Book Review: The Art of the Cycling Jersey by Chris Sidwells



Hello all. Well this is a first for me. I've done reviews before but not books. I suppose the topic is very much my forte though. @TimBonvilleGinn here to take you through what I think about Chris Sidwells' "The Art of the Cycling Jersey". So lets get right to it.

The overall appearance of the book is really nicely done. The front cover, which you can see on the photo tile, is a bright yellow woollen jersey, complete with zip and collar. The title etc are all embroidered into the classic jersey as well. A nice first appearance.

On the back we have an image that includes Tom Simpson wearing his world champions jersey and Peugeot cap. Around him are Fagor, KAS and Molteni riders in those superb classic wool jerseys. Above Simpson's head is the blurb. It is a quote from the book about how the yellow jersey, or maillot jaune, came about in Le Tour de France

Of course it first appeared after the first world war in 1919, the idea was by the race founder, Henri Desgrange. So a rather unconventional blurb, but it does give you an idea as to how this book is written.

Into the book, and after a couple of pages with nothing but the title then another with a very old image of some cyclists riding over what I believe are town cobbles, we make it the contents page. The book is split into 12 chapters.

Foreword Introduction 1: The Cycling Jersey is Born 2: Champions' Jerseys 3: The Grand Tour Jerseys 4: 1920s Team Jerseys 5: National Team Jerseys 6: Track Jerseys 7: 1950s Pro Jerseys 8: The Swinging Sixties 9: The 1970s - A Decade of Transition 10: The 1980s - A Decade of Revolution 11: The 1990s - The Age of the Superteam 12: Modern Jerseys Index Image credits

So lets get into it. In foreword, we see a lithographic print that was produced in Detroit in 1895. It shows riders on an outdoor Velodrome being watch by packed crowds. The riders appear to be wearing leotards, some in caps, long socks and very feminine shoes.

Next to the image is a lengthy quote from Bill Strickland, Editor-in-chief, Bicycling Magazine. Its all about the importance of the jersey. How its the third most important thing behind yourself and the bike. It allows you to express your personality. Some can bring luck and others not.

The intro elaborates on the what the book is about, "the most iconic cycling jerseys posses a mystique and a beauty", who goes on saying how sometimes its the rider who brings fame to the jersey, for example Fausto Coppi's Bianchi team jersey, Molteni because of the great Eddy Merckx etc. Other times, it can be the bizarre or fabulous design, Carrera, Mapei and ONCE.

This is accompanied by two images, one of the French national team at the 1932 Tour de France and the other is of Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx and Felice Gimondi in 1970.