The answer to the above question, judging by what I saw during my Surrey Hills ride this week, is possibly not.
I don’t usually ride on Sundays, but I made an exception this week so I could greet the belated arrival of Spring by displaying my bare legs and arms in Lycra. I’m sure Spring appreciated the gesture. Many bicyclepeople had a similar idea, judging by the herds lolling around at the top of Box Hill where I witnessed the full panoply of questionable jerseys on display, from Sky replica kit to those who chose to dress ironically – and, I’m sure you’ll agree, totally hilariously – as a tub of Marmite.
What intrigued me most, however, was spotting the famous blue tops of the US Postal cycling team. They say two is a coincidence, three is a trend; in that sense, the riders I saw wearing USPS jerseys – one in Richmond Park, the other (pictured above) on Box Hill – hardly constitute a resurgence of the once-ubiquitous blue-and-white kit. For some, though, it’s two too many: who would still want to associate themselves with the most duplicitous team in Tour de France history, whose star rider is now commonly prefaced with the word ‘disgraced’?
The answer is, maybe, they don’t. Believe it or not, you can wear a jersey solely for the purpose of riding, rather than using it as a tool to fit in with a group of strangers, expressing your brand loyalty or attempting to look completely amazing (which, naturally, I always do when I’m wearing my black-on-white Rock Racing kit). It was the first warm weekend of the year. They wanted to enjoy it. So they reached into their wardrobe and pulled out the first, or only, cycling-specific clothing they laid their hands on. And off they went. Sometimes a jersey is just a jersey.