COLUMN: Ragtime Cyclist column

Ragtime Cyclist column
Ragtime Cyclist column

I’m not a big fan of pretend science.

I particularly don’t like it when it’s being used to try and part us from our money.

I’m thinking about shampoo adverts where the celebrity with the impossibly-shiny-and-in-no-way-digitally-enhanced-hair looks knowingly at the camera, and says (with a comic raise of the eyebrow) ‘now, here’s the science part’.

Do the marketing men think this is proof that the ‘brand’ has a sense of humour? I don’t suppose it matters; what matters is shifting units.

To me it says, ‘you know it’s coming, and you know these pictures of ‘molecules’ are nonsense, and the fancy made-up words are a load of old cobblers, but let’s all just go through with this merry dance without thinking too hard shall we? That’ll be £4.99 please.

In old western movies they used to be called snake oil salesman; dubious characters who roll into town pedalling the latest beauty product or cure-all tonic, on the basis of tall-tales and ‘miracle’ results. Nowadays these characters have better marketing budgets and any number of beautiful people willing to accept hard cash to tell you how great the product is. So, what has all this got to do with cycling, I hear you ask?

Well, I came across an advert this week for a ‘ceramic’ cycling jersey.

Yes, you heard right,’ceramic’. I don’t profess to be an expert in cutting edge clothing technology, but this was ringing alarm bells for me. It sounds suspiciously like an attempt to relieve me of my hard earned cash.

The theory here is that ceramic particles within the garment give off, and I quote, “far infrared light rays...those ones from the sun that make you feel warm which have been proven to offer therapeutic benefits as your body absorbs them.”

So, essentially, we’re talking about a jersey that claims to make marginal but non-specific improvements to sporting performance - does anyone else get the feeling that someone is trying to sell snake oil? When it comes to making marginal improvements there are lots of things I could try before I go anywhere near my wallet; I could refuse cake more often, get more early nights, or I could, to be honest, just try a little bit harder. But ‘ceramic’ cycling jerseys? Not for me thanks.