Ever wanted to have a jersey that no one else on the hill has? Check out this review on Cycle Jersey and what they can do…
Buying riding kit can be a bit hit or miss. You’re basically left to the tastes of mountain bike companies’ marketing departments. Going on recent evidence, these are mainly run by teenagers with ADHD. Sam Hill’s recent Troy Lee kit is the best example – pink and yellow pyjamas? Really? The fastest rider on the World Cup circuit may be able to get away with it (the jury is still out), but I’d look a complete tit.
So what are your options: Hope nobody sees you riding? The mid 90s Napalm approach – a wife beater and a D2? Or, rather than moan about how crap it all is, get on and design your own?
So I got on the phone to the folk over at www.cyclejersey.com. They’re a small company based up in Falkirk who have been doing custom jerseys for a good few years now. If you’ve seen the Chain Reaction Cycles/Intense team jerseys this year on the World Cup circuit, then you’ve seen how good their work is.
Just to be clear here – you can’t just buy one, you need to order a few (15 or more). Although I do reckon if they dropped the minimum order to five there’s a lot more people who could convince four of their mates to get involved. Each of the jerseys can then be tailored with a design, name, number, etc.
You first need to pick which style of jersey you want to go for. For downhill, the freeride jersey they offer is the one to go for and you have a choice of short or long sleeves.
What do you need after that? Well, very little, you can send in a drawing and they’ll put it together for you (for a small cost). If you have graphic design software floating around and can create eps or ai files, then they send you a template to work with. I used Adobe Illustrator which is industry standard for this kind of work, although something like Fireworks or possibly Photoshop would work fine (if you drop Cyclejersey an e-mail they’ll talk you through all this).
Our jerseys were mainly for our yearly riding holiday. As a starting point I looked at the kit Alpinestars have been knocking out for Greg Minaar this year. They are the one manufacturer making riding gear that I really rate and the only one you can’t get your hands on for love nor money. A bit of space invaders went in, because I’m a geek, and then the classic, all-British, lads abroad “comedy” t-shirt nicknames, because everybody in Europe loves a group of English men…
After several late night phonecalls debating which font we thought worked best and exactly what each of our hilarious nicknames should be, we were there. I packaged it all up into an e-mail and waited…
I’ll admit I was nervous when a big, soft package arrived in the post from Scotland a few weeks later. Had I got the designs completely wrong? Will they look like the pictures on my screen? I shouldn’t have worried. The quality was spot on: the designs came out sharp and the colours strong and bold. The jerseys themselves are really nice too, their fit is good (we found a medium fits everyone from 5’8” right up to 6’2”, although that did depend on what armour the taller guys chose to use) and they have good, quality feel to them.
Coming in at £40 a jersey, they were no more expensive than most of the major brands out there – and you’re guaranteed to like the design. Cyclejersey were lovely to deal with, they know their stuff and are friendly and helpful. If I did have one niggle, it’s that with the template they use you can’t have the pattern flowing continuously between panels. But that might just be my OCD.
It was worth all the time getting the design right just for the days we went out team – the days we all gayed it up in matching, custom riding kit (we may have all bought the same, colour-coordinated shorts too). Some of the Euros had had the same idea and showed up in green and black zebra print kit. The less said the better. I also now have a riding jersey that I actually like.
I just need to start working on the designs for next year’s kit now…
You can get in touch with Cyclejersey at www.cyclejersey.com or e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org