Jersey. For many, the word connotes the Turnpike, the Boss, hoagies and a haven for mafiosos. For sportsmen, jersey means uniform, team loyalties and essential gear for either rooting or running a triathlon. As a forty-something mountain biker from this side of the Hudson River, jersey means both to me. And I’m not sure if it’s the Jersey in me or the jersey on me that makes me want to ride hard and look good while I’m at it.
As a kid, I swore that a shiny new pair of Pumas made me run faster. As a grown up – despite any actual scientific data – I hold certain truths to be self-evident: flossing works, and if you invest in high-quality, good-looking gear, your splits will benefit.
No, even the most advanced and sexy, sweat-wicking threads won’t kick your lazy ass out of bed. But when you do muster the get-up-and-go, you won’t be able to help yourself from pushing just a little bit harder on that run/bike/swim, lest those pro-grade duds outclass your amateur-class mojo. In fact, I take it a step further: when I’ve fallen out of the fitness zone, part of my penance for going soft is that I have to wear my B-Team workout clothes until I’m worthy to once again sport my sporting best.
Which brings me to my Road Holland Den Haag Men’s Collared Merino Blend Jersey. I’m not one for the typical, stretchy road-racing billboard festooned with corporate logos and such. (And anything unironically kitschy is only marginally worse than attempting to squeeze an overflowing beer belly into spandex.) Mon Dieu, where’s an enthusiast to turn? Road Holland answers this right in their About Us: “So if you're looking for skin-tight, dye-sublimated cheap polyester with lightning bolts, cereal box characters, and team sponsor logos, you won't find them here.”
You don’t need me to tell you that Road Holland’s gear looks sharp – just check out the men’s gallery – but pictures won’t tell you how it feels. The Den Haag feels like a bespoke garment. It feels like someone took the time to consider how the chest and arm stripes should be sewn to prevent chafing. There’s even a rubberized grip strip at the bottom on the inside hem to keep the jersey from riding up your back. It feels like someone pondered the pocket placement, embroidery and neck band so that you’d feel as comfortable tipping back a post-ride Starr Hill Stout as you did peddling up some stout hill like a star. And like that sterling craft brewery in Charlottesville, Road Holland is a small company with Virginia roots but integrity and style that reach far beyond the local scene.
So, I don’t know about you, but I’m not suffering through the summer in B-Team threads. Fortunately, I’m in the zone – as of this writing, anyway – and that means I’ve earned my Road Holland for a while. They say a good samaritan will give you the shirt off his back, but in this case, let’s just say a modern gent will at least tell you where to find one just like his.