I can’t begin to explain just how happy my new cycling jacket makes me when I cycle while wearing it.
It’s not a particularly exciting jacket: it’s bright yellow, admittedly, with super-reflective piping along the inside and outside of the arms. It has a hood under a velcro strip, and when the front is zipped up its warming capability is on a par with a ski jacket that’s three times its weight. Otherwise it’s unremarkable.
But when I wear the jacket, and I bomb around in my usual loping, veering way, I look down at my bejacketed arms and think: I look like a serious cyclist. This article of clothing is as genuine as articles get. I don’t look like me. I look like someone else, who’s maybe wearing the yellow jersey, is certainly stick-thin and grinning out of his up-hill-and-down-dale suntan at the camera.
When I wear my jacket I gaze out of the very lifestyle-aspirational tag that was attached to it when I bought it. I’m not just being a cyclist; I’m playing at being a cyclist. I’m caught up in the stories told about my mode of transport.
The moment passes; I have to look where I’m going; there’s oncoming traffic that won’t work out how to move out of the way. But don’t mess with me now, man. I’m cycling, therefore I’m fly.