The demise of the cycle clip


Traditional cycle outfit

Apart from the obvious, you don’t need a lot of stuff to go cycling. That’s part of the bike’s traditional appeal: on you hop, off you go, lean your bike against a tree, head back when the shadows grow long, freedom!

That was me, back in the day.

These days, though, I don’t go far without a helmet. I take a lock if I’m going to leave my bike anywhere — and there are places I wouldn’t leave it for long, locked or not. Usually I have lights, tool kit, pump, spare inner tube, tyre levers, water bottle, not to mention cash, cards, keys, mobile phone.

Increasingly, too, I’m kitted out in hardcore cycle gear. On longer rides I look a proper lycra lout: padded shorts, tops with pockets on the back, dayglo windcheater, lined gloves and neoprene overshoes when it’s cold — everything as tight, bright and reflective as possible. Such clothes make a difference: they keep you warm, keep you cool, wash clean, dry in seconds, pack in a pocket. They breathe. Even the air doesn’t stick to them.

Lycra louts

Wiggle must love me! The merchandise gets better all the time, there’s always an upgrade. The truth is, cycle clothing is a continuum: suppliers have something for everyone. You can get a mountan bike shirt equally suited to night-clubs; or you can get a King of the Mountains replica jersey complete with sponsor’s logo. You can get cycle shoes which are shoes, just a bit more expensive; or shoes with cleats which clip to your pedals, but which otherwise pass as trainers; or you can get seamless cycle boots you can barely walk in.

On shorter urban journeys though, I look normal enough. There’s the helmet, of course, but that can be locked up with the bike. My shoes have cleats on the bottom. To stop my trousers getting caught in the chain I tuck them into my socks.

Cycle clips

Hang on a minute! Now there’s an accessory I used to have which I could make use of again. The cycle clip — a springy half open metal band used to clamp trouser leg around shin. I stored mine as a concentric pair in my jacket pocket. Superior cycle clips had plastic coating so as not to scratch or rust, and on the very best models this coating was reflective and yellow. How far has the humble cycle clip advanced in all these years? Let’s search Wiggle.

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