Its not all about the bike as Lance said (further proof of his ‘not quite human’ reputation).
As every cyclist knows, it’s about the bike, but it’s really all about the GEAR.
For me the obsession started young. Entering Davis’s Bike Shop, the local temple for the serious Sunday road junkie, I was awed by the ceiling of wheel-sets, the racks of steel greyhounds, and the unholy price tagged to each handlebar. I knew at a tender age that these four figured racehorses were out of my league (well, until my paper route started upping my 1 pound weekly salary), but those $6 gloves… THOSE I could afford. Sure they weren’t going to make me go any faster, but they did make me feel like Eddie Merckx, even if I was riding a second-hand racer with bald tires and non-existent brake pads.
And so my obsession was born.
It started small (at $1 a week, it had to). Gloves were followed by my first pair of tights (unpadded). A helmet entered my world in college, and padded shorts arrived with my first post college spurge. With the arrival of mountain biking in 1986, and my first Muddy Fox (RIP), I bought my first lock, gloves with padding and a bike bag. With a water bottle and cage, I was really cruising… until all of it was stolen on my first trip out. Thanks to insurance, I was able to quickly replace everything… until it was all stolen again 6 months later. And so began my entry into ‘insurance upping’ my bike kit.
Lets just say, I went to college on a Muddy Fox and left college on a Kona. With non standard pedals.
But my lust for accessories continued unabated. Mountain biking demanded it. Things broke. New things were invented. Friends had stuff you hadn’t even heard of…and then there were the boys.
Cycling meant riding with boys. Which inevitably led to the nightmare that is ‘dating a fellow cyclist’. Otherwise known as crack addicts with 2 wallets and zero judgement between them. Who better to encourage you onto a new ride, hell, 2 bikes, 3, do we have room for 4? My knowledge of wheel sets, rims, cranks and gears hit ‘professional’ by the time I hit 26. My ability to discourse on steel vs. aluminum, single speed vs. fixie bored even my local bike shop crew but my husband could listen for hours. We sneered along with Bike Snob, and spent our Sunday afternoons checking out the accessories section of every local bike shop we could find. We’re now divorced but I still miss him.. and his extensive knowledge of the one day classic winners (1980-). He also bought the BEST Christmas gifts, though my parents were less impressed with my new pedals than I was.
At the age of 43 I can finally afford to turn over those tags hanging from the handlebars of ‘greyhound’ bikes. I can, if I’m willing to forgo protein for a few months, afford that new full suspension 26.5 to sit alongside my 29-er.
Instead you’ll usually find me hanging out in the gear section of my local bike shop with my fellow gear heads. We’re checking out the accessories to make our rides faster, our butts less offensive and our gear changing smoother. We’re grabbing the new bike tee and you always need more tubes right? We’re rejecting the big name stores who only stock 1 type of bike cage for the local shop that totally understands you need to choose from 15. Local bike shops we love you. You get it. Its all about the gear. Boulders University Bikes, Buena Vista’s Boneshaker Cycles, Aptos Bike Station.. you get it. And thank you for getting as excited about my new gloves as I am.
Sorry Lance. It’s not ALL about the bike. We know it’s all about the GEAR. But while I’ve got you, do you know what a Surly Tugnut is for and why do I need it? Because I’m definitely buying one.