Bike racing and 80 year old retired ladies. The support hose ban.

Calf compression wear during races? The horror.

Add this to the long list of things we fear.

Yes, along with the rising price of imported beer and the general frowning on extramarital affairs, we add this third scary humiliation: compression calf wear worn during professional bike races.

Okay, if some panel of science flunkies says recovery is 1.892% better when wearing these abominations after a race, so be it. We don’t have to see it in the race photos, our athletic and aesthetic sensibilities are not offended. It was okay on the rest day, excusable off the bike, but please do not pull the old lady thing on us.

If this becomes a race trend we’re done with pro cycling, flat out finished, embarrassed for the sport, horrified by the consequences. We’ll return to tennis or football or anything, stock car racing, billiards, cage fighting — anything where support hose is not worn during the event.

If the UCI is going to ban bike innovation, if they’re going to do a crappy job policing the sport, if they have no other purpose as guardians of cycling, let them ban the calf compression wear. It’s the very least they can do and actually up to the skill level of Patrick “hot air” McQuaid.

Are we going to turn our sport into a laughable side-show? Are we going to have ordinary folk belittle the greatest endurance athletes in the world because they’re riding bikes looking like 80 year old retired Jewish ladies? Marco Pantani is rolling over in his grave, Eddie Merckx just puked in his sink, Bernard Hinault wants to punch the responsible parties now.

Is this the real reason Lance Armstrong retired? The looming specter of support hose worn in race? Any man worth his Pinarello shudders. Marc de Maar of UnitedHealth should have received an automatic six month suspension for “conduct embarrassing to the sport.”

I’d rather rather have EPO and growth hormone handed out free at the races than have to look at race photos of guys in black calf-highs. This is wrong, it is ugly, it is damnation and we must stop it now.

Am I wrong, insane, old school?

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  • joepappillon

    Agreed.

    • Owen Gilmore

      I'm a middle age cyclist, and have been a roadie for 30 years. Three years ago I came down with leukemia. Since then I've had two bone marrow transplants. I have been in remission for about a year, and have been back on the bike for the better part of the year. It was no easy task starting over when you body looks like a rolling skeleton on the bike, and you feet hurt from neuropathy due to all the chemotherapy. Knee high cycling socks make a huge difference, and make getting back on the bike possible. At first I got a lot of stares from other cyclist – but what the hell do I care, I'm out there again. You've got to get over your bias as some of us do what we have to do to be out there.

  • http://bikingtolive.com Bryan

    I see a couple of runners a few times a week wearing these things. It doesn’t look normal. I bet one of those Nascar drivers is wearing them under their flame suit. We just can’t see’em.

  • Paula

    Try a pair and your veinous return will never be the same! Meet our friend Joe Decker in Vegas and you'll never be the same, either!

    http://www.skinsusa.com/index.php/en/whos-wearing

  • jc luddite

    But why is he wearing only one??? Is there a secret meaning? Does Lance wear only one in private?

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com walshworld

      I’m hoping he was half-embarrassed and could not bring himself to put on both. Matt

      • jc luddite

        he must be one of those lame halfcalf coffee drinkers.

  • Ron

    Hey Matt, if the greatest Tour rider in history can be considered a hero and still only have one testicle then pro cycling can survive this!!! Granted, he dosent go around displaying his lonely grape to the general public.

    I have to admit, I first saw these silly socks a couple years ago in the Monaco Marathon and thought 'what the f. is this?' It was a hot steamy day and it seemed like about 50 percent of the runners were wearing them and the other fifty percent were jealous. Then just a few weeks ago I passed a cyclist wearing them and I couldnt get away from him fast enough!! I thought a little mirror attached to the glasses or a Camel Back was the lowest one could go. Next they'll be wearing little garter belts to hold up their cycling stockings!!

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com walshworld

      The compression sock will send cycling back years. This kind of geeky silliness must stop.

  • Brian

    Could get heaps of extra avertising on then but seriously they are good in winter training I tried ski socks and they were good.

  • tmana

    There are some of us (not necessarily racers, but those who enjoy rides long enough to require a chamois) who have medical need for compression socks for reasons other than post-ride recovery — and who are nowhere near 80 years old. (Besides which, what do you have against the idea of an 80-year-old lady racing, if she can still move that bicycle fast enough to compete?)

  • TR

    It'll get worse. It starts as over the calf, but won't end until it's full pantyhose and spanx. Maybe not all bad..some of the guys I ride with could use a bit of help looking slim under the bibs..

  • John

    I disagree. Support hose should be required attire for George Hincapie.

  • James

    These are more and more common in triathlons unfortunately. The fashion police need to start making arests. Apparently at Ironman Nice all the French wear them and anyone without one looks out of place.

  • Ron

    John, yup, I saw George H. in at the prologue in Monaco. I gotta agree with you there. I wonder why he never got those things taken care of….

  • J. Mahon

    Roadies are so friggin vain….
    If you have ever had a blood clot in your legs, as i have in both from cycling, then you will change your mind on this subject quickly. My clot got worse and required immediate surgery at the femoral artery. It could have killed me. Older athletes especially can benefit from these and if you are showing any signs of varicose veins you'd be wise to check them out.
    The heart pumps blood down to the legs and feet but not back up. That requires valves and gravity.
    Just think more area for ads !

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com TwistedSpoke

      JM, scarey stuff. I make the wife massage my legs twice a day to keep me lookin' sexy. Matt

  • Pharm

    The only thing that should stop is you whining about how road cyclists should wear and follow some bullshit euro pro rules. So what if someone wears the compression clothing, how's it making YOU look bad? You need to stop thinking in such a toxic way and just enjoy and appreciate other's enjoyment.

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com TwistedSpoke

      Toxic? I don't think I could get that worked up about compression wear. Maybe George Bush when he was president — I was kinda toxic about that. But whining, yes, I like to whine. Sniveling is good too and I'm disappointed you left that one out. Matt

  • pamiejane

    Good grief – you are grown men wearing lycra, is that not embarrasing enough? I am sure you can cope with a bit more laughter aimed in your direction. Have you not heard the comments from non-cyclists about cycling apparel – hose are the least of your problems. :-)

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com TwistedSpoke

      So true. Everyone else thinks we look silly. But I can't ride in jeans, that's for sure. Matt

  • pro

    Looks like there are a whole bunch of hubbards commenting!
    NO COMPRESSION GEAR WHEN RIDING!
    Recover like a man!

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com TwistedSpoke

      Recovery used to be a few post-ride beers. Now it's support hose. Matt

  • Robert Couperthwaite

    I too wear a support sock on one leg. I have very bad varicose veins in my left calf. Our cross Canada riding group named me "one sock". The compression keeps the blood from pooling in the left calf. Since riding across Canada (2010) I have completed PBP 2011 "Paris Brest Paris". Some I'm hopeful you won't be ban the support sock and keep this sixty year old from bike riding (or for that matter any 80 year old).
    Thank you

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com TwistedSpoke

      Robert, as long as you keep reading Twisted Spoke, you may wear the one support sock. But not two. Matt

  • Hypnogal

    If you care what you look like, really care – then you’re not a real biker.

  • Dervelo

    Fully agree dreadful things along with non religious beards on bikes unless you want to look like a clown or just suffer from ASD , attention seeking disorder.