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Bicyclist dresses for the road; Candid Closet: The organizer of BikeJam road race says sleek, functional racing gear is a necessity for serious cyclists.; Fashion


This Saturday, you'll find "Dr. Dave" Scharff at Patterson Park, ready to roll on his high-performance bicycle, extolling the splendors of cycling in the city, and resplendent in streamlined bicycle racing garb.

Five years ago, Scharff, 36-year-old president of the local racing club Lateral Stress Velo, founded an annual road-style race sanctioned by the U.S. Cycling Federation.

This year, the race has expanded into a celebration of cycling in general and of urban life. BikeJam 2000 takes place 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Saturday in Patterson Park.

The event, held jointly by the racing club and Friends of Patterson Park, also features stunt riding, bicycle sculpture, a bike parade and a celebrity bike race.

Scharff, an internist with his own practice and admitting privileges at Mercy Medical Center, lives in Federal Hill.

His new California Closet accommodates racing gear galore, and a garage houses an array of sleek two-wheelers, plus a tandem ridden with his wife, Christina Sabin-Scharff.

What is the typical racing uniform?

A helmet, some sort of eye protection for bugs, dirt and sunshine, a jersey, and shorts that don't chafe. Also gloves, so if your hands are sweating they don't slide off the handlebars, and cycling shoes, which tend to have very, very stiff soles for power transfer and quick-release cleats.

Why do cyclists always wear jerseys with sleeves?

They are required by the code in the United States Cycling Federation rule book. Mountain bike racers do wear sleeveless jerseys.

Explain the reasoning behind the design of bicycle racing gear.

Jerseys are close fitting to be aerodynamic, and the new high-tech ones are made of fabrics that wick the moisture away from the body. They tend to have rear pockets for carrying food, and an extra water bottle. Racers have to be fairly self-sufficient if they're out on training rides. They can also carry a spare tube and money.

Those jerseys don't seem to have the cachet of soccer and lacrosse jerseys.

In a way, it's probably hurt the sport. They tend to be so functional, they can't be mass marketed the way other sports jerseys are.

Who makes your team jerseys?

Louis Garneau, a Canadian company.

What is the history of padding cycling shorts?

The pads used to be made of chamois, and in the old days they used chamois oil to keep them from drying and cracking. Now they've gone to synthetic materials. Old shorts and jerseys, themselves, were made of wool.

What are your club's racing colors?

"Canada blue," black and white.

How have helmets improved?

They're of much lighter weight and they are vented much better.

What do you wear to work? I dress pretty casually. I do always wear a white coat at work because I think the patients see the white coat as the symbol of a doctor. Otherwise, I wear khakis, a shirt and tie. I ride my bike to work and found great 100 percent cotton that is wrinkle free.

Do you have a traditional doctor's bag?

My briefcase is a Timbuk2 bike messenger bag. I keep my stethoscope in there and a folded-up white coat.

Do you know any snappy dressers? Let us know. Write to Stephanie Shapiro, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.

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