Review: Rescue Project Navy Classic Race Kit
(2018) Dogs and cycling go together as well as spring classics and cobbles, cyclocross and sand pits. Shops tout their ‘shop dog’ as a way to bolster personality. The shop dogs barely lay down in their doggy beds on account of frequent customers require inspection and a chance at a head scratch. With many dog rescues in the area, setting up a tent at cyclocross races featuring available puppers for adoption could be a wise step. It would make not getting on the podium a little more palatable. Add in October being National Pet Wellness Month and this is more like a done deal.
The office of creakybottombracket.com has two rescue dogs as greeters. I could go into their back stories and how they make people laugh, but that’s not the point here. The point is two dogs have a home because of the compassion and dedication of fosters who gave them a chance. That chance comes at a cost. That’s where Rescue Project of Pensacola, FL, blends the two worlds of cycling and dog rescue by promoting a kit and encouraging riders to join the pack.
Follow Rescue Project on social media and it becomes an example in dog/cycling balance. They post dogs up for adoption across the country. They implore people to open their homes in times of disaster so dogs can be relocated to safety, thus allowing shelters in harm’s way to focus on survival. They post photos of cyclists and dogs. And, the reason why we’re here, they offer cycling attire for both dogs and riders alike. Their wares are not just desperate offerings in exchange for donations; their cycling garbs are stylish and eye-catching. Isn’t that the same motivation to get dogs adopted?
It was with much excitement Rescue Project renewed their navy-on-navy design that had us kicking ourselves for not ordering in 2016. The kit is not just blue; it’s a brilliant blue that causes us to stare at it while freewheeling to meet up with the Saturday morning pack. As exciting as it was to see the kit offered, ordering it was even more enjoyable. I selected the navy blue jersey (they have a celeste version available as well) and a fold-down menu popped up on the screen. A menu of nationally supported pet shelters were listed, and I was to choose where a percentage of the kit’s cost would be donated.
I noticed two rescues in Pennsylvania. All4Paws Rescue of Chester Springs, PA, and Misfit Manor from the Greater Philadelphia, PA, resided on the list. Begrudgingly I could only pick one. I added my jersey to the cart and moved about to the bib selection. To my happy surprise I found the donation list pop up again. I was able to select the other Pennsylvania rescue for the bibs, finalized and completed my purchase and waited for the package to arrive. In the meantime I basked in glowing satisfaction that I bought a new kit that also supported two animal shelters. Local Pennsylvania shelters, too.
Rescue Project has sourced their kits to Jakaroo for this year. Jakaroo works on the idea that garments don’t exist until they are ordered. Rescue Project apparently orders a couple extra. I know this because they frequently offer leftover pieces at random times. Don’t count on there being extra at any point during the season. These go fast. Two weeks after my order was placed a FedEx package arrived on my doorstep.
The feel of the kit is remarkable for the price ($115 jersey/ $135 bibs). The bibs were the more enjoyable of the two garments. The subtle navy-on-navy that features the slogan “Pack Leader” on the rear panel makes it paradoxically easy to identify on others. The left leg features a celeste panel with polka dots, a possible nod to matchy-matchy if a celeste jersey is every snatched up and another rescue benefits.
The jersey has a couple things going for it. It has a hidden fourth pocket complete with a zipper. The sleeves are the longest of any jersey we own. The subtlety continues with navy-on-navy polka dots on the left sleeve. The navy-on-navy continues with the attractive Rescue Project logo of a German Pointer on both the front and back. The middle pocket reiterates the notion of ‘Pack Leader’ again.
This jersey was ordered up in the race cut, which leads to the one outstanding aspect. The race cut is possibly Jakroo’s answer to a superlight jersey, but consider this: Prior to getting the jersey on I strapped on my heart rate monitor, then pulled on a base layer. Finally I put the jersey on and noticed I could see my bib straps, my base layer insignia, and my heart rate strap. Perhaps this isn’t a jersey to wear if one is being modest. Let’s also hope the bibs don’t mimic the jersey on either (or both) the front or back.
I have followed Rescue Project for years. Their organization expands beyond the world of dog rescue, a noble cause. Their model is simple and proper. What’s more is their online shop of cycling goodies is attractive. I am more likely to purchase more wares from their store out of the satisfaction knowing they will donate to a rescue of my choosing. They offer hand-up gloves for cyclocross, singlets for track racers or ‘cross competitors, and their kits are race fit for the rider who is interested in being an independent while looking part of a team. That’s perhaps the best part about this whole process. I have yet to see another rider wearing a Rescue Project on the road, but it’s only a matter of time. Fellow cyclists should always wave, but when time comes to identify a Rescue Project kit on the road or at the ‘cross race, it will be a special sort of greeting knowing we both helped dogs in need.