‘Your clothes are at the end of your bed!’
When I was a child, my younger brother Prawn, would often call out in the morning ‘Mum, what am I wearing today?’ Although she would have already organised a clean shirt, underwear and socks, and put them out at the end of his bed, this was a regular morning ritual.
I have no recollection of the same scenario with me, no doubt, I wasn’t neglected, and clean clothes were readily available, but I wouldn’t have dreamed of asking my parents what I should wear. I knew the school uniform rules, and just like many teenagers, I challenged them as far as I could.
Now as adults, Prawn is perfectly capable of making his own daily fashion decisions. I too have no trouble putting together a whole variety of skirts, trousers and tops in an array of colours, with the right height of shoe, and matching bag for work every day. It’s at the weekend that my decision skills waiver. I would like nothing more than to wake up on a Saturday morning to my cycling clothes laid out for me at the end of the bed.
The Mechanic nearly always prepares his kit the night before, I think it’s a habit left over from his racing days and the early starts. I’m not confident that even if I was organised the previous evening, I wouldn’t dither the following morning.
The simple questions I ask myself during the week, such as ‘shirt tucked in or out’ or ‘does my bum look big in this?’ do not apply to cycling clothes. I know the limitations of un-forgiving body hugging lycra, and accept that my bum is always going to look big. The only fashion statement I’m likely to make is perhaps the colour or the length of the socks I choose.
Cycling attire decisions are dictated by the weather, and its changeability. Is it going to be cold and dry, wet and windy or warm and sunny, British weather offers endless possibilities. The forecast rarely helps, with ambiguous descriptions such as cloudy with sunny intervals or chance of rain, offering little guidance. Does that mean long sleeve jersey, short sleeve jersey or short sleeve jersey with arm warmers?
I always have one eye on what Mr. M plans to wear, secretly taking confidence in my outfit if I’ve made a similar choice to him. Although this does introduce another complication, we have matching gilets. Wary of looking ‘his and hers’ we can’t possibly wear them at the same time. Therefore if it’s a gilet wearing sort of day, which in my opinion is nearly every cycling day, then I need to put mine on first, so that he has to reselect.
More often than not I head out in far too many layers and I return home with my gilet and other discarded items stuffed into my jersey pockets.