Jersey Woes (and a solution)

I don’t care much about wearing formal cycling apparel as a rule, but cycling jerseys make a lot of sense. They’re breathable, stretchy, and, when equipped with lovely full-length zippers, adapt easily to the changing heat of summer.  This one was my first online purchase.

The front is a little different, but the back is why I bought it:

That’s a gasoline nozzle creeping up the side of the jersey on the left; the jersey is called “Flower Power”.  Pretty appropriate for cycling wear, don’t you think?

It’s made by Podium Cycling; a feature on Boing Boing (I think) is where I learned about them.  You don’t see Tron cycling jerseys every day.

Or a tuxedo version:

Or “spiderman-inspired” kit:

Most of the road racers I’ve run into don’t have enough of a sense of humor to indulge in this kind of thing, which is too bad.  The Podium website is full of fun and quirky stuff. (There are some pretty tasteless offerings, too, so you’re forewarned.)  If you are tired of conventional jerseys, this might be a site to check out.

However, buying mine was agonizing.  The size chart is buried in the website (you can get to it through the FAQ) which was a bad start. Then I couldn’t figure out what “cut” was relevant, since it wasn’t mentioned in the product description.

The whole tale appears below, but here’s the short version, and what I did about it:  After much consultation, Podium recommended an XS, which is what I ordered.  It did fit in the bust, which is the most problematic area for me, and the shoulders, which are often too large if the chest is right, but the sleeves and hips were far too tight.  (No hip measurement appears on the size chart, but it’s relevant.  Trust me.)  Sigh.

I didn’t return it, probably because it felt as if I had hours already invested in this garment.  Instead, I added strips of a coordinated athletic fabric — the bright yellow above — up the sides and under the sleeves.  A feature I didn’t like much — the graphic doesn’t wrap around the tunic — turned out to be an advantage, since this strip fit right in next to an existing pink one.

The new hem sections, along the bottom of the jersey and on the sleeves, are finished inside with gripper elastic, which gives the alteration substance, and keeps the weight of the new sections consonant with that of the rest of the jersey.


Here’s the whole story, which will be of interest only to those (particularly women) who are considering ordering from Podium:

I sent an email to the company on a Sunday, requesting further information. I got an almost immediate response (wow!), and a lengthy correspondence ensued while we tried to figure out what size would work best for me: I have a small (but not delicate) frame, but a fairly large bust for my (otherwise) size.

My Podium correspondent finally determined that an Extra-Small was the right size, even though my bust measurement falls two sizes up on the chart.  I think he said he was 95% certain.  (Podium gets huge kudos for this kind of willingness to engage with a customer, by the way — that response was exceptional!) He also offered to pay return shipping if he was wrong. I bought it.

The jersey arrived in good time. Weirdly, there was plenty of room in the bust, and the shoulder fit was adequate, but the sleeves and hips were too, too, tight — in spite of the fact that I’m in the middle of the weight range for size XS, and below the range for size S.  In short, the size chart was of no use at all — and even the careful thought the Podium representative put into trying to calculate the size didn’t really work out.

The upshot is that women would be well advised to check with Podium Cycling before actually placing an order, and count on querying thoroughly.  Keep in mind that size XS appears to be quite generous in the bust, and quite skimpy in sleeves and hips.  And don’t trust the size chart, even if you can find it.