The Long and Shorts of it

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To Knee or not to knee? When is it officially ok to go out in public wearing Shorts? David Dunnico is gagging to get his pins out…

I used to write a column for a magazine aimed at people who had a bit of spare cash. A good few pages were devoted to suggesting things readers might enjoy spending some of that spare cash on. I was happy to point out to readers that having things to spend money on is never a problem for cyclists.

Jon and James in Merino Alpine Jerseys and Cotton Rain Shorts

And as is the way with such magazines, many of its other pages were devoted to what to wear. (I know that by now you’re convinced this was a cycling magazine, but I can assure you energy gels and sports drinks never featured on the food pages.) One Summer I was charged by the Editor with answering the vexed sartorial question “To knee or not to knee” (that was the vexed question) – in other words, can a man of a certain age (i.e. mine) go out in public wearing shorts and not look… well, a little unsavoury? Well, being a cyclist and thus having the legs of a Greek God (though a good bit hairier) the answer was obviously “yes” and after what seems like a long, cold and wet Winter, my legs were looking forward to an airing. Shortly after coming to that conclusion I was in the supermarket when I saw a man in team bib shorts amongst the baked goods aisle. In that moment I realised that cyclists needed advice about more than shaving legs and having sharp tan lines. I also remembered we needed some buns. So, I would suggest that you:

  • Don’t take “shorts” too literally – a couple of inches above the knee is enough, and:
  • Keep socks short too. To my mind Lance Armstrong’s greatest crime was introducing long black socks to the peloton. So if you do want to go above the ankle or below the knee, get some nice new socks with a pattern while you’re filling your shopping cart.
Jon in Summer Shorts, Jess & Jools in Summer Capris

You could always avoid any chance of a fashion faux pas by clicking on the links and choosing something from Vulpine’s ever growing wardrobe. Now I could go on about fabrics and features, but you can read all about the differences between the Cotton Rain Shorts and the Summer Shorts on the product pages. Whilst there, you might even be tempted by the HOY Vulpine Saitama Trail Shorts.

Whatever you choose, you can rest assured that as well as exhaustive evaluation of fabrics, careful placement of seams etc. all the products have passed ‘the Mancunian pub test’ where a cyclist can get off his or her bike and go in a pub in Manchester and not feel daft. I should know – I’m actually sat in a pub in Manchester, sipping a Vimto, wearing my Harrington Jacket, and writing this on my iPad. (OK the bar tender did ask me if I wanted an umbrella in my pint of Vimto – but I ask you, after living here for half a century, did he think I hadn’t got used to the rain?)

Too cold for shorts? No problem, just add some arm & knee warmers!

And talking of the weather, if it’s really cold, the wearing of shorts will not necessarily make people think “badass” – they might think “weirdo”, so you can always double up and get a pair of long pants too. I started with Shakespeare and “To knee or not to knee”, so I’ll end with another line from the Bard and say, “Go taste your legs”.

One thought on “The Long and Shorts of it”

  1. I recently purchased a pair of cotton rain shorts…very nice apart from all the loose and unfinished threads. You may want to look at your quality control systems.

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