What color do you wear?
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  1. #1
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    What color do you wear?

    I am fairly new to the road bike scene and really loving it (1300 miles in 5 months). I am just a little curious. Maybe this has been discussed before, but...

    There seems to be an increasing trend in my area (Nor Cal with many bicyclists) of riders wearing all black or other very drab colors. Much of the riding here is in and out of shadowy forest, and I have a hard time seeing these folks. I almost hit one as I pulled out of my driveway in my truck a couple of days ago. He REALLY blended in to the background in the dappled light. I feel pretty vulnerable out there myself in fairly bright jerseys. Neon may be overdoing it, but it just seems smart to wear at least something that stands out a bit to make it a little easier for motorists to see you. Is there more to this issue that I am not aware of?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeff400650 View Post
    ...it just seems smart to wear at least something that stands out a bit to make it a little easier for motorists to see you. Is there more to this issue that I am not aware of?
    You're correct, and there's not more to the issue other than black being a popular marketing trend by clothing (and bike) manufacturers.

  3. #3
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    I agree with you a bunch. To me, the current fashion to wear black is horribly misguided.
    Mapie is a conventional looking former Hollywood bon viveur, now leading a quiet life in a house made of wood by an isolated beach. He has cultivated a taste for culture, and is a celebrated raconteur amongst his local associates, who are artists, actors, and other leftfield/eccentric types. I imagine he has a telescope, and an unusual sculpture outside his front door. He is also a beach comber. The Rydster.

  4. #4
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    A guy that I rode with the other day wore a tan outfit. It was so close to the color of his skin I swear cars were slowing down to see if he had anything on at all. Pretty funny. A lot of guys aren't wearing black jersey's right now due to the heat, but as it cools down I'm sure they will be back out in force. That coupled with their black helmets of course. Their decision, so who am I to say anything I guess.

  5. #5
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    I'm with you. I wear a lot of different colors, but none of them are camo or stealth. I see those guys in black and gray and brown, and I wonder if they realize how difficult they are to see. Not me.

    The only little catch is that for a few weeks in the fall here in New England I have to remember that yellow and red, usually very conspicuous, become camoflage. I go with bright blue then.

    In poor lighting conditions, like twilight commutes, neon is NOT overdoing it, IMHO.
    "None of us knows for sure what's out there; that's why we keep looking. Keep your faith; travel hopefully. The universe will surprise you, constantly." The 13th Doctor.

  6. #6
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    When cycling, as with running, I go as high vis as I can.

  7. #7
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    I have a habit of always wearing black, for any situation. So naturally when I started buying jerseys they were always black. I was just thinking the other day that I should probably go with different colors on the bike.

  8. #8
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    But then cyclist that wear yellow Jersey's get **** cause other cyclists and their dogs along with society think they are posers pretending to be TDF tour winners. Can't win it seems.

  9. #9
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    Hi viz only. I can't understand the ninjas on bikes, especially at dawn or dusk. They are almost impossible to see. But I guess they think they are fashionable.

  10. #10
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    After being hit from behind, by the car behind me, while track standing at a light in the turn lane, at high noon on a sunny day, I make sure I wear bright colors.

  11. #11
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    I don't get the black gear, either. On my road bike, I only wear high visibility colors: bright reds, oranges, and yellows. I have neon orange and yellow jerseys I always wear on my weekday road rides. It's overkill, but that's the point. I have a son now. I need to come home. I also have a white flashing light on my bars. I have a blinky light for the back, but I haven't figured out how to mount it yet. So many people driving today are idiots, so you have to give yourself the best chance possible.

    I save all the dark stuff for mountain biking.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by colnagoG60 View Post
    After being hit from behind, by the car behind me, while track standing at a light in the turn lane, at high noon on a sunny day, I make sure I wear bright colors.
    Happened to me as well while I was wearing black. It won't happen again, only bright colors now.

  13. #13
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    i wear whatever rapha tells me to wear

  14. #14
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    I wear what I wear. Sometimes it's black. Sometimes it's a light grey tank top. Sometimes it's bright red.

    I understand the need for cyclists to be visible. I ride with lights regardless of the time of day. My commuter bag has a giant high-vis orange super reflective panel (the stuff from Tumbuk2). My helmet is mostly white. But putting all the onus for my safety on my clothing choice also creates some problems.

    It's my responsibility to ride safely and take intelligent precautions. But if I'm afraid to ride my bike because it's laundry day and all I have that's clean is a light grey t-shirt and black shorts, I'm artificially limiting my riding options. I'm also perpetuating the belief that a cyclist who isn't dolled up in full neon is irresponsible (which I think most people around here would consider at least partially false).

    Worth noting is that these are opinions I've developed riding mostly in town on commutes that are around 10 miles each way. I'm not logging big miles on windy country roads with motorists doing 65m.p.h. whipping around blind curves. If I were doing that, my opinions may well be different than they are. As it stands, being smart about my riding habits trumps my color choices. Though all those little reflective details sure don't hurt!
    Last edited by UrbanPrimitive; 08-05-2014 at 05:02 PM. Reason: Typo.
    If you only ride in nice weather you're missing a lot of fun.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tig View Post
    Had fun building up a bike... Check!
    Having fun riding... Check!
    The rest is just details.

  15. #15
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    Being as smart and safe in your technique and bike handling as you know to be is paramount, of course. That is another worthy topic, irrespective of what color clothes you wear.

  16. #16
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    Great post.. I have a couple of bright yellow jerseys and I wear them on my weekday rides, after work, in the tail end of rush hour. I don't care if someone thinks I am winning the TdF. I want to live through my ride. Now, on early morning weekend rides and generally low traffic rides, I wear my favorite jerseys, mostly black, red and white. The yellows are specifically for visibility in higher traffic applications.
    To date, philosophers have merely interpreted the world in various ways. The point however is to change it.

  17. #17
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    It's funny. I wondered myself a few times if wearing a yellow jersey could be construed as proclaiming your self "the race leader". Is that really something that comes to any of your minds when you see a guy in yellow?

  18. #18
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    I wear a fair amount of black because, let's just say, my power-to-weight ratio is heavily skewed to the latter presently...

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeff400650 View Post
    It's funny. I wondered myself a few times if wearing a yellow jersey could be construed as proclaiming your self "the race leader". Is that really something that comes to any of your minds when you see a guy in yellow?
    no. not once. ever.
    "None of us knows for sure what's out there; that's why we keep looking. Keep your faith; travel hopefully. The universe will surprise you, constantly." The 13th Doctor.

  20. #20
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    I tend to wear red or other brighter colors--bright blue, yellow, etc. a lot. I have one jersey with black shoulders, but the chest is white and it has red logos on it. Two of my old collegiate race jerseys are grey, but there is a lot of scarlet on them.

    I don't get the black jerseys. They look "good" standing around, but they tend to fade out or disappear on the road. Every year I have to pull out pictures of the collegiate races and show the kids all the black kits and say "see how visible our red and white is...."

  21. #21
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    When I first started road cycling I wore the dark solid colours like black and red. I almost got hit 4 times just riding through an intersection. Since then I wear the "loud" coloured jerseys like the pro team jerseys or jerseys with a splash of hi-vis.

  22. #22
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    On the road, all tops are hi-viz 'Don't Hit ME Yellow' ; all bottoms are black.
    In the woods, whatever top is on the top of the pile of clean; all bottoms again are black.

  23. #23
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    I've actually (informally) researched this subject quite a bit.

    I drove black vehicles for years until my black pickup was stolen and I replaced it with a white compact car. Living in aggressive Cleveland at the time and I immediately noticed that cars weren't pulling out in front of me as often as when I was in the truck. Even though the full-size truck was a much bigger threat to them, drivers were giving me more room and not jumping out in front of me as often.
    I especially noticed a huge difference on the shade tree road I took home from work.
    Dark vehicles look like they are smaller and farther away.

    Many people just don't realize how dark colors become almost invisible in less than ideal light. Sometimes they have to learn the hard way.

    I've ridden a motorcycle much of my life and never got hit. I don't own black leather or black bikes.
    "When you know absolutely nothing, anyone who knows 1% more than nothing sounds like an expert."

  24. #24
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    I wear bright colors pretty much always. I have white, yellow (my NM flag jersey), and a multi colored blue and yellow. I commute before sun up and augment this with lights and reflective bits. I bought a hi vis green jersey for my son recently and I can tell you it is hard to miss and is quite visible for a long distance.

    Remember there is a significant number of folks out there who are color blind and though hi vis green is still good, natural greens and red, no matter how bright, are a dull grey to these folks.

    +1 for riding safely though as even in the brightest kit you are still invisible to a lot of people.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCavilia View Post
    ...The only little catch is that for a few weeks in the fall here in New England I have to remember that yellow and red, usually very conspicuous, become camoflage...
    FWIW: I've also noticed that the usual Hi-Vis lime green can blend in pretty well with brightly lit new pale spring foliage. Orange or bright red can stand out much better.
    ... 'cuz that's how I roll.

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