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.
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.