A cyclist wears many different jerseys during the course of a cycling career, but this one is for the elite only. Every time I see that shirt, I am so happy to know we have as many as two world champions in the family: my dad Tom Simpson and my cousin Matthew Gilmore.
As there is nothing to compete with a beautiful cycling jersey lots of people love to collect these items, many of which are regarded as tiny works of art. But the most beautiful of them all is still the rainbow jersey!
As the years go by and the bicycle miles increase, my longing to design my own beautiful jersey has also grown. That opportunity arrived when we were preparing for the fiftieth anniversary, in July 2017, of my father's demise on Mont Ventoux.
All the pieces suddenly fitted together: Peugeot, world champion, yellow jersey, British, his final number 49, his last words 'Put me back on my bike', his 'signature' and SIMPSON, because I, too, am a Simpson!
In the same way that dad's world champion jersey has given me so many stories and allowed me to meet so many lovely people, 'my' jersey has begun to lead a life of iets own. The jerseys are now eagerly sought all over the world, literally: Belgium, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, ...
Any time I go out with friends, and we are all wearing our 'Simpson outfits', we almost certainly hear the same refrain: what a beautiful cycling outfit! Where can I get it? And then I am proud: proud of my name, proud of what my dad did, proud of his rainbow jersey, proud of the yellow jersey for a day, proud of my jersey, proud to be a Simpson. And then I look up at the sky, knowing that somewhere over the rainbow, he must surely be proud of me as well.