my moaning yesterday, I got six comments! Thank you, people. Scoliyogi has deduced that I am doing NaBloPoMo. Indeed I am, but I was going to wait until I had a whole week of posts before I put the badge up.