On why the cycling world seems obsessed with the colors red, white and black

By Christopher Cudworth

True to the Red, White and Black.

That’s the world of cycling.

In fact a recent review of new bikes in Bicycling magazine made mention of the fact that so many road bikes seem to feature a red, white and black color scheme.

Criterium racing on the Felt 4C

Red white and black is cycling’s favorite color combination.

It’s true. Red, white and black appears to be some sort of default setting for bikes in all sorts of brands. Specialized has made a science out of using those three colors. Trek likes them too. Felt. The list goes on an on.

Either consumer research is driving this trend or sales figures must dictate that bikes in the color combination of red, white and black simply sell better.

Red and white and black 

Having ridden a red Felt 4C for nearly eight years, and sporting a Felt kit in––you guessed it––black, white and red, I can personally testify to the versatility of these three colors. You can mix and match clothing in the red, white and black color scheme and hardly ever misfire. It isn’t hard to buy accessories for a black, white and red bike either. Throw some SRAM components in red or black on there and you can keep the theme going.

Search for hidden meaning

Red, white and black is cool. But what does it mean?

You knew I’d ask that, right? Because if you read this blog you know I search for meaning in all kinds of things. Even apparently meaningless crap holds eternal philosophical significance in my life.

Take tarsnakes, for example. Maybe I’m the only one who tries to read anything into that writing on the roads, or find significance in the random scrawlings of a million billion tar marks on our roads. But if you stop and think about it, tarsnakes actually are made by hand. Millions and billions of miles of tarsnakes cover our roads, put there by working people with working brains. They may just be following and filling the cracks in the road, but you can’t tell me their minds are completely turned off all the while. Even an absent mind operates on the subconscious level.

Plus randomness has its own merits. Leonardo da Vinci once said,

“Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.”

And what are we, blind to the scenes we pass on our bikes? Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” beckons us to raise our heads, to see the significance in everything we pass:

The big doors of the country barn stand open and ready,
The dried grass of the harvest-time loads the slow-drawn wagon,
The clear light plays on the brown gray and green intertinged,
The armfuls are pack’d to the sagging mow.

See, I do not digress. There is meaning in these things, if you dig a little. Even the things we wear do matter. When we ride or accompany one another.

We do these things to excite our senses in the face of so much apparent senselessness and randomness in the world. Our narcissism is our salvatioin. Riding is a song of ourselves, and so is running, because at last we notice time passing, and with it, the many-colored expressions of our being.

Absolutes

Another rider true to the red white and black.

Another rider true to the red white and black.

The red, white and black theme in cycling is one of absolutes. Red is an aggressive or action-based color. Black signifies the hidden or secretive. White is purity and perfection. Innocence, wholeness or completion.

Now you see. Those are absolute descriptions of the sport we know as cycling. You could turn it into a colloquial definition if you like. As in:

Cycling is an aggressive, action-based sport whose many hidden attributes and secrets to success in competition are manifold, yet riding is also a pure and perfect form of innocence, wholeness and completion. 

There you have it. The significance of colors, and why red, white and black color schemes are so popular in the cycling world.

You can thank me now or later for this incredible insight. Or just send money. Because I want to buy some more red, white and black gear. My collection needs an addition, most absolutely.

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About Christopher Cudworth

Christopher Cudworth is a content producer, writer and blogger with more than 25 years’ experience in B2B and B2C marketing, journalism, public relations and social media. Connect with Christopher on Twitter: @gofast and blogs at werunandride.com, therightkindofpride.com and at 3CCreativemarketing.com. Online portfolio: http://www.behance.net/christophercudworth
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