Monday, July 29, 2013

Wherein I ponder affixing my logo to Merino wool jerseys and shirts

I'm big on Merino wool. This stuff is amazing. So amazing in fact, that I currently refuse to spend more money on tech fabric jerseys that are not as versatile and which stink foully within one day of being worn. For the record, when I say "tech fabric," I'm referring to the myriad wicking fabrics, mostly based on artificial fibers such as polyester and their variants. On thing in common with pretty much all tech fabrics is that while they will perform well in the aspect of moisture control, they all pretty much have a shelf life of only being acceptable to wear for maybe one or possibly two rides, tops. I don't  know what it is, but even lightly sweating in these fabrics causes them to take on a horrendous smell of armpity-stank-ness as soon as they dry out. You could have worn deodorant and not actually had your armpits smelling bad, but the jersey will reek like you hadn't bathed in days before you wore it.

Being a commuter/utility cyclist, I prefer not to have to wash all of my cycling gear on a nightly basis or even multiple times per week. I do own multiple pairs of padded shorts though, and I wash them all before they get re-worn. You have to draw the line on cleanliness somewhere. It's the shirts/jerseys though, which bother me the most. Tech fabric jerseys are too expensive for me to have to own one for every day of the week - I'm already doing that with padded bike shorts, and I'm not made of money. So, it comes back to a fabric that stands up to multiple days of wearing and won't stink, allowing me to extend the time frame between washings. Merino wool is that fabric. In the near future, I'll be posting a long term review of my first Merino wool jersey and how it performs in hot weather. However, this is not what I want to talk about today.

I want more Merino jerseys or shirts, yet I want to be able to emblazon them with my own Velo Celt Cycles logo. Velo Celt started out as the name to this blog but has since evolved into my own personal brand. I don't intend to try to make loads of money marketing my own bikes or gear, but I see the brand of Velo Celt Cycles more as an idea. I see advertising my self and my website as a means to drive people to the information that I dispense through gear reviews, trip reports, and the various clever bike hacks that I perpetrate on a regular basis as I try to adapt equipment to meet my own unique challenges. All of this will help me in my bid to become a recognized writer of cycling-related articles.

So, I was pondering the question of how to go about affixing my logo to my beloved Merino wool shirts. Portland/Oregon Cyclewear has a service where they will apply custom lettering or logos to their own discount priced Merino jerseys for a nominal fee. Again, I'll have more details on my impressions of their product in my forthcoming review. Suffice it say, I want to have a greater selection of shirts and the ability to have a larger, more elaborate logo. I was pondering silk screen printing as a method of putting my own logo onto Merino t-shirts but I'd read a few things about Merino being difficult to print onto. The idea I hit upon next was one that goes back over 70 years.

In World War II, allied aviators fighting in the skies over China employed "Blood Chits," which were silk fabric pieces sewn onto the backs of their jackets, offering the local natives a reward for assisting and returning a downed flyer to Allied lines unharmed. It occurred to me that I could buy some silk fabric and screen print my logo onto it, then sew those hand-crafted hand-printed swatches onto the jerseys or shirts as a kind of patch. The idea is still in it's infancy, but it's one I'll be researching over next few weeks. Just one of the many unique bike hacks that Velo Celt Cycles is known for. Stay tuned for future developments!

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