There's a lot of waste in the world - come to think of it, there's a lot of waist in me (but that only works when you read it out loud).
I'd like to think that society is clued up enough to see that the planet's resources are finite and one day, everything you use will have been recycled. Frequent readers of these cures for insomnia may already see that many of the gags are far from original, so I'm massively doing my bit.
Plastics are a major worry, their proliferation in society is undeniable and their full effect on the environment may not be truly understood for decades. We do know for certain that they are having a significant impact on marine life and that it is a major problem that is, literally, not going away.
One thing we all know about cycle clothing is that it's mostly synthetic. Traditional and sustainable materials, like merino, are often out of the budget of many ordinary cyclists, or ones like me, who cannot decide what to wear and have a wardrobe of stretchy shirts and tights that are various states of deterioration and expected return on investment.
Yet, we generally all crave the new styles, the new colours and, with our changing body shapes, new sizes.
It is refreshing to see that some companies have cottoned on (see what I did there?) and begun to investigate reuse as an option for sustainability. I'm not talking about the vintage market, with its colour combinations that fashion forgot and sizing that defies all known laws of mathematics or physiology. Using remade or reclaimed materials is a socially conscious way to help the planet and your pocket.
One such company is Craft Cadence, previously lauded in these scribblings as fine purveyors of cycling luggage and other essentials. They also offer a small range of cycle jerseys made from 100% Global Recycling Standard (GRS) certified recycled technical fabric.
This standard not only covers the material but the sourcing, all elements of manufacture and the transport to ensure that all stages are responsible and ethical. What happens to it once you're squeezed into it is up to you.
After what seems years of drab and pastel colours present in my wardrobe palette, I plumped for the most striking colour in Craft Cadence's Recycled Performance Jersey range, a fetching bright orange.
Now, of late I'd been piling on the pounds, collecting kilos and accentuating the curves on my already corpulent profile; so, although the XL fitted me, I was rocking a definite massive tangerine vibe. I had visions of people expecting there to be a zebra crossing next to me, such was my resemblance to a dwarf Belisha beacon. I decided to mothball the jersey for a few more weeks.
Come the start of autumn, I had changed my day job to one that involved a lot more walking and less availability of doughnuts, bags of crisps and massive cheese twists and I was shocked and stunned to discover I'd shed half a stone. I felt it was time to retry the jersey, but now acknowledge that with Halloween approaching, there was still a risk I'd be rugby tackled, hollowed out and carved and placed on someone's doorstep with a candle in.
Thankfully, the summer of weight training I'd done with all my extra pounds had helped me speed up on my road bike, and only the fittest pumpkin carvers would have a chance of catching me.
Fitting better than it should, and much better than it had, I found myself unnervingly running my hands up and down my torso, enjoying the slinkiness of the material over my diminished curves.
All of the other standard stuff was there, also - three capacious rear pockets and a zipped one for valuables, a full-length guarded SBS zipper for versatility and comfort, longer neatly cut sleeves and reflective trim for low light and standard driver awareness - not that a 100kg satsuma is easy to ignore.
I ventured out on an 80km pilgrimage to a local-ish brewery to help with the opening of their new taproom. The weather had promised sunshine but that must've got delayed at customs as I started from home in a mild drizzle. A few hills into the Ashdown Forest burnt off any moisture from me or the atmosphere as the sun did indeed have its papers in order and arrived to warm my southerly journey towards the coast.
I was still reminded of the time of year when in the shade, however, and was thankful I had the foresight to put on a base layer. Having fuelled for the return journey with flavoured, fermented grass beverages, I wobbled my way back north, still aware that I was periodically stroking my upper arms and midriff when occasion allowed. I think I was more in love with the shirt than I realised.
The journey home was uneventful, even allowing for my constant desire to lie down in the odd bus shelter - this was the furthest and hardest I'd ridden for some months. As much as my spirit sagged at the frequency of the hills I had to revisit in the opposite direction, the Cadence shirt had my back (and arms, and tummy) and looked as splendid as when I put it on that morning, even if I didn't.
If you're interested in saving the planet, using a GRS certified jersey like this will certainly give you brownie points with Mother Nature, but the 'feel' may be a gateway to as yet undiscovered clothing fetishes.
I think I might be on the verge of buying another in a more subtle colourway so that I can enjoy the jersey without attracting so much attention to myself, and I keenly await the development of a pair of Craft Cadence cycling bibs *rubs thighs*...
Craft Cadence Recycled Performance Jersey - £64.99 from craftcadence.com