Pre-pandemic, the vast majority of our bike miles were strictly utilitarian: getting from home to the office and back in a small fleet of cargo bikes and rugged, studded-tire-clad winter beaters. The remaining miles were pleasure rides: going to the liquor store and back.
While we still occasionally fake-commute, COVID-19 has made most rides for fun, and made us rediscover the joy of going fast on minimalist vintage steel road bikes (Principle of Archaism). This year we're completing the look and going full-on Breaking Away (with the addition of a helmet and a 25% higher BMI):
1.De Marchi Classic Merino Shorts (Principle of Organic Materials)
While they're a tad long — even classic Italian brands are not immune to decades of shorts' expanding inseams — it's nothing our tailor can't adjust (and remove the branding while he's at it). The "Elastic Interface Endurance" pad adds comfort for the longer rides, even if you draft off a semi for a segment.
2.EGi Merino Wool Tank Top (Principle of Organic Materials)
Ever hear of EGi? Us either. We took a flier on this Italian-made tank and we're getting more. Slim-fitting yet stretchy, seamless, super comfy. Cheap. Runs one size small.
3.De Marchi Classic Leather Gloves (Principle of Organic Materials)
Almost a perfect late-'70s period match, top-notch Italian craftsmanship, and like the shorts, padding where you need it.
4.Puma Speedcat Sparco Suede Low-Top Sneakers
We've written extensively about the sneakerization of just about all footwear, but unfortunately road cycling shoes remain largely unaffected. So we've turned the Puma Speedcat into a cycling shoe, and so far, so good. They're light, have a low profile, and rigid sole for good pedaling power. Puma runs one size small. If you have any other strong suggestions please drop us a note.
Q: Big fan of your posts. I love your products too. The Emperor's Tourniquet is the best tie in my closet for sure.
So, I hit the gym pretty regularly, it's not as classy as JFK and sailing, but then not all of us own boats and horses.
The appalling apparel worn by most men to the gym makes me nauseous (baggy shorts and low cut tank tops - the ones that have armpit holes which show the entire torso). Anyway what are your recommendations for gym clothing and shoes that are acceptably MB and yet functional enough (sweat wicking)?Against my initial apprehensions I am considering some of the men's gear from lululemon - what are your thoughts on the clothing on their website?
A: Good question. At Complex.com, they advise that "wearing gym clothes out in public" is a major mistake. We take that philosophy a step further. Or maybe even a dumbbell lunge further: Wearing gym clothes in the gym is usually a mistake too.
What makes a man think that because he's working up a sweat his style gets to take a break?
We're not sure. But what we do know is that many men who would never dream of dressing like a toolbag in the office or a bar find bandana headbands, deep armhole tank tops, and over-the-knee polyester mesh shorts perfectly acceptable as long as they are within 50 feet of an elliptical trainer.
You're showing the right instinct with that lululemon site, at least in terms of its emphasis on dark, solid colors and clothes that fit closely without getting too clingy. But following our foundational principle of organic materials, we look for workout wear made from merino wool, which we aren't seeing there.
Because no one has ever seen a sheep on a treadmill, or even doing anything except standing still on a hillside, people don't necessarily think of wool as being a good material for the gym. But as lazy cyclists have long known, wool wicks well and doesn't stink even after repeated usage.
With shorts, though, we're not as concerned about the materials as we are about some general guidelines. Namely, no stripes and no mesh, and leave any pair that gets within 3 inches of the top of your kneecap to that guy by the weight bench who looks like Guy Fieri's ripped twin.
Q: I'm in between jobs right now, so I've been taking time to work out and run every day. With the weather warming up I've been wondering if it's okay to jog shirtless yet. How warm does it have to be, or how in shape must I be, to justify this? --Mike
A: Mike, you should never jog shirtless. If you have some extra chub, shirtless jogging is a violation of common courtesy -- no one should be subjected to seeing all that giggle while they're taking their dog for a walk.
On the other hand, even if you look like The Situation on steroids (yes, we know that's probably redundant), shirtless jogging is a violation of the MB principle of understatement. We recommend a simple, logo-less tank-top, preferably nothing synthetic or resembling that of a true professional.
Q: I know your policy on tucking in polo shirts, but how about t-shirts? Marlon Brando had them tucked in in A Streetcar Named Desire, but I believe he was wearing undershirts. Is this something that can be pulled off? --Dave
A: While the current dominant style is untucked, we think you can tuck if you like, and Marlon Brando, James Dean, and Steve McQueen agree with us. A couple of other thoughts on the matter:
* Any t-shirt that makes it into your wardrobe should look good untucked as well as tucked. In other words, if you're tucking because your t-shirt is too long or too wide at the bottom, you should demote that t-shirt to garage rag.
* Take a close look at Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire and you'll see he's actually demonstrating the MB-endorsed artfully disheveled tuck. (Avoid the rip, though -- that's a little too Flashdance.)
Details/GQ unveiled the Top 10 Looks for Spring 2010 and we deem most can safely be ingored. Double-breasted suits, gladiator sandals, tights under shorts, shorts suits, red ... brrrrrrrp. No. A couple of things that may transfer from the runway to your closet: black and white, and tank tops. You've got 9 months to prepare those arms for increased display.
Rusty Gets Nailed
An MB-updated version of the Rusty Nail (3 oz scotch / 1 oz Drambuie).
a healthy dose of a single malt scotch (The Macallan)
splash of Drambuie
Serve on the rocks with a lemon twist. An hour later roll yourself into bed (not necessarily alone).