“W@nk&r!!!” the driver yelled, as I was waiting at a random Central Coast intersection during a recent ride.
“Well I may be in Lycra but at least I’m not sitting in an old ute with a nerdy looking mate on a Saturday afternoon,” I mused, while biting my tongue and politely smiling back.
That was about two weeks ago, during a recent Palm Beach – Central Coast – Old Pacific Highway – Palm Beach loop.
Since then I saw some interesting new cycling kit online, an unprecedented design that really caught my eye.
What followed was a message to Ollie Rainbow, the brains behind Prism Bike, a Sydney-based cycling kit creator. We had a discussion about whether or not the new kit was a photoshop-based marketing ploy, and an interesting talk about how he came up with the idea. We chatted for around 20 minutes, I was fascinated and intrigued, and he said he’d send the kit for review.
The ‘tradie kit’ arrived a few days later and, true to it’s name, it featured the perfect proportions of high-vis yellow on top and hard-working blue down below. Complete with the Eureka Flag (small on front and large across the back), there were also logos such as ‘A Good Mechanic’s Not Cheap, A Cheap Mechanic’s Not Good’. I was set.
To The Cenny Coast
Plans were quickly put in place to wear the kit the following Saturday at where I figured was the ultimate testing ground. Yes, the aforementioned Cenny Coast.
Wheeling the bike off the ferry at Ettalong, this ride immediately felt different.
I stopped in town for an International Roast …. (OK, I’m exaggerating, it may have been Blend 43), and – quite seriously – felt more accepted by the locals.
Rolling out I passed the legendary Ettalong pie shop and the beautifully named Ink Maiden, and headed towards the bowlo. And do you know what? I seriously felt like I was riding inside a steel dome.
“Nice day for a ride,” said a local, as I stopped to checkout a nice red VL ute & tinny combo for sale on the side of the road. Four grand they were asking, and dreaming.
“ ‘ow yer goin’ mate,” said another friendly old timer as I stopped to fill a bidon on the ‘nade, before going on to hear how he’d been a riding since he was a kid but “it’s too dangerous out there these days.” “Everyone’s in such a #$%&^$@ hurry,” he said.
“Hope yer gettin’ plenty o’ water inta ya buddy,” yelled another from his porch as I started the Kariong climb as the sun started to bite.
“It really works,” I thought … as a car passed wide, it’s horn tooting multiple times as the passenger yelled “Maaaaaaaaaaaaaate.”
Does The Tradie Kit Really Work?
Yes, this theme continued throughout the ride, and I genuinely felt more visible, better recognised, and less vulnerable.
Can kit make such as difference? Back to the maker, Ollie Rainbow.
“The motivation behind this kit,” Ollie said, “Is that I feel much of the close passing I experience is deliberate and very often from people driving tool of trade vehicles.
“I don’t want to contribute to any ongoing feud or stoke that fire, but it is what it is.” he continued.
“I figured if I made a kit that uses the high viz layout of a tradies outfit, and mimics some of the stickers frequently seen on a building site, they may give me a wider berth.
“Saying this seems completely ridiculous,” he added, “But anecdotally, it does seem to work.”
“While there is no science about the above, the science behind the reflective grippers is strong,”Ollie said.
“A lot of research has been done out of Queensland University of Technology that seems to show that having reflective material on your joints vastly improves rider conspicuity.”
Other than the obvious visible safety benefits, I found the kit to be super comfortable, in fact it fitted like a glove. I was told the chamois may require several rides to wear in, but I found it perfectly comfy from that first ride. Wearing medium (and 176cm / 73kg) the fit was firm in a compressiony type of way. The bib straps had just the right amount of stretch and sat comfortably on the shoulders, and the leg grippers sat firmly – and not too tightly – in place.
The jersey fitted perfectly, the sleeves sitting just above the elbows. In what could be described as ‘slinky’, the fabric sat well on the skin, helped provide cooling and blocked out the harmful UV for the duration of that warm and sunny ‘Cenny Coast’ loop.
A pair or ‘tradie blue’ Prism socks completed the kit. In size ‘L’ these continued along the high-high-quality theme set by the jersey and knicks. They offered a luxurious feel, sat firmly (but not tightly) on the feet, and remained cool and comfortable throughout the day.
Prism Bike’s tradie kit …. I like it.
Job well done Ollie. It’s built tough, looks good and earns respect. It’s trade tested, true blue, ridge didge, and – Ken Oath – my fair dinkum kit of choice.
Further details at www.prism.bike