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Why Wear Ironic Cycling Fashion?

June 23, 2010

The answer to this question took some real soul-searching.  Truthfully, I’ve probably only seen the “tip” of my “iceberg.”  But from what little I’ve seen, I’m pretty sure that the answer to “why wear ironic cycling fashion?” is (for me):

“To be better than other people.”

Christian Lander (Stuff White People Like) does an ok job of explaining why people like me like ironyhere.

“The reason that white people love irony is that it lets them have some fun and feel better about themselves,” Lander posits.  “If you need to appear cool to white people, you just need to pick something that was popular 10+ years ago and put it in a prominent place at your desk or in your home.”

Or, in my case, wear it at a bike race.

These arguments are both valid explanations for my love for ironic cycling wear, but there’s a lot more to the story than that.

#1: Getting Attention

Wearing ironic cycling clothing will get you attention.  The more ridiculous your clothing, the more people will notice you.  And if they hatin, they ain’t hatin to my face!

No, I think you’ll find that the more neon, hideous, and obnoxious your clothing, the more compliments you’ll get out on the trail (roadies don’t talk to each other no matter what, but they’re probz jealous).

Why not be the center of attention?  It’s fun.

#2: It’s Fun!

Finnish ironic cyclists suiting up for a ride on their (ironic?) fixies. Photo jacked from Le Prince Bicycles.

Ironically-bekitted cyclists may in some cases not be riding as fast as “serious” cyclists, but they are undoubtedly having more fun.  I mean, look at these Finnish kids above!  You know you’d be having more fun on your bike if you were wearing that pastel cityscape kit.

#3: Being Different

I assume that we all want to be different, but judging by the above photo, maybe only I do.  Hm.  You might interpret my need to be different as the result of an overinflated ego, or a Napoleon Complex.  I prefer to think being different therefore means being better.

#4: Therefore, Being BETTER

Johhny T on the drop-bar Yeti. Photo stolen from

Again, being “better” doesn’t necessarily mean being “faster” in the world of ironic cycling fashion (although being “different” and being “better” seemed to coincide for John Tomac in 1990).  Being “better” is all in the mind.  If you can convince yourself that your unique combination of absurdity, garishness, attention-seeking, satire, and distinctiveness sets you apart from your fellows as being “better,” then hats off to you, sir or madame!  It works for me.  Just don’t try it in my town, asshole, this is MY schtick!

#5: Stickin it ot the MAN, Maaaaann!

Cutters from Breaking Away. Photo from

Your choice of clothes might make you cooler looking, more ironic looking, sharp-witted-er-looking, etc, but your clothes will not make your legs stronger. Sorry, dude who just spent $1,000+ on the newest Assos gear, Oakley Jawbones, Sidi Ergo II Crabon Lite shoes.  You are still going to be slower than the people wearing Champion Systems team kits out of sponsorship obligation.

Shoulda spent that $1,000 on… WAIT!  You should have taken a week off work (or a month at my job), never made that money in the first place and ridden your goddamned bike!

Ironic cycling gear, by comparison, can sometimes be incredibly cheap.  Sub-$10 cheap, frequently.  And the thing is that it’s more or less just as good.  I’ll get into the specifics later this month, but there’s a direct correlation in ironic cycling gear between “most ironic” and “most high-end at one point.”

So not only is my ironic cycling gear hilarious, attention-grabbing, mocking, and affordable – it’s also practically as “high performance” as the expensive-ass shit that every other douchebag in the peloton wears.  What a deal!

(unless you quantified the time I spent combing ebay at an hourly rate.  In that case it would probably be a better financial decision to just buy the Jawbones (which themselves will surely be considered the crown jewel of the 2025 ironic cyclist’s kit, but we’ll get to that in future posts))

Speaking of future irony: if you think about it, all cycling gear will eventually look ridiculous sooner or later.

Hold on a minute, though!  If you think for a second and look past the hype of the Jawbones being worn by famous people, I think you will concede that all cycling gear actually looks totally ridiculous right now.  The only difference between “ironic” and “non-ironic” cycling gear is that “non-ironic” cycling gear is worn by enough people at the same time that they don’t notice that they all look like idiots.

Ironic cycling fashion is a pre-emptive strike against looking like an idiot.

“Look at how much of an idiot I look like!” the ironic cyclist loudly proclaims to the world.  “Aren’t I hilarious?”

“Yes you are, buddy.  You’re very special.”

5 Comments leave one →
  1. rzrblades permalink
    June 23, 2010 4:05 pm

    top o’ the box

    ironic idiots in the SD peloton salute you !

  2. June 23, 2010 4:43 pm

    Those Finnish guys are HOT. So you forgot to add that chicks with good taste like ironic costumes.

  3. June 23, 2010 8:30 pm

    “non-ironic” cycling gear is worn by enough people at the same time that they don’t notice that they all look like idiots.

    Truer words were never spoken.

    • June 24, 2010 3:56 pm

      That’s just what I was gonna say. Woot woot, Mr. Fag.


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