Go back in time a few years. Go back to when people raced and blogged with regularity. Well, maybe they still do, I don’t pay much attention to race blogs anymore. One post from those years stuck with me. Alison Tetrick wrote about being a superhero for a day. That was a good read back then. The idea of the kit hanging in the closet like a superhero’s cape or the Lone Ranger’s mask seemed to resonate with my inner geek.
A cycling kit is unique in that it sets us apart and get us closer to our ideal selves, the best parts which we keep hidden from the world. That blog post was one of the seeds planted in my head which eventually grew into the weird plant that is now WTFKits. This kit thing of mine needs to go beyond “cool designs” and dig a little deeper. I needed to see how the kit manufacturing process came together. So, I do what anyone would do I went to Poland*.
Yes, Poland. What I learned was fascinating because as an avid rider, sometimes racer and fan of functional design this was a new world. The process I observed on day one was a blend of technical and workflow innovations, combined with old world skill, which allows Verge to quickly create the next cape for every local Superman or Superwoman, who plans on throwing a leg over the saddle.These micro bursts of discovery occurred at the Verge Sports Factory in Jelenia Gòria, Poland.
The most enlightening moment of this process, which ordinarily takes multiple weeks, was how many quality control checks are implemented along the way. As a kit is made the order is viewed and reviewed at each station multiple times to ensure design, printing, cutting, and sewing meet quality control standards. This does not even include the final quality control checks. The care that goes into each piece of kit is truly a sight to behold. We don't think of these things when we pull on our kits. We are focused on the ride, our time on the bike, our heart rate, our smiles, our friends, and ourselves. But, that kit is an object of pride for the team assembling it, as much as it is a form of self-expression for the one wearing it, after all, it's thing to take pride in. So next time you get ready to go put in some miles think about it and get excited. A team of stone-cold kit superheroes helped make what’s on your back so you can fly on your bike.
* In full disclosure the opportunity to travel to the Verge Sports Factory in Jelenia Gòria was funded by Verge as part of an additional business consultation performed by my LLC. Additionally, I have been a Verge customer as they have produced the kits for the cycling club I belong to since 2012.