I’ve previously written on my view of jerseys – I didn’t see the point. They’re supposed to be sleek (so what?) and wick away sweat (lots of non-jerseys do that too). I did note that they have three pockets in the back which are useful for storing all sorts of stuff. I concluded that these pockets were unnecessary because I could store everything I need in my Camelbak.
I have rethunk this assertion and have changed my opinion. Those pockets CAN be helpful. If you would like to retrieve just about anything without having to stop pedaling, then stowing the desired items in your jersey pockets can let you do that. I can report from personal experience that retrieving something from a Camelbak or saddlebag without dismounting is almost impossible and invites disaster.
What sorts of things do you need to get while biking? Glad you asked. My current list includes at least three items:
1) Navigational cue cards so you don’t have to burn the route into your memory or stop when “navigationally-challenged” (some might use the word “lost,” but that is simply not possible for me so I prefer the former phrase).
2) Energy bars, which I can then eat while riding.
3) Pepper Spray, in the event an animal or person attempts to kill me.
Those are three pretty good reasons, in my view, and I therefore wandered into the Performance Bicycle shop near my work office and sampled their many jerseys. They had an excellent selection. Naturally, I bought the cheapest one. I took it out on a 30-mile ride today and everything was just ducky. The temp was in the mid-90s and the micropolyester material was tolerable but certainly not an improvement over a tee-shirt. The pockets were most helpful and I had no problems digging out my Clif Bar. I knew the route so I didn’t bother with cue cards and I have yet to purchase my pepper spray.
One unexpected effect was the elastic waistband, which tends to make the shirt ride higher on my waist. No big deal, but it does increase the likelihood that the small of my back will be exposed to the world. This is a MAJOR cycling fashion faux-pas that must be avoided at all costs. Several spot checks assured me that all was well in this regard, but putting something heavy in the back pockets will help pull it down on future rides.
So while I remain uninterested in improving the sleekness of my look and unimpressed at the wicking power of the material, the pockets alone make a jersey worth adding to my cycling wardrobe.
Here’s the route I took, during which I set a personal-best 15.8 mph average. I’ve only topped that average on rides of less than 15 miles. I am once again forced to conclude that I might be getting in shape. Or maybe that jersey is much better than I’m giving it credit for!