Canadian Cyclist


February 3/06 11:50 am - A Thread on Threads

Posted by Editor on 02/3/06

A Thread on Threads - A Rider's Thoughts on the Jersey Change

National team member Zach Bell sent us this essay on the new national jersey

Over the short time that has been my cycling career I have read and heard a lot of talk about the Canadian National Team jerseys. How bad the blue is, how ugly the star whip pattern looks, etc. and all the talk has really started me wondering what it is about our jerseys that gets people to talk so much. There are a lot of passionate opinions about our team uniforms. I am not sure you find this much talk about a simple shirt anywhere else. So maybe it is not just a simple shirt.

I have only been riding my bike for a few years but I have been a fan of the sport for quite a while and I think the changing of the jersey is a bit more than just a reaction to public disapproval of an outdated design. As a proud, young, relatively new national team member the changing of the jersey is significant to me. I don't have the tenure of a rider like Eric Wohlberg; maybe my youth and inexperience have clouded my view of the fact that in the end it is just a jersey and maybe I am making this a bigger deal than it actually is but bear with me for a moment.

The outgoing jersey for me marks a proud period of Canadian cycling history ... when I started in my first national team event a little over a year ago I remember going to bed feeling very proud that I was being given the opportunity to wear the same kit that riders like Curt Harnett, Brian Walton, Tanya Dubnicoff and Steve Bauer all wore at one point or another, representing our country like champions.

I think it's unfortunate that so many people seem to look at this change as "replacing the old jersey". I don't think that is affording this piece of cycling history the respect it deserves. This is a jersey that is being retired from a long and illustrious career. If the Montreal Canadians changed their jerseys we would certainly approach that change with a different attitude.

The time may be right for a change, Canadian cycling is changing and updating the uniform might be a symbolic way of marking a new direction. I personally like both the old and the new. Although it is sheer coincidence that I may get to be the first person to wear the new design, I feel a special privilege in doing that. It's a bit like being the first person to start the Olympic torch on its long run to the next Olympic flame I guess. It never makes big news but nothing ever ends without a beginning ...

That's my two cents on this whole jersey thing. As the old goes out I would like to toast all the riders who wore the baby blue and thank them for championing our country and inspiring our young athletes to represent Canada at the highest level of our sport. I only hope my generation of riders can insight as much passion in the public opinion about the new jersey over its term as our national cycling symbol.

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