Pearl Izumi

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Before there was a Pearl Izumi, there was a man and a bike. He rode that bike 38 miles a day, every day. Not for exercise or for the fun of it, but to deliver 90 pounds of clothing to his customers in a neighboring village.

The year: 1955. The man’s name: Kinji Shimizu. And in nine short years, he’d go from lugging clothing on a bike to redefining what every cyclist wore on them.

1 IN 15.

In 1964, one of Kinji’s sons, Hiro, raced for the Japanese national team at the Asian Cycling Championships. The team ordered its usual fourteen cotton kits. And a special fifteenth.

After the races, the team director filled a helmet with scraps of paper with each racer’s name. As fate would have it, Hiro’s name was pulled. He won the special jersey. It was made in Italy and 100% nylon. Unlike anything he’d ever seen before.


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